Monday, October 10, 2016

A pet friendly Columbus Day weekend in France... part one

Excuse the boring title for this series of posts.  I have just come back from enjoying the holiday weekend in Semur En Auxois, a lovely town in Burgundy, France.  Ten days ago, I had never heard of the place.  I was simply searching for a pet friendly vacation home rental for me and Bill, as well as our two hounds, Zane and Arran.  Until very recently, I habitually booked Zane and Arran in a local hunde pension.  But the one we used to use fell in to disrepute and the one we use now is frequently booked early for holiday weekends.

It wasn't lost on me that Bill and I have had the great fortune of living in Germany together for the second time and we needed to make the most of our time here.  Although we did manage to see a lot of Europe the last time we lived here and in the years between Germany stints, we also know that things can change quickly, especially given our current election nightmare.  In late July, we took our first pet friendly trip and we've done several more since then.  Last month, we spent Labor Day weekend in Belgium and rented a vacation house for the very first time.  We decided to try the same thing in France.

So, off I went to Booking.com, which is where we had luck the first time we rented a house instead of booking a hotel room.  Originally, I thought we'd go to the Champagne region.  Bill and I visited there in 2014 when we took our most recent hop from the United States.  We enjoyed visiting Reims and Epernay, but I wanted to go back and spend more time visiting Champagne houses.  Unfortunately, I had some trouble finding suitable accommodations there.

I expanded my area and searched in Nancy, Dijon, and Beaune.  It was the same story.  I was having a hard time finding a place that had all I wanted-- parking (preferably free), free WiFi, and pet friendly (preferably free).  I also wanted to find a place where we weren't sharing walls, if at all possible.  Part of the appeal of vacation homes as opposed to hotel rooms or apartments is that we're less likely to annoy someone if our dogs bark.

We did find one place near Dijon that looked very promising.  It was at a winery, which was a huge plus!  And, at least on Booking.com, it was supposedly pet friendly, too.  Then I did some more searching and found the place listed on other sites.  On those sites, it said pets were not allowed.  I got the sense that the owner was one of those people who will rent to pet owners if she has to, but would definitely prefer not to.  When I rent a place, I don't want to be merely tolerated (although in truth, that's probably the situation most of the time).  Anyway, I figured she'd rather rent to pet free folks and I'm fine with that.

Just as I was about to tear my hair out in frustration, I found a very unique property in Semur En Auxois.  It was called simply "Hexagonal Tower for Two".  It was a nice, generic name, kind of like the title of this blog post.  But the property was far from generic.  What I was looking at was literally a tower intended to host guests.  And it was pet friendly!


Yes, this is a tower for two-- count 'em-- two people...

Although I had never heard of Semur En Axois before and had no idea of how to pronounce the name, I did some checking and thought it looked like a very picturesque place.  So I made a booking request and quickly got a response from Louise, the proprietor.  She advised me there would be a small supplement for the dogs (30 euros for both dogs over our three night stay).  Booking.com took payment for our stay and we'd need to pay Louise cash for the dogs.  That was fine, so we made our plans to visit.

The first thing I learned is the pronunciation of the town's name (say-moor-ohn-ohk-swah).  Next, we plugged it into our GPS and were advised it would take about 5.5 hours to get there, mostly by way of excellent French high speed highways.  Then, when I looked for it on Google, I was advised it was actually seven hours away.  Nope-- turns out the GPS was right.  If my series makes you want to visit, plan for about six hours tops on the road.  Also plan for tolls, though I don't think they were excessive.  I think it came to about 30 euros each way.

Part 2

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