Uchon and Chateau-Chinon

Posted on Jun 13, 2010 in category

Joelle gave us a good travel tip to drive up to the village of Uchon and its summit to get a great view of the Morvan. It turned out to be spectacular as well as to give me a very good impression of the extent of territory controlled by the Aeduan tribe.

Like most French villages at 10.30 a.m. on a Sunday or 'dimanche', Uchon was sleeping. Instead of disturbing the peace by walking around the village, we headed straight up to the lookout. A few hiking tourists were already onsite- a series of granite boulders that looked out over one of the Burgundy valleys below. In the distance we could just make out Mont Beuvray (Bibracte oppidum), Mont Done and Mont Dardon which were two other Aeduan oppida that assisted them in controlling this territory.


When in Rome do as the Romans do; therefore, as most French begin their lunch break at 12.30 p.m and consequently close their doors, we decided to take a break too. We headed for Etang-sur-Arroux and we we're lucky to gain a table at Hostellerie du Gourmand. The restaurant was packed. It is run by a jovial Dutchman and his 'joliee' South African wife who prepared a meal fit for a Celtic feast: a buffet entree, 'canard' or 'poisson', a 'trois chocolat' dessert and coffee. We shared a table with an elderly French couple who had just finished a 66 kms 'velo' ride and with whom we managed to communicate despite the language barrier.

'Le canard' dish in cherry sauce

Chateau-Chinon is a unique town in that it has been restored as a whole town not in a piecemeal fashion as most towns experience here. Also, it has a special museum, Musee du Septennat. It houses the vast collection of diplomatic 'gifts' given to President Francois Mitterand. Golden camels racing across the Saudi Arabian desert, Japanese dolls and calligraphy along with African statues, Arabian swords and Mexian 'Aztec' plates greeted the awe-struck visitors. Although these items are out of historical and cultural context, they were still an impressive collection for one man!

A golden gift from Saudi Arabia

Another feature of Chateau-Chinon was a public fountain made by the same artists of the Pompidou Centre in Paris.

A fun fountain in Chateau-Chinon

The drive back through the Morvan National Park is always an uplifting one. Green, green and more green trees, pastures and hedges. We stopped for a short walk at 'Les Sources de l'Yonne'. Normally it takes an hour or so to walk to one of the sources of the Yonne River. There have been Celtic sanctuary sites found here like many river sources in France. A special platform had been built over the peat bog section so we walked along it and on some of the old medieval tracks.

A section of the bog had been cut away with a statue to highlight it.

The long and winding Celtic road to finish an eventful day!


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