Roger de Bussy-Rabutin was a bit of a Jack-the-Lad type of chap. His pen had a satirical ink running through it, and managed to land him in trouble a few times through his life at court. In fact, he wound up spending a bit of time locked up in the Bastille when he satirised Louis XIV. It was all fine and dandy when he took the piss out of everyone else at court but, it seems, the king had no sense of humour.
After spending a number of years in the lock-up, Roger was banished to his home in Burgundy. While in Burgundy, he divided his time between his country seat and his summer house. It was his summer house that we visited today. And here it is:
We loved visiting Roger’s little house. It is full of the most amazing paintings (over 300 of them with caustic comments from Roger’s own hand) and yet, it is small enough to enjoy for the sheer lack of scale. It was at the end of a hot and tiring day so was the perfect finish.
Following another delicious breakfast, we’d taken our morning walk along the river then back along the disused and now a road, railway line. The day was starting to warm up so the top came down on Coco as we hit the countryside just in time for lunch.
We’d planned to visit Roger’s place then pop over the other side of the Department to some caves…but that never happened. Life on holiday with us is a beautifully slow pace and doing more than one tourist site in a day is approaching the limit of our speed.
Unfortunately, the Chateau closes at lunchtime (like most French places) so we decided to visit the hilltop town of Flavigny which, as well as being a particularly beautiful medieval town, is home to one hell of an aniseed trade.
It’s extraordinary. Aniseed balls with different coatings (we bought rose and violet types) in all manner of quantities. If you want to know more about the aniseed trade of Flavigny, they have a website here.
This happened at Flavigny and, basically, says everything about the service industry in the town. In fact, having served me (and numerous other tourists in front of me) most of the staff went and sat down, ignoring anything until they’d sated themselves. That’s fine but they really should close the building if they’re going to ignore you.
So, I was in the queue and fancied an omelette (there were about a squillion items on the menu) but, when asked by the woman serving what I wanted, when I asked for an omelette she told me there was only quiche. There were, in fact, two types of quiche: Lorraine and Epoisses.
Now, I quite like Epoisses cheese and assumed this is what the quiche is made with…mostly. I said I’d have Epoisses and a Lorraine for Mirinda. That seemed okay and the woman went to cut a couple of slices.
In the meanwhilst, a rather objectionable chap who clearly didn’t speak much French (that wasn’t the objectionable bit) said he wanted some Epoisses quiche. He WAS standing in front of me and, therefore, had first dibs on the quiche choices. And the woman switched her attention from me to him and gave him the last two slices of Epoisses quiche.
Then, as if I’d just stepped through a wormhole to a few minutes before I actually entered the cafe, another serving woman asked me what I wanted. While tempted to ask her what a white hole was (exactly) I demurred and said I’d rather enjoy a slice of Epoisses and Lorraine quiche. Her face scrunched up as she looked sideways to where the other woman had recently removed the Epoisses quiche slice.
Not wanting to appear demanding and obviously knowing I was NEVER going to get to taste an Epoisse quiche, I told her I’d have two Lorraines. This seemed to please her no end. She gave me two slices quicker than the obnoxious couple in front of me had time to finished choosing a salad.
Of course, I then had to order a salad but she was very quick with this. What wasn’t very quick were the drinks. My coffee was fine but Mirinda’s apple juice was a bit more trixie…don’t ask me why. Jus de pomme is very easy to say and understand. I think the woman serving was just being annoying because we were interrupting her lunch.
Still, the quiche Lorraine was delicious and well worth the fuss. Though I can’t help wondering just what the quiche Epoisses tasted like.
The rest of our time in Flavigny was divided between the church and the aniseed shop. The church has the two unusual distinctions of having an upstairs that was for the overflow during pilgrimage times and one of the few breast feeding Madonnas. The upstairs is quite cool but I think I preferred the breast feeding Madonna.
Actually, there was more to the church than that. There is even a St Sebastian painted on the wall upstairs but you have to know what you’re looking for to really see it.
Actually there’s a few beautifully almost preserved wall paintings in the church though all attention seemed to be on the breast feeding Madonna and the wonderful carvings in the choir.
Having filled ourselves with religious brouhaha, we wandered down to fill ourselves with aniseed though not before visiting the crypt next door. Seriously, every sweet shop should have a Carolingian Crypt next door; it gives your customers something to do while they’re waiting.
We actually did a lot of driving around the Burgundian countryside today and thoroughly enjoyed it. Having a convertible is simply brilliant. We even had it down coming home from dinner tonight.
Speaking of which…I thoroughly enjoyed my dinner in Noyets tonight. However, something I have been unable to work out is why, in any universe, an armchair is warranted in a toilet? Okay, the room is pretty big and far bigger than you’d normally require for a single toilet…even so…
Dijon tomorrow…I’m going to miss this place.