Sunday, February 26, 2017

Alsace and Burgundy... Snips and snails and puppy dog tails! pt. 5

Last October, Bill and I spent Columbus Day weekend in a cute little Hexagonal Tower in a town called Semur-en-Auxois.  While I was searching for that property, I saw another gite located further south that interested me.  The place is called Gite de la Maison Bleue and it's located in a tiny little town called Saint Marcelin-de-Cray.  Now, before we visited this charming area, we had no idea of what was in Saint Marcelin-de-Cray.  In fact, having grown up in Gloucester, Virginia, I could almost say that our visit was kind of the equivalent of a French person vacationing in my hometown.  It's what one might call "The real France".

Anyway, I chose this particular property because it got amazing reviews on Booking.com and the pictures of it were awesome.  Also, it's very dog friendly, which we needed because we brought Zane and Arran with us.  When I booked the property, it was going for just 90 euros a night.  There was supposed to be a 90 euro "security deposit", but I don't think our hosts ever collected it from us.

To get to Saint Marcelin-de-Cray, we had to drive about four hours south of Alsace, mostly on high speed roads.  Then, we drove for another hour or so on a smaller road through many quaint towns on Burgundy's wine route.  I would have loved to have stopped for a couple of tastings.  Maybe next time, if we don't have the dogs with us.  Or maybe even if we do.  Sophie and Jean Pierre, the people who own the gite where we stayed, were fine with us leaving the boys alone while we went out for lunch.

We did have problems actually getting to the gite.  Our GPS was not finding the property.  We had to call Sophie, whose heavily accented English is a bit rusty.  Jean Pierre speaks no English whatsoever. Fortunately, our years of living in Germany and visiting France have made us pretty good at figuring things out.  After driving around for awhile, we finally found our accommodations at the top of a serene hill.

There's no need to worry about parking or poop bags.  Gite de la Maison Bleue is a working farm, so there's poop everywhere.  Animal lovers will delight in the three horses, three llamas, nanny goat, donkey, rabbits, two dogs, cat, two sheep, chickens, ducks, geese, and a pig who currently has seven little piglets.  This place is also a snail farm and in the summer, you can go and get your fill of escargot.  As a matter of fact, we had occasion to try snails during our visit.  Much to my surprise, they didn't gross me out.  In fact, I even enjoyed them.


This was one of the two bedrooms.  We slept on this bed in the beautifully decorated room.  I'm happy to report that both beds are king sized and comfortable.  A local artist has placed a number of his pieces throughout the gite.  You can purchase them and they are reasonably priced.  I spotted a couple I wanted to buy and I will be hitting up the artist's email and making the request.


The other bedroom, which we didn't use.  There was a flatscreen TV in there and down in the kitchen. WiFi is free, but rather spotty.  Also, the password is the longest I have ever seen!  


The kitchen was outfitted with all you'd need, except a freezer.  I'm sure if you needed to freeze something, the hosts would oblige.  Right off of the kitchen is a terrace, where you can sit and gaze at the beautiful view pictured below.  There is also a wood chip heater, which came in handy.




A view of the super cool "tower", which you can climb to the top of for even better views of the valley and mountains.  The shower in this place is great, too.  It has a rainfall head, as well as three jets and a handheld nozzle.





Some of the animals we shared quarters with...



This morning's sunrise was lovely.

We had a bit of a mishap during our first night.  Jean Pierre brought over some snails for us and came into the gite to help us prepare them.  On his way out, he wasn't quick to close the door.  Our little rascal, Zane, managed to escape.  It was getting dark out and the air was thick with new smells.  We spent about twenty scary minutes trying to round up our wayward dog.  Fortunately, Zane got distracted by a light and a big hunk of French bread.  He had it in his mouth when Bill brought him inside.  I swear Zane was smiling, too.  As much as it scares me when he gets loose, I was actually glad to see it on one level.  A few months ago, he didn't have nearly the energy level he's had lately.  A change of diet and some medicines have given him new life.


So these were the snails we had.  They had lots of garlic butter in them and reminded me a bit of haggis.  I probably wouldn't order them as a matter of course, but they weren't bad at all.


I kept taking pictures of the valley, but I don't think I quite captured how beautiful it really is.


The boys loved the terrace, where they could hang out.  There is no extra charge for pets.  In fact, they are warmly welcomed, even if they're loud and try to escape.  


Our hosts gave us fresh eggs from their chickens.  


I had to get a picture of the sound system.  It had a turntable and a CD player.  


This is not a great picture of the top of the tower, but it's a super cool feature of this property.  You can look at the splendor of the countryside from every direction.



Our first breakfast.  Bill went to the next town for the croissants and clementine juice.


A picture of the house from the pasture.  The gite is attached to Sophie's and Jean Pierre's home, but that's not a problem at all.  

I have much more to write about our experience in the next post.  If you're an animal lover, stay tuned!

Part 6.

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