Updated: May 8, 2021
BAGNOLS, a hill top village in the Rhône-Alpes, in the heart of Beaujolais. Gold coloured limestone reflect the Spring sunshine. The 13th century chateau magnificently restored, is a luxury haven for travellers and connoisseurs of fine dining, and deserving of a two night slot on our first drive time escape.
Château de Bagnols, a grand fortress glorified from eight centuries of French art de vivre, overlooks the Beaujolais vineyards. A splendid fireplace bears the date 1217. The château is a voyage into the past with its collection of luminous suites, richly decorated with frescoes and filled with the fragrance of the region..
Sumptuous apartments sit on one side, and the impressive wine cellar on the other.
Attentiveness is the word! In Restaurant 1217 the Chef has made his contemporary mark by drawing from the age-old culinary tradition of the Monts de Lyonnais mountains with dishes that are refined, subtle and visionary.
Before departure there will be ample time for a taste of the vineyards in the Beaujolais estate cellars where you can sample ...and buy the wine recognised for its Beaujolais cru status.
Martine and Pierre-Marie Chermette produce red, white and rosé Beaujolais wines, from the old vines. The Estate also produces Crémant de Bourgogne, extra-brut, brut and brut rosé, as well as homemade liqueurs made from blackcurrants and bush peaches with ginger.
The cross country route is showing off the region at its spring best as I indulge the empty country roads, the fragrances of Rhone-Alps, The Auvergne ...and the cars sound system, like an excitable youngster.
A Sad Reality
Back in Charente the pandemic’s influence on society well and truly hits home. Following a drawn out meeting with a prefecture in the charming market town of Niort, I set off in the direction of the one available public loo, only to unwittingly walk into a crime scene, my path blocked by a strong armed group trying to obstruct the view of a man down. A girl walks in behind me in a similar dilemma, screams ...‘sacre bleu’ and makes a speedy exit, while I endure a verbal assault from one of their crew before receiving a head butt. I’m on the floor, ...glad to say I live to see another day, but not sure about the motionless body next to me. The sûreté arrive only to cause a further delay before I can go in search of a tree ...when in Rome!