28 of our Paris students enjoyed a trip to Bourgogne this past weekend, the 30-31 of January. Bourgogne is a region of France that is known mostly for its mustard, its pain d’epices, its crème de cassis, and of course, its wine.
The weekend started off in Dijon where we went on a guided walking tour of the city, from the Notre Dame de Dijon to the Palais des Ducs to the covered market that was formerly a convent. Everyone was also sure to, with the left hand, give a little rub to the owl carved into the side of Notre Dame de Dijon as it, so it is said, brings good luck.
Next we were off to Pommard via la route des grands crus, complete with an unexpected yet thorough narration of some of the region’s history by our bus driver and where had the pleasure of visiting the Château de Pommard. At the Château, we had the opportunity to go down into the cellars of the winery where we saw barrels upon barrels and bottles upon bottles of wine! We learned about and saw the five different types of soil that are found in the vineyards of the Château and what different elements in the soil bring to a wine. The tour ended on a sweet note, or rather many different notes, as we were lucky enough to do a wine tasting of 4 different wines produced at the Château de Pommard.
Next stop: Beaune. When we got to Beaune, the first stop was at the hotel to drop off our bags and enjoy a litte down time before dinner at the Conty restaurant. For many of our students, it was their first experience eating terrine and duck! During dinner, we did our traditional quiz, asking the students questions about what we saw and what we learned that day, complete with a prize for the winner. After dinner, it’s hop, au lit! to be ready for the next day.
Day two started with a guided walking tour of Beaune, starring l’Hôtel Dieu de Beaune. This beautiful building dates to 1443 when, after the 100 Years War, Chancellor Nicolas Rolin wanted to create something to help the most needy in the aftermath of war and plague. We also visited the Basilique of Beaune and the home a well-known alchemist.
After the morning visit and lunch, it was time for the last stop on our trip: la moutarderie! The moutarderie Fallot gave us a wonderful tour of their moutarderie (where mustard is made), explaining the history and fabrication methods of this delicious Bourgogne specialty. The students got to taste mustard seeds as well as try their hands at making mustard, ending the tour with a dégustation of a few different mustards paired with varied foods.
All in all, it was a great weekend of learning and discovery, of trying new things, and of getting to know France (and each other) a bit better!
For more pictures of our weekend, head to our Facebook page: Middlebury College en France