Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Brief Stops in Chamonix, Annecy, and Beaune, France

Although the sky was still overcast we could see many of
the mountains. This taken in front of our hotel in Praz

The view from our window looking the other way
 from above.
On the other side of the Mount Blanc tunnel although it was still heavily overcast, the mountains were occasionally visible. We found our hotel easily with our indispensable GPS and settled in. Our room was on the fourth floor and had a small balcony and view of the mountains. There was WIFI in the attractive bar so I settled in down there to send out a blog entry (of course I was way behind then as now) with a glass of wine. Not long after an American couple stopped by my table and inquired about rooms. They thought I was the proprietor! That was settled quickly and I was happy to recommend the place.
We really wanted some raclette or fondue that night and hostess was glad to suggest the La Caleche in Chamonix. It was a fantastic meal.
Scott had visited Annecy years ago on business and loved it. So we decided to spend part of the next day there. It was still cloudy but nothing could dim the charm of this town. Parks and avenues face the beautiful lake with views of the peaks. Two canals leave the lake and wind through the town. These are spanned with tiny bridge and lined with lovely homes and shops.
The next morning.
Annecy stretches out along this beautiful lake with parks
and boulevards.
We had hot mulled wine at a small shop and watched the residents going about their day. There were many students as well. A picnic lunch on a bench overlooking the lake and the canal topped off the day. Delightful.

 The Thiou Canal runs through Annecy

The Palais d'Isle built in 1132 was first the home of the Lord
of Annecy and later a jail.

We loved watching the swans.

We're walking now along the Canal with the castle on the

Many of the houses on the Canal have
entrances for access by boats and as you
can see are not always true vertical.
The main square and Rue St. Claire.
Daffy Duck? in France
The Chateau d'Annecy towers over the city. Built between
the 12th and 16th Century it now houses a museum.
Still in Annecy, another quiet canal lined with small boats.
A moat still surrounds Beaune on some sides
of the city
Cathedral of Notre-Dame, the last great Romanesque church
in Burgandy, built in the 12th C
Gothic additions and this wonderful porch were added in
the 13th Century after a devastating fire.
The Museum of Wine contained a large number of these
enormous wine presses. 

We arrived in Beaune rather late. Our hotel the Hostellerie De Bretonniere was just a block from the old city gates so we left right away to see a little of the city before it got dark. As in most old cities the streets wander around apparently aimlessly so we got lost. The one place we wanted to see was the Hotel Dieu, a fantastic architectural oddity but although we could see the spire at times, we never made it there. Oh well, another time.
We did stop in the Wine Museum which was interesting although only the outdoor exhibits were open. Then we followed signs to a Wine Cellar and had a delightful visit with the young manager. We bought a bottle to have in our rooms and he surprised us by opening it. We had a tasting - it was good. Then he gave us a full bottle. Rather a lot of service for one bottle. We were sorry we couldn't buy more but we were turning the car in the next morning.
On the way back we saw El Manana, a small Moroccan restaurant, not yet open, with the proprietor adjusting the outside tables. We had a quick chat and decided to return for dinner. It was a memorable meal not only for the food, but we enjoyed a nice talk with her daughter, Lydia. Details of our hotels and some of the restaurants we ate at are in the "Gory Details" posts.
Small pocket parks and squares dot the old city.
We just missed an opportunity to attend an art opening

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