DAY 1: Une grande mélange des choses

My flight was late, so there was no relaxing walk down the Champs-Élysées on my first day. Maybe later this week when I’m back in Paris. Add on to that a train strike and you have a situation on your hands.

I’ve grown accustomed to the great Italian tradition of train strikes. Indeed, if the train workers aren’t striking in Italy, it’s almost as if something’s wrong. I expected the French train workers to be a little bit more reserved in their striking habits, but man was I wrong. I have two loooong taxi rides and the accompanying bills to prove it. Because if there’s not a train, and you don’t want to wait four hours for a bus that takes another four hours to arrive at your destination, then it’s gonna be a taxi. Ouch.

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train beer, don't care

I took a long TGV from Paris to Lyon and had my inaugural French train beer. I saw lots of little farms along the way, and I observed that French animals have families. I think animal husbandry is a more highly-evolved and gentle process here. Calves frolick with their mothers in the fields, unlike many of the operations I’ve seen in the US, where genders and ages are separated very early. I don’t profess to be some livestock expert but it looks to me like french cows are just happier. And this goes for the sheep and goats I’ve seen too. I think this happiness is readily apparent in the cheese.

I missed our first tasting today because of the train strike. It makes getting around that much harder. My taxi dropped me off right in front of David Chapel’s winery in Régnié-Durette. We had our first tasting with Emily and David Chapel, a young couple who just bought land in Beaujolais a couple years ago. They’re raising two small kids, creating some awesome wines, and carving a spot out for themselves in Beaujolais. We started the tasting with some 2017 tank samples, then tasted their 2016s. These wines were crackling with energy. Fresh, bright, full of life. My personal favorite was the 2016 Juliénas sans soufre, which they only bottled a few hundred of.

After that it was back to our apartment in Beaune, and dinner at Maison Combier. Incredible wines, great charcuterie, and a wonderful pork belly and sweet potato dish. Later that night, Tom and I used umbrellas to demonstrate why staircases were spiraled in old houses hint: it involves swords. France treated me well. Very well. See you tomorrow, au revoir!