We wake up (6 AM) to rain and dampness. It is humid today. How strange. We finish packing, make lunches, straighten up and check (for the 10th time) the closets and drawers. Dave hauls everything down to the garage as we'll back the car into the garage to pack it out of the rain.
We go up to let Tony and Marian know we're ready to go and to get a photo for the blog.
We're not sure how we managed to find the perfect place for us, but les Hirondelles has certainly been that. We wanted an authentic experience, off the beaten path. Thus the village of Thézan provided that. We needed an apartment equipped for cooking and with guest rooms and les Hirondelles had that. What we weren't expecting and weren't prepared for was how much Marian and Tony added to our experience by being on site (they do actually live upstairs from our apartment).
They were always available when we needed them - no question was too stupid. They became our local tourist bureau (only better than most) giving us good advice on foods, cooking, restaurants, wines, shopping, and local activities, whatever we needed. In addition, we loved to just talk with them when they could spare a few minutes (or when we had interrupted their chores). In addition they are great story tellers and clearly enjoy the hospitality role they've carved out for themselves. They make friends of many of their guests and we hope to count ourselves among them.
But beyond the role they play as hosts, we found them "très sympa" and "très intéressant". They came to France for the same reasons we came. We have similar observations and interpretations of how the world works (or how we'd like it to work). All of this added depth to our experience of living in France and introduced us to two people whom we like very much. Tony and Marian are easy people to like!
All of this makes it very sad to leave, but we can't stay longer. Someone else has rented the apartment starting on the weekend and we could hardly invite ourselves to stay with people we don't know. Although, it is tempting. We leave, sadly, promising to be back, but unsure yet if we can make that happen or when.
Luckily our warm feelings about Thézan and les Hirondelles keeps us comfortable as we drive through the rain to Beaune. The temperature is only 12 degrees (about mid-fifties) and it's wet and grey. The drive becomes somewhat mechanical - getting from point A to point B. The scenery is probably beautiful, but it's difficult to see anything for the clouds and rain. We have decided to minimize tolls and take the A75 to Clermont Ferrand and then smaller roads over to Beaune. It works well, but takes us all day. We even eat lunch in the car (what again?) watching some Charolais cows grazing in a farm field. There's no point finding a picnic table as we'd just get wet and cold.
We're now in the hotel, but I'm pooped and ready to hunker down for the night. That might cause some friction with Dave, who's had a nap while I write this and is looking bored.
Addendum: It's now 9:45 and Dave is out for a walk. I stopped at the desk to ask about the June 2 Ascension activities as it seems that getting a hotel room right now in France and Germany is a bit difficult. But I'm assured that it's just one day and while things will be crowded in the direction of Paris or Lyon, for us going to Germany, it shouldn't be a problem. But we should be sure to fill up with gas tomorrow.
It is clear that this is a family run hotel/restaurant as I run into the chef (whom we met on our way into the hotel this afternoon and who carried our bags up the stairs at that time) and tell him that we really enjoyed his boeuf bourgignon (beef burgundy) which Dave is determined to eat twice while here. His wife is the front desk, his mother general help (she showed us our room earlier and explained all the features when we arrived). I also met their two children, a girl of about 11 or 12, named Margot who is a beautiful young woman, and a small boy of perhaps 3 who deigns to talk to me after a few efforts on my part. He is helping his dad make croissants and when I ask him if I may have one, he tells me "no". We have a lovely conversation about meeting and talking to people of other nationalities and about the work in the hotel/restaurant industry (the dad works 16-18 hours per day). I'm really glad I stopped to ask and I'm happy that we've once again fallen into a place to stay with a story. I look forward to breakfast. And I'm happy we decided to stay here to have dinner and support this establishment.