Tandem Cycling in Provence
Trois Etoilles: Restaurant Bocuse
Day Five of our Provencal cycling trip dawns beautifully again finding us further down the Soane River Valley in Macon, halfway between Dijon and Lyon, where the richer Burgundy vineyards give way to the fresher taste of Beaujolais. It’s pretty magical to sink, exhausted from the days ride, into our bunks aboard the ship and awaken down river docked in a new village. Today we climb above the valley to reach Julienas, a village as pretty as its name and wines.
Pedaling along a ridge, sweaty and out of breath from the climb, my husband and tandem cycling partner Jim and I come upon a cemetery, I tug on his shirt to signal for a welcome rest stop. Clearly this is a wealthy region of long-established vintner families. The tombstones are polished marble and granite and bear family names going back from the early 1800s to the present. What is amazing is to see the plethora of fresh flowers on so many of the plots. They speak volumes about the deep sense of family pride, rootedness and connection these folks in these villages have. After snapping photos of some of the more remarkable tombstones (i.e.: one with a marble motorcycle inscribed next to a marble photograph of the handsome youth lying therein; the one with bunches and bunches of fresh flowers next to the only one gone to weeds), we climb back on the tandem.
Eventually we descend into another tiny village to see the centuries old wind-powered mill that gave its name to the famous Moulin a Vent wines that often show the windmill on their label. With wise restraint, we pass on the chance for “degustation” after seeing the hairpin turns ahead of us on the route back down to the Soane. Not a good idea to have been wine-tasting! In the early afternoon we safely arrive at our ship docked in the small village of Collonges.
It’s a classically windy hot summer afternoon so after lunch on the boat we each decide to take a nap. I stake out a place on the upper deck amongst the myriad tandems lying on their side to take a sunbath nap before tonight’s special gourmet dining event.