After taking a few pregnancy tests this month, and having them all be negative we decided that we needed to escape and get our minds off things a bit and take advantage of our last bank holiday / long weekend while living abroad.
We had been told about a cute little village called Tournus, and we decided to check it out! We booked a room at a sweet little B&B called La Tour du Tresorier, and jumped in the car on Friday morning.
We decided to break up the 5 hour drive with lunch in Aix-en-Provence. We arrived with perfect timing for lunch and did some googling while we were still 30 min away and found a yummy looking, highly recommended little spot called L’Alcove. However when we arrived they were fully booked. Happily they recommended a place just down the street. La MilleFeuille, and it was SO GOOD! We picked an amazing Beaune 1ere Cru wine (~50€), and went for the 25€ per person set menu of entree, main course and shared a dessert. This place had the most unexpectedly amazing food.
My starter was butternut squash soup with escargot (snails), and it was delightful. I chose the entrecote for my main course and it was pretty good as well…however David’s main course was the best! He went for the rib of Lamb (WOW!!!!). To finish we enjoyed a MilleFuille (hello, it’s the name of the resto)…and we were happily full and on our way to our final destination.
We arrived around to Tournus around 5:30pm and checked into our room and we were happily surprised that the pictures on the website didn’t do the room justice. It was well decorated, very spacious with an awesome brand new bathroom. It was perfect! The hotel had even made dinner reservations for us for both evenings. The hosts Sophie and Thierry were super sweet and even spoke English, which isn’t always the case in these small villages. We took a quick nap, and got ready for dinner allowing enough time to enjoy a glass of wine with our hosts before leaving for dinner.
Dinner was booked at Quartier Gourmand at Le Rampart hotel…litterally 3 blocks walking from our hotel. We walked in and were surprised by how bright the restaurant was. I mean, it felt like the sun was shining full blast…giving it no ambiance or romance. At one point during the meal I had David turn off the light that was on our table because it was starting to give me a headache. Furthermore, the majority of the staff were cold and unfriendly (typical French). However the Sommelier was super sweet, and very helpful. David picked a Pommard wine and we went for the 70€ per person set menu.
The meal started with small bites from the chef, which were unmemorable. I cant even remember what is was we started with. We each opted for the lamb main course, which was absolutely out of this world!! Potentially the most amazing main course ever! It was a gorgeous piece of lamb with a “lasagna” type of layered pastry with sauteed mushrooms and black olives and I swear it tasted like cookie dough on top. Which sounds super bizarre, but I assure you it was FANTASTIC! The rest of the meal was again, unmemorable. And the worst part was when we were still having our desserts the staff was cleaning the tables all around us. Mind you, it was not even 11pm and there were still many patrons still in the restaurant. And THEN on top of being annoyed with the cleaning, it took them 20 min to bring the bill. Talk about a horrible way to end a meal….definitely left a “bad taste” in our mouths.
Saturday we woke up and popped into the main house of the hotel for breakfast (which was included in the price). Sophie helped us decide what to do for the day. She mentioned a wine fair happening at the next village over. We were definitely up for that…and a castle visit as well.
But before leaving the village we had to explore the 11th century Abbey that was just across the street from our hotel….it was breath taking!
It turned out to be the most perfect afternoon. The sun was warm, and we drove around with the top down. We arrived at 11am at the castle Cormatin, slightly worried about our timing since we knew they would shut for lunch around noon. But luckily there was a tour starting at 11:30. So it worked out perfectly!
By the time we finished it was time for lunch, and our guide recommended a small local place just across the street from the castle called La Terrasse. After that we made our way to Macon for the wine tasting and enjoyed the 20 minute drive with the sun shining and the wind in our hair!
The wine fair was really nice! There were mostly white wines, which in fact surprised me because I always thought that Burgundy was known for it’s red (pinot noir). I normally don’t care for white wines, but we actually found a few that we both loved (so much so that we purchased a few bottles to bring home with us). We even met a very nice wine maker who was married to an American….so we chatted with them for a bit. Here’s what we picked up:
- Beaujolais-Leynes “Le Clos” 2011 by Chatueau de Lavernette (red)
- Poully-Fuisse “Vers Chane” 2010 by Chateau de Lavernette (white)
- Vire Clesse 2010 by En Chatelaine (white)
We were back into Tournus by 4pm and explored around a bit stopping in a few antiques shop. We’ve been on a mission for a while now for a vintage wine jug (called a Dame Jeanne in French)….but it’s alluded us thus far. Then we popped back to our hotel for a glass of wine before getting ready for dinner.
Dinner on Saturday was at a Michelin star restaurant called Restaurant Grueze located at the Hotel Grueze. Again as we walked in, we were shocked at how brightly lit they had the place. Luckily they walked us to the back room (which appeared to be an old tower), which was slightly dimmer. David picked out a nice 1ere cru wine and we again went for the pre-set 70€ menu.
David made all the right choices at Restaurant Grueze….he started with the frogs legs, and had pigeon for his main and both were outstanding! Mine on the other hand was pretty good, but pretty forgettable and not up to par with what I would expect at the Michelin starred restaurant.
Sunday we checked out around 11, and per Sophies recommendation went to an antiques fair that is held on the river the first Sunday of every month. It was mostly junk, but there were a few gems. David picked up a HUGE old map for just 35€, which we think will be pretty cool at our flat back in the US. The wine jug, unfortunately, was no where to be found. We had a quick lunch and got on the road around 130pm.
Our plan was to meet up with a friend in Avignon for a quick drink before returning to Monaco. I’m so pleased that we did. Having never been to Avignon, I was amazed by how beautiful and magical it was. We had a drink sitting outside looking at the palace, which is just beautifully lit at night and truly quite romantic. We then found a nice restaurant for a quick dinner, before making our way back to Monaco.
Overall it was a wonderful weekend! I think if I were to go back I would 100% stay at the same place, the hosts were so helpful and friendly plus it’s a gorgeous location perfectly situated in the village. And I would try the other Michelin Star restaurant “Aux Terrasses“, which was sadly shut while we were in town.
I can’t believe it’s just 24 days until we move back to the US….it’s coming fast!!