Burgundy to Lyon and beyond

My burgundy tasting was at the office/ tasting room of Domaine Maurice Gavignet in Nuits St. George. I put the address into Tom Tom and wound up outside someone’s house . So I decided to do a bit of exploring on foot. I went round a corner and there it was , I thought. I went in and after a difficult conversation in French, figured out that this was a different Maurice Gavignet — my Maurice was next door.  Apparently something happened within the family many years ago ——. So I went next door where they were expecting me and tasted their range. After a tasting like this I like to take away sample bottles of the wines I have liked and try them at leisure and with food. It’s amazing how different they can then taste sometimes. Anyway they were reasonably priced for what they were and a couple were outstanding.  I’ll probably bring some to Oz next year.
Then onto the Autoroute for a 2 hour thrash down to Lyon. It all went swimmingly until I got to within about 5 k of Lyon where everything just stopped.  France really has very major traffic problems in it’s big cities and you need to allow time for this in your planning.  If you are not actually going into Lyon you can bypass it on the Autoroute. But if you are going into the centre or thereabouts it is a guaranteed problem. It took me nearly an hour to do the last 5 k. Admittedly it was peak hour.  I got to the hotel Carlton and was extremely pleased to hand the car over to the wonderfully named ” voitureist” (car parker ).  The hotel is good.  Staff very pleasant and obliging and the rooms large and well appointed. About an hour after I arrived my friend Nick rang and said he was on the Autoroute 5 ks away and would see me in about 15 minutes. ” No you won’t ” I said ” try an hour”. An hour later he arrived!
Now, the next bit is about an old car event ( and some eating and drinking ) . So you may want to skip it.
At this time last year we attended  a car show in Lyon called Eurexpo. It takes place at the exhibition centre which I guess is about 15 k from the centre of Lyon. It combines car club stands and exhibits, a giant swap meet, dealers offering old and classic cars for sale, model car dealers, artists, motoring clothing, stands selling anything the keen motorist or restorer might need ( or think he might need), the inevitable auction and of course a tribute to a Marque. This year it was Facel Vega.
If you have an old French car there is a club for you. And the clubs are very specialised. There’s one for the Matra Djet owner, or the Peugeot 202, or the Sampson etc etc. an awful lot of wine gets drunk on these stands as matters of deep moment are discussed and disputed.
Our technique is to find the Hispano Suiza club stand and to use that as a base and refueling stop . We then fan out to see as much of the incredible diversity on offer as we can in the time available.
The event starts on a Friday and runs through to Sunday. Entry is cheap. This year it was €13.  I flashed my Senior’s Card, but unfortunately no cigar.  Friday is the best day to go as it is the least crowded.
The Hisso stand is legendary for the lunches which are served to the fortunate 30 or 40 who get invited into the dining area within the stand. It is all orchestrated by Modeste, ably assisted by a willing and very able coterie of club members. I have discovered that the production of a magnum of a good red helps get an invitation. The tables are communal, the food, wine and conversation are outstanding and the hospitality extraordinary — it really comes from the heart.
After lunch can be a very dangerous time if you are thinking of buying something.
On the Friday night we went to one of Lyon’s oldest eateries, Brasserie Abe.  We went last year and just had to go back. It is the quintessential French brasserie; looks just as it would have done a century ago but a bit faded, busy, noisy, fantastic simple food at really reasonable prices and a good little wine list at very fair prices.  You can only do food of this quality and simplicity by utilising the best and freshest raw materials.  And it was a walk from our hotel.  It’s worth going to Lyon just to eat there. We went to our beds very happy after a totally pleasant day.
Next morning we summoned our cars up from wherever the hotel had them parked and set off for the Show. The last 4 k to the exhibition centre took over an hour! Next year we will use the tram.
We will now return to the general stuff.
About 3pm after another splendid lunch at the Hisso stand we returned to the cars and headed for the autoroute and the south. We were going to stay with very old friends Near Apt in a tiny village called Le Grand Clement.
Next day was Sunday and I remembered that in a village on the way home called Coustellet there was a well recommended Sunday market, so I dropped in. It was so good to be back in France and at a local market where things are local, fresh and seasonal. It is autumn, so the supply of veggies is quite limited and so is the fruit, except for apples of all kinds.  At the markets it is pretty easy to figure out who has the best offerings — the stalls with the queues. I did an initial stock up and headed for Sanilhac and our house, about an hour away.
Since I arrived in France the weather has been cold, overcast and wet and it was to stay this way pretty much , for the rest of the trip.

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