|Tuesday, April 22,|
Travelling south we see some of the picturesque villages that make up the Alsace Route du Vin. We visit the beautiful city of Colmar. set amidst the foothills of the Vosges and once the Royal residence of Charlemagne. Sometimes called the City of Art, its graceful streets are lined with Medieval, Renaissance and 28th C. architecture. La Petite Venise is an attractive neighborhood of half timbered houses, shops and artists' studios long the banks of the Lauch River.
One of its most visited places is the Musee d' Unterlinde, occupying a 13th C. convent whose major treasures is The Issenheim altar piece by Mattias Grunewald.
Before sunset, we visit a charming township Ottrott
Friday, April 23,
is surrounded by green hills beyond which are the mountains. We have an incredible picnic lunch there.
The area is notable for its fine climate, especially during the spring. The old Town is full of charm and on the Grand - Rue (which goes back to Roman times) stands the 12th C. Cathedral St. Jean whose bell tower the extraordinary Horloge Astronomique, the 19th C. masterpiece composed of 30,000 parts and 70 faces. Its a symbol of Besancons watchmaking past. Number 140 the Grand Rue is the birthplace of Victor Hugo and number 64 is a private home illustrating the provincial townhouse life of the mid 18th C.
Approaching Burgundy from the east we find a prosperous province with excellent cuisine and wines, outstanding Romanesque art and architecture and remarkably varied countryside.
Our centre of touring while in Burgundy is Autun, the ancient Augustudunum, founded by Rome at the beginning of the Christian Era. When it was a vast city surrounded by four miles of walls of which two gateways remain.
Our hotel, Les Ursulines, is in Autun
just south of the cathedral.
The management of this pleasant place claims that "he who seeks silence, space and splendour.. shall find them at Les Ursulines. The sweet repose of the rooms, the pleasure of the table, the beauty of the garden.." we may be ready for such offers of peace at this point of the trip!