A French Journey by Photography – Take a tour

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Abbesses Metro station Paris France

All the photography was taken by myself on our visits to Paris and the French regions. I hope you enjoy them and please look up my stories of our travels on Amazon.

Neal is an established and extensively published French Travel writer with an aim is to impart his passion for France to his readers. Neal has travelled extensively in France with his family and friends and acted as ‘tour’ guide to others over the years.
Neal lived and worked in Lancashire, England and found the joy of travel later in life after a conservative travel upbringing that stretched only as far as stopping the car falling into the sea at the English coastline.
He now lives in Somerset close to his granddaughter and family and on the wonderful South West coastline that we enjoy so much. Neal loves the English game of Cricket, which he plans to write about soon, golf, soccer and photography. He has a great love of History and that is reflected in his writing.

Chocolat filmed in the quietest location village in Burgundy

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Flavigny-sur-Ozerain - L'Ange Souriant Chambres D'Hotes
Flavigny-sur-Ozerain – L’Ange Souriant Chambres D’Hotes

Chocolat

This destination is one of our favourites – Northern Burgundy. It is a much neglected part of France from a tourist standpoint. To the north is Champagne with its landscape of gently rolling vine covered hillsides. The towns of Champagne are steeped in wine making history and the money coming into the area keeps it looking expensively maintained. It is an area that will always delight but just to the south is a less travelled region that is more warts and all in its presentation. The towns are just that little more untouched and authentic, the countryside rural and pure, not quite manicured to within an inch of its life as in Champagne. It is a region that produces fine wine, wine that other than Chablis rarely reached the supermarkets of the UK. These wines are well worth finding when your car has an empty boot. They are astonishingly good value.

We are going to start this leg of our road trip in a small village in the French department of Côte-d’Or, in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. When you are asked to name one or two films set in France then the usual suspects come to mind. ‘A Good Year’, ‘Midnight in Paris’, ‘Mr Bean’s Holiday’. If I ever asked the female friends of my wife then they always seemed to come up with ‘Chocolat’, the film based on the novel by English Author Joanne Harris. Starring Johnny Depp, Juliet Binoche and Judi Dench it was a popular addition to the genre. I have to say at the time of our travels I had never seen it of knew anything of the storyline. I certainly was not aware of the film location in France. Flavigny-sur-Ozerain is the setting for Chocolat and that is the village where our bed and breakfast accommodation is located. Somebody told me that film fact by the way, because you would not be aware of it when you are staying there. This rural village is just that and resolutely determined to stay one. There are no indications that it has a claim to fame, no signposts designating the places featured in the film. Certainly, there are no souvenir shops. I doubt you could even buy a bar of Chocolat. This would never be allowed to pass in England. If even an advert is filmed in the smallest of towns or villages in England they would certainly make sure you knew about it. You are absolutely not going to get the T-Shirt in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain.

I cannot say I am disappointed at that. I like my locations in France to stand on their own, keeping their individual charm. Flavigny does not disappoint on first view of the village from the Northern approach road. It looks the quintessential Plus Belle Village de France as you take it in from a distance. I pull the car over on the rise with the village beyond emerging out of the lush green countryside. The dominant feature as is the case in most French villages, however small, is the church spire. Abbaye Saint Joseph de Clairval is a particular stand out example and I should have realized, features in the film. It is a promising first impression.

Entering the village, we make our way slowly along the main street and cannot miss our clearly signed accommodation – L’Ange Souriant on Rue Voltaire. I am writing this in Covid lockdown times and of course most things are closed anyway but I suspect that this establishment is no longer trading which is a shame. It would be one of the most enjoyable places we stayed at in France, despite its modest pretentions. As I have mentioned this an extremely famous village, Hollywood superstar famous. Strangely no one seems to have told it. From entering the village, we have not encountered a soul. The first person we see is our host and then again that is not straight away by any means. She is not around when we arrive, so we have to wait, explore a few side streets winding around the property. Disturbing the slumbers of a couple of cats is the best we can achieve in bonding with the locals. Finally, the lady we are waiting for comes around the corner with her three young children. The school run accomplished she warmly greets us and apologises for not being here for our arrival. She sets the tone for our visit, and we are immediately part of the family.

Her home follows the usual style of furnishing in rural France. In our bedroom large solid chunky furniture dominates our space. Throughout Burgundy and other parts of France it seems that furniture is handed down from generation to generation. Dark wood fixtures may be well out of fashion in England but not here in France and it is always oversized. It is an extremely clean and well cared for space though and the overall atmosphere is homely and generous. Having unpacked we are welcomed into the family space, the owners three children doing their homework. As always in France little excuse is needed to offer a guest a glass of wine and our delightful host continues that tradition with a lovely light Burgundy.

Soon it is time to go in search of food, a typical Burgundy auberge perhaps in another picture-perfect village. We head out through the village gates and into the expanse of countryside beyond. The light is already gently fading with the sun just obscured by the cloud on the horizon. It is a gorgeous view and completely tranquil. As we drive down the narrow lanes and pass-through various villages it becomes readily apparent just how tranquil it actually is. Apart from the odd cat and assorted cattle in a field there is no other sign of life. Despite it being dusk very few lights are flickering in the villages and although there may be an auberge sign or two gently swaying in the breeze the attached restaurants are resolutely closed. So too are any village shops. Except one that we eventually stumble upon after driving around for around an hour. Our French evening meal feast is a couple of slightly past their best chocolate croissants and a bar of chocolate all washed down with a cheeky little half bottle of sauvignon blanc of dubious parentage. Still, being able to gorge on this feast back at the village sat by the church in the deserted town square, peace all around, it is not a bad end to the day.

Flavigny-sur-Ozerain – A quiet corner of Northern Burgundy

We explore a little more on the following morning, but Flavigny is just a pleasant, quiet Burgundian village. There is no ‘Chocolat’ tourist trail, no souvenir shops where you can buy your ‘Chocolat’ Chocolate. It is a village were the local life goes on at its slow unconcerned pace. We saw a man tinkering with a car down a side street at what I presume passes as the local garage. An old lady wanders across the church square to talk to a neighbour. That is about it really. The French do not really do celebrity transformations of their villages and that is the same story throughout Burgundy and much of France. As you tour the Burgundian countryside you pass through so many lovely villages, many are incredibly famous throughout the world. The wine villages around Beaune such as Pommard, Aloxe-Corton, Gevry Chambertain, Vosne-Romanie and so on are names to conjure with. However, when you arrive at these villages there will be just a simple village sign as there is on entering any village in France. These villages have remained small and undeveloped and if you are expecting any sort of fanfare announcing their important status then you will be disappointed. In fact if anything they discourage any additional attention. I for one am happy with that and the countryside of Burgundy remains very unspoilt and is much as it has always been. The only drawback is that because they do not overly put themselves out for the hungry tourist you can find even in summer if a restaurant only opens Wednesday to Sunday, lunch only, then those are the hours and even if there are coachloads of ready customers those hours will not change. Bring a sandwich!

Cycle by the riverside in Noyers Burgundy France

Flavigny does have its charm even if you are a disappointed ‘Chocolat’ tourist, which I am not. The old walls and gateways to the village are well worth seeking out as is the area around the church. Its charm as a filming location is obvious and although a stroll around the village will be uneventful you will encounter one or two villagers and the welcome is friendly. At the entrance to the village is the one claim to fame that the villagers will acknowledge with genuine pride – the Anise of Flavigny shop and manufacturers. It is in the Benedictine Abbey in Flavigny that this tasty little treat has been made since 1591. Always produced according to the same ancient recipe, each individual aniseed is still patiently coated in thin layers of a secret delicately flavoured syrup. To the villagers sharing a sweet with a hidden aniseed at its heart is symbolic of love itself. Having a pedigree going back through more than four centuries of history, this is one of the oldest brands in France. They do last a long time so a couple of their attractive tins for the winter are a welcome addition to any store cupboard or the car glove box. One thing however, even in this shop, you are not going to find and that is a bar of Chocolat Chocolate or a Aniseed Chocolat here in Flavigny. There are no souvenirs to be had of the film location. All the better for it really, we enjoyed the quiet and to wander round the village with my camera was a photographer’s dream – no cars, no people.

Our stay at our chambres d’hôtes here in Flavigny was extremely pleasant and we bid adieu to our host and her charming children following another copious breakfast. At least this was a regular source of food for at least one of our daily meals here in rural Northern Burgundy. Flavigny is a charming village but please bring a packed lunch if you are not coming in July or August.

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : https://bit.ly/bookneal

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French Travel Guide Books
FREE French Travel Book Download CLICK ON PHOTO

Please enjoy this FREE book – a selection of my French Travel Book writing

All my books are available on Amazon for Kindle or Kindle Unlimited and of course in Print

Neal is an established and extensively published French Travel writer with an aim is to impart his passion for France to his readers. Neal has travelled extensively in France with his family and friends and acted as ‘tour’ guide to others over the years.
Neal lived and worked in Lancashire, England and found the joy of travel later in life after a conservative travel upbringing that stretched only as far as stopping the car falling into the sea at the English coastline.
He now lives in Somerset close to his granddaughter and family and on the wonderful South West coastline that we enjoy so much. Neal loves the English game of Cricket, which he plans to write about soon, golf, soccer and photography. He has a great love of History and that is reflected in his writing.

Tour de France Tommy Simpson and our accent of Mont Ventoux

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Mont Ventoux from outside of the village of Bonnieux Provence France

From early in my life I always had a fascination about the career and death of the British cyclist Tommy Simpson. In my youth I was a keen cyclist but I never cycled competitively. I had one of those ‘can you remember where you were when JFK was shot’ moments in 1967 when Simpson died that July day during the Tour de France on his ascent of Mt Ventoux. I do remember exactly where I was when Kennedy died; I was in a Fish and Chip shop in Darwen, Lancashire, my home town.  I clearly remember my parents and everyone around being very shocked. I vividly recall that when Simpson passed away I was in Blackpool on one of our ubiquitous summer holidays. I was listening in my earpiece to a cricket commentary on my transistor radio when a newsflash interrupted this very English scene flowing around in my head.  I think importantly for me though it was that Simpsons death was the first one in my life that really registered on my consciousness. How could such an athlete just die?

Simpson it is true contributed to his demise due to his response to the extreme pressure to succeed that surrounds the Tour de France and continues to do so to this day. Sadly, it was ever thus, that ways were being found to enhance a rider’s performance in the Tour. It was concluded that he also had done so and this had made him go unknowingly beyond the limits of endurance. Due to having been quite debilitating ill in the previous days of the Tour a tragedy was the inevitable consequence. He was, despite joining in with the culture of the times in striving to be better at any cost a very popular figure and in England. He was revered as an athlete which was unusual for the somewhat minority spectator sport of cycling. What I am saying really is that he was not a Soccer playing superstar but through strength of character and that determination to win he had broken through the barrier into much wider popularity.  He certainly had with me and I had followed his career avidly and for that reason his death was a massive event in my life. The modern comparison for my son would be the death of Ayrton Senna.

When travelling in Provence I had always looked up at Mt Ventoux, you have to as you cannot miss it, thinking that I must go up there and pay my respects at Simpsons memorial. Constructed where he fell, it is just one kilometre from the summit on the route going up from the village of Malaucène. In 2005 I decided it was high time that I did and so we set out first of all for Malaucène.

It is a long way up there – Mont Ventoux

We did not go up Ventoux straightaway as there was a morning market on in the town and we spend an hour or so browsing around and as usual we were unable to resist the temptation to buy. After a coffee in the market square we finally set off up Ventoux via the route D974. The road is quite steep even in the early stages from Malaucène. You reach a service station looking like an Alps chalet but we past it by and pressed on towards the summit and our goal for the day.  Even early on in our climb up the mountain by car it is clear that to do this on a racing cycle must require a certain almost superhuman strength. Without condoning it you can see that many would resort to assistance from whatever source available to try to deal with this immense pressure placed by the Tour de France. I cannot comprehend how anyone can attempt this at all but on this day there are a few amateur cyclists, some equipped with oxygen, attempting to emulate their heroes from the Tour. I am not sure how sensible it is to try but try they must.

Our car is new, a Skoda Octavia top of the range diesel model with the larger engine and has never missed a beat in all the time I have owned it as a company car. It has taken us the nearly 1000 miles from the North of England with ease and for the last week we have toured around the area without it offering complaint. The car is in the very best of condition. We round some zig zag bends and bizarrely at a couple of points I have the sensation of going downhill. I have had this feeling occur also in the English Lakes at higher altitude when your car seems to be almost cruising with minimum power being applied. We carry on uphill quite slowly as I need to concentrate and we hesitantly reach somewhere around 4500 feet in altitude.

It is around this point on the climb and not very far from our objective of Tommy Simpson’s memorial that something very strange starts to happen with our vehicle. The car becomes very unresponsive and does not gain any further height with ease, becoming very sluggish. You sense that the engine has the signs of overheating and I half expect to see some smoke coming from under the bonnet. This is very much a quite disconcerting sensation, but worse follows in that it now appears to be most of the mechanics of the car that are starting to shut down and not responding to my control. This was quite scary as we were at a high altitude with serious drops going down from the side of the road and I did not feel I was in control of the vehicle even though I was only progressing the car at a very low speed. I decided to ease the car over to the mountain face side of the road and it did so very reluctantly. I was I have to admit shaking and extremely stressed by this as was Niamh.

There was definitely no possibility of me trying to continue up the mountain road as my nerves were completely shot at. It was essential in view of what was going on with the mechanics of the car that we try to get back down the mountain safely. Sadly, I would be thwarted in getting up to Simpsons memorial but discretion is as they say the better part of valour.

I told Niamh to get out of the car while I try to attempt to turn the car around to head back down the mountain road. I have visually checked the engine etc.. nothing seems on face value to be mechanically amiss with the vehicle. The car really does not want to move but eventually I do manage after about a twenty point turn to safely get it pointing in the opposite direction and Niamh reluctantly gets back in. We start to retrace our steps down Ventoux and come immediately to a sharp turn. I brake and there is absolutely no response from the pedals. Fortunately at this gentler part of the decent we are not going too fast and I negotiate the bend which then straightens out to a long steeper descent. Again I try the brakes and – nothing! I manically pull on the hand brake and point the car to the mountainside and eventually bring it to a stop in a small ditch by the side of the road. Our nerves have been through the wringer and back again.

At this point we both get out and now see our car as a demented enemy no longer the faithful friend that has served us so well this far. The only plan I can think of is that we bide our time and let the car completely cool down and then hesitantly and conservatively try again. This is what we do and when I am happy that we have left it long enough we get back inside. Heading cautiously down the descent the brakes are not perfect by any means but they seem as if they will get us back to Malaucène if I take considerable care. We slowly but surely do this and it was an incredible relief to get back down and park in the commune, get out and have a double expresso and mop each other’s brow. I had been thwarted in my plan for the day but worst of all we had got ourselves into a very serious position on that climb and had felt that it could easily, very easily have ended with a far worse result.

I have no explanation as to what occurred with the car on that mountain road. The altitude and the cars reaction to that height was the only thing that I could put it down to. What made it completely bizarre was that we got back in the car and travelled all the way back to Mazan where we were staying and the vehicle drove and responded perfectly as it always had done previously. I couldn’t take it to a garage as there was nothing to look at, it was fine. It drove perfectly for the rest of the week and the long journey back to England.

It was indeed time for a bottle of wine or two! I never got to Tommy Simpson’s memorial and reaching it is still on my ‘to do list’. I will get there, probably without Niamh, I will pay my respects to my childhood cycling hero but I will do it with great respect for this dangerous mountain and I will do it with care and talk kindly to my car on the way up.

TRAVEL BLOG More NEW Stories Please Enjoy these short memoirs and more

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : https://bit.ly/bookneal

My passion is writing about travel and particularly French travel. I have traveled extensively in France and wine and food has always featured on my travels and now in my books. My friends always await our return from France with the latest new finds from the vineyards and I was more than happy to keep sampling. I am from Lancashire in the north of England but have now relocated to Somerset (nearer to France) and able to enjoy devoting my time to writing and new discoveries.
France came late to me as a destination, in fact so conservative was my travel upbringing that it was a long time before I even ventured to Cornwall. My travel plans always ended before the car reached the sea. I have more than made up for the slow start and have enjoyed helping many others with their travel plans to France and especially to Paris and Provence.
I have written a series of four books on France – All are now on Amazon
The experiences are varied and many and please come with me as I retell the stories and my footsteps are there to follow.
I am also writing about ancestry and genealogy and my first book about our incredible family story themed around war and the military is now on Amazon – A BULLET FOR LIFE.
I love the English game of cricket, golf, soccer, photography, walking and cooking. Oh, and travel of course

SEE FULL SELECTION ON BLOG PAGE

Place Contrascarpe Paris France – an interesting spot on the left bank – Hemingway country

In search of Hemingway – Midnight in Paris & Restaurant La Maison de Verlaine

One of the most evocative books about Paris could be considered to be Ernest Hemingway’s ‘A Moveable Feast’. If ever I need inspiration to write about Paris or to make plans for another visit then that is the book that clinches my mood and motivation. It works every time for me even though you do have to take some of his Paris memoir writing with a large pinch of salt.

Continue reading ……

Springsteen, French Travels, Cricket and Brief Encounters

I note that recently ‘The Boss’ was 71. I have seen Springsteen many times over the years and had the pleasure of meeting him on one occasion. It made me recall the number of times I have met well known people on my travels – right place, right time. Hope you enjoy this recollection centered around my favourite sport, the mysterious English game of Cricket.

Continue Reading…

Rows of crosses give a moving and stark reminder of the events of D-Day at the American Cemetery Omaha Beach

D-Day 6th June 1944 and a poignant visit to Normandy

I confess that I have a love of history and especially in the period of time in France that covers the occupation and the D-Day landings. It is not my intention to go over all that the story encompasses. That has been well told many times by far better historians and been reviewed extensively quite recently with the fascination of the 75th anniversary of the landings. All my writings are done with a desire to inspire you to visit the places we have loved over the years. What I hope to achieve is to convey a sense of the atmosphere to you and the way these sites have an impact on us as visitors. Continue Reading..

Paris & France – Travel now
Hoghton Cricket Club Lancashire
A favorite wine bar in Banon from our French travels

Wine Bar Les Vins au Vert Banon Provence France

Lower down from the market square of Banon village we had previously walked past a small wine bar, Les Vins Au Vert, opposite the tabac. We decided to check it out because it had seemed to hint that there was food to be had for lunch as well as a glass of wine. It turned out that we would be very happy that we had made this choice as the service was warm and friendly and prompt. Continue Reading…

Photography for my DREAM OF PARIS travel book

I have created a selection of photography of the people and places of Paris that compliments my writing in my book A DREAM OF PARIS. Please enjoy the photography and I hope to inspire you to visit as soon as it is possible again – for now we still have our imagination and memories and no doubt a warm welcome awaits us in the future

GO TO LINKS : PHOTOGRAPHY FOR PARIS

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : https://bit.ly/bookneal

Bistro St Andre on the left bank. The stroll from St Michel across towards St Germain takes you down Rue St Andre and it is a very interesting quarter of Paris.

Cremerie Restaurant Polidor Paris France – an authentic taste of Paris
Come to Paris with my Dream of Paris Memoir
Available on Amazon for Kindle and Kindle Unlimited – Also in Print

Chocolat filmed in the quietest location village in Burgundy

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : https://bit.ly/bookneal

Flavigny-sur-Ozerain - L'Ange Souriant Chambres D'Hotes
Flavigny-sur-Ozerain – L’Ange Souriant Chambres D’Hotes

Chocolat

This destination is one of our favourites – Northern Burgundy. It is a much neglected part of France from a tourist standpoint. To the north is Champagne with its landscape of gently rolling vine covered hillsides. The towns of Champagne are steeped in wine making history and the money coming into the area keeps it looking expensively maintained. It is an area that will always delight but just to the south is a less travelled region that is more warts and all in its presentation. The towns are just that little more untouched and authentic, the countryside rural and pure, not quite manicured to within an inch of its life as in Champagne. It is a region that produces fine wine, wine that other than Chablis rarely reached the supermarkets of the UK. These wines are well worth finding when your car has an empty boot. They are astonishingly good value.

We are going to start this leg of our road trip in a small village in the French department of Côte-d’Or, in Bourgogne-Franche-Comté. When you are asked to name one or two films set in France then the usual suspects come to mind. ‘A Good Year’, ‘Midnight in Paris’, ‘Mr Bean’s Holiday’. If I ever asked the female friends of my wife then they always seemed to come up with ‘Chocolat’, the film based on the novel by English Author Joanne Harris. Starring Johnny Depp, Juliet Binoche and Judi Dench it was a popular addition to the genre. I have to say at the time of our travels I had never seen it of knew anything of the storyline. I certainly was not aware of the film location in France. Flavigny-sur-Ozerain is the setting for Chocolat and that is the village where our bed and breakfast accommodation is located. Somebody told me that film fact by the way, because you would not be aware of it when you are staying there. This rural village is just that and resolutely determined to stay one. There are no indications that it has a claim to fame, no signposts designating the places featured in the film. Certainly, there are no souvenir shops. I doubt you could even buy a bar of Chocolat. This would never be allowed to pass in England. If even an advert is filmed in the smallest of towns or villages in England they would certainly make sure you knew about it. You are absolutely not going to get the T-Shirt in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain.

I cannot say I am disappointed at that. I like my locations in France to stand on their own, keeping their individual charm. Flavigny does not disappoint on first view of the village from the Northern approach road. It looks the quintessential Plus Belle Village de France as you take it in from a distance. I pull the car over on the rise with the village beyond emerging out of the lush green countryside. The dominant feature as is the case in most French villages, however small, is the church spire. Abbaye Saint Joseph de Clairval is a particular stand out example and I should have realized, features in the film. It is a promising first impression.

Entering the village, we make our way slowly along the main street and cannot miss our clearly signed accommodation – L’Ange Souriant on Rue Voltaire. I am writing this in Covid lockdown times and of course most things are closed anyway but I suspect that this establishment is no longer trading which is a shame. It would be one of the most enjoyable places we stayed at in France, despite its modest pretentions. As I have mentioned this an extremely famous village, Hollywood superstar famous. Strangely no one seems to have told it. From entering the village, we have not encountered a soul. The first person we see is our host and then again that is not straight away by any means. She is not around when we arrive, so we have to wait, explore a few side streets winding around the property. Disturbing the slumbers of a couple of cats is the best we can achieve in bonding with the locals. Finally, the lady we are waiting for comes around the corner with her three young children. The school run accomplished she warmly greets us and apologises for not being here for our arrival. She sets the tone for our visit, and we are immediately part of the family.

Her home follows the usual style of furnishing in rural France. In our bedroom large solid chunky furniture dominates our space. Throughout Burgundy and other parts of France it seems that furniture is handed down from generation to generation. Dark wood fixtures may be well out of fashion in England but not here in France and it is always oversized. It is an extremely clean and well cared for space though and the overall atmosphere is homely and generous. Having unpacked we are welcomed into the family space, the owners three children doing their homework. As always in France little excuse is needed to offer a guest a glass of wine and our delightful host continues that tradition with a lovely light Burgundy.

Soon it is time to go in search of food, a typical Burgundy auberge perhaps in another picture-perfect village. We head out through the village gates and into the expanse of countryside beyond. The light is already gently fading with the sun just obscured by the cloud on the horizon. It is a gorgeous view and completely tranquil. As we drive down the narrow lanes and pass-through various villages it becomes readily apparent just how tranquil it actually is. Apart from the odd cat and assorted cattle in a field there is no other sign of life. Despite it being dusk very few lights are flickering in the villages and although there may be an auberge sign or two gently swaying in the breeze the attached restaurants are resolutely closed. So too are any village shops. Except one that we eventually stumble upon after driving around for around an hour. Our French evening meal feast is a couple of slightly past their best chocolate croissants and a bar of chocolate all washed down with a cheeky little half bottle of sauvignon blanc of dubious parentage. Still, being able to gorge on this feast back at the village sat by the church in the deserted town square, peace all around, it is not a bad end to the day.

Flavigny-sur-Ozerain – A quiet corner of Northern Burgundy

We explore a little more on the following morning, but Flavigny is just a pleasant, quiet Burgundian village. There is no ‘Chocolat’ tourist trail, no souvenir shops where you can buy your ‘Chocolat’ Chocolate. It is a village were the local life goes on at its slow unconcerned pace. We saw a man tinkering with a car down a side street at what I presume passes as the local garage. An old lady wanders across the church square to talk to a neighbour. That is about it really. The French do not really do celebrity transformations of their villages and that is the same story throughout Burgundy and much of France. As you tour the Burgundian countryside you pass through so many lovely villages, many are incredibly famous throughout the world. The wine villages around Beaune such as Pommard, Aloxe-Corton, Gevry Chambertain, Vosne-Romanie and so on are names to conjure with. However, when you arrive at these villages there will be just a simple village sign as there is on entering any village in France. These villages have remained small and undeveloped and if you are expecting any sort of fanfare announcing their important status then you will be disappointed. In fact if anything they discourage any additional attention. I for one am happy with that and the countryside of Burgundy remains very unspoilt and is much as it has always been. The only drawback is that because they do not overly put themselves out for the hungry tourist you can find even in summer if a restaurant only opens Wednesday to Sunday, lunch only, then those are the hours and even if there are coachloads of ready customers those hours will not change. Bring a sandwich!

Cycle by the riverside in Noyers Burgundy France

Flavigny does have its charm even if you are a disappointed ‘Chocolat’ tourist, which I am not. The old walls and gateways to the village are well worth seeking out as is the area around the church. Its charm as a filming location is obvious and although a stroll around the village will be uneventful you will encounter one or two villagers and the welcome is friendly. At the entrance to the village is the one claim to fame that the villagers will acknowledge with genuine pride – the Anise of Flavigny shop and manufacturers. It is in the Benedictine Abbey in Flavigny that this tasty little treat has been made since 1591. Always produced according to the same ancient recipe, each individual aniseed is still patiently coated in thin layers of a secret delicately flavoured syrup. To the villagers sharing a sweet with a hidden aniseed at its heart is symbolic of love itself. Having a pedigree going back through more than four centuries of history, this is one of the oldest brands in France. They do last a long time so a couple of their attractive tins for the winter are a welcome addition to any store cupboard or the car glove box. One thing however, even in this shop, you are not going to find and that is a bar of Chocolat Chocolate or a Aniseed Chocolat here in Flavigny. There are no souvenirs to be had of the film location. All the better for it really, we enjoyed the quiet and to wander round the village with my camera was a photographer’s dream – no cars, no people.

Our stay at our chambres d’hôtes here in Flavigny was extremely pleasant and we bid adieu to our host and her charming children following another copious breakfast. At least this was a regular source of food for at least one of our daily meals here in rural Northern Burgundy. Flavigny is a charming village but please bring a packed lunch if you are not coming in July or August.

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : https://bit.ly/bookneal

FREE Book Come to France with me DOWNLOAD NOW

French Travel Guide Books
FREE French Travel Book Download CLICK ON PHOTO

Please enjoy this FREE book – a selection of my French Travel Book writing

All my books are available on Amazon for Kindle or Kindle Unlimited and of course in Print

Neal is an established and extensively published French Travel writer with an aim is to impart his passion for France to his readers. Neal has travelled extensively in France with his family and friends and acted as ‘tour’ guide to others over the years.
Neal lived and worked in Lancashire, England and found the joy of travel later in life after a conservative travel upbringing that stretched only as far as stopping the car falling into the sea at the English coastline.
He now lives in Somerset close to his granddaughter and family and on the wonderful South West coastline that we enjoy so much. Neal loves the English game of Cricket, which he plans to write about soon, golf, soccer and photography. He has a great love of History and that is reflected in his writing.

Provence and the South Photography to Enjoy waiting to Travel

Please enjoy some more photography from our travels in Provence. They compliment my French travel writing and these are available on Amazon including Kindle Unlimited. Hope you enjoy and you are all keeping safe and ready to travel again for real.

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : https://bit.ly/bookneal

PLEASE CLICK ON PHOTO FOR FULL VIEW

Collioure Harbour South of France
Perpignan by Night
Paris & France – Travel now
The start of our French adventure

Provence and the South Photography to Enjoy waiting to Travel

Please enjoy some more photography from our travels in Provence. They compliment my French travel writing and these are available on Amazon including Kindle Unlimited. Hope you enjoy and you are all keeping safe and ready to travel again for real.

Please enjoy my Travel books – LINK TO YOUR COUNTRY : https://bit.ly/bookneal

PLEASE CLICK ON PHOTO FOR FULL VIEW

Collioure Harbour South of France
Perpignan by Night
Paris & France – Travel now
The start of our French adventure
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