“Lost in France, the trip was afoot!”

Yes, my wife’s foot was a mess.

What provoked me to give her my used band-aid alludes me to this day, a lapse in judgement? an under done potato? perhaps it was just the French wine.

To be fare, my wife in her delirium, should take half the blame, since she accepted my unusual gift without issue.

In any event, before we headed out to “Semur en Auxois” we would need to make a small pitstop to the local pharmacy in order to get some proper bandages and polysporin.

As my wife limped into the pharmacy, I followed behind and went right up to the counter to ask the lovely French pharmacist what the best product was to help heal a foot, namely my wife’s.

Even though I screwed up on the band-aid ordeal, it should be noted that I spared no expense for my lovely wife relating to medical supplies, that’s just the kind of guy I am (plus I didn’t feel like dragging “hop along” all over France).

I tried to explain the situation but my French skills had not improved with the limited French emersion I had experienced thus far in France, so I reverted to my pointing skills, yet again.

I pointed to my wife’s foot and immediately saw the pharmacist’s eyes bulge and mouth drop open.

Oh non non non, ce n’est pas bon. Ce pied est très infecté, vous devez consulter un médecin

Even with my limited French, I knew that didn’t sound good.

She was telling us we needed to see a doctor.

It must be said that there is a misconception about French people being rude and arrogant. I will tell you that in our experience we met the most beautiful friendly people, without exception, the people were fantastic. This alone was one of the reasons we fell in love with France so much.

The pharmacist got on the phone and called around, I wasn’t sure why.

But after a few minutes, she grabbed my wife’s hand, walked us to the door, and kept walking up the street with us. It became clear that she was hand delivering us to a doctors office. Wow.

I have to say that I know there’s some great employees at Shoppers Drug Mart and Rexall here in Canada, but I’ve never witnessed this kind of service, it was unreal.

We saw the doctor, got some pills and bandages and before we knew it, we were on our way. The cost for the visit was next to nothing BTW.

Our first stop was the medieval city of Semur en Auxois, and it was something to behold.

It has a population of 4500 and is located to the west of the department of Côte-d’Or, in the heart of  Burgundy, half way between Paris and Lyon. The city is built upon granite, and encircled by the Armaçon river. Semur is located where the foothills of the Morvan, the plain of Chatillon and the surroundings of the region of Autun meet.

We kept stopping every 10 feet to take pictures because everywhere we looked there was something new and beautiful to see.

We stepped through one of the fortified doors that used to protect the city and took a stroll along the picturesque streets and pretty squares dotted with mansions and half-timbered houses.

The keep with four towers, including the most imposing one, the Orle d’Or tower, stands 44 metres tall and has 5 floors that are open to visitors, comprising a museum, a library, a technological collection and a conference room.

There’s no shortage of things to do in Semur.

After a quick bite at a local cafe, we needed to press on, we still had one more stop to make.

As we drove away from Semur we could not believe our luck at finding two of the most magnificent villages we’d ever seen, Chateauneuf and Semur…how lucky we were.

What awaited us in Flavigny-sur-Ozerain put our experience in this area of France through the stratosphere.

Flavigny-sur-Ozerain was an Auxois stronghold on which the Gallo-Roman period, the rise of Christianity in Europe and the royal power of the Renaissance have all left their mark.

Julius Caesar was thought to have set up one of his military camps on the hill before defeating the Gallic army at Alésia. Medieval walls began to be built in the 8th century around the Benedictine abbey.

In 1590 King Henri IV set up a parliament at Flavigny-sur-Ozerain to counter hostility in the assembly at Dijon. The charming narrow streets of Flavigny-sur-Ozerain wind past Medieval and Renaissance houses, today lovingly cared for by their devoted owners.

We went to the Abbey of Saint Pierre: recent archaeological activity has uncovered a hexagonal chapel and ambulatory in an extension to the Sainte-Reine crypt. There’s a lovely walk around the ramparts, with their machicolated gates and round towers, affording fine views of the Auxois hills.

The abbey is also the only place where famous Anis de Flavigny sweets are made and it enjoys Site Remarquable du Goût status. The sweets are available in a dozen different flavours, from blackcurrant to violet, and carry on a culinary tradition begun in the time of King Louis IX. The recipe for this natural product has remained unchanged since the 16th century!

One of the side streets looked familier to us in some strange way, like we had been there before. Deja-vu perhaps?

We discovered that we had in fact seen this area before in a movie called “Chocolat” with Johnny Depp!

We had such a blast. The history, the beauty, the people….was this a real place?

It would be our last stop in this part of France before we headed south.

They say that “travel broadens the mind”, for us tired Canadian traveler’s, no truer words were ever spoken.

Sadly we had to leave, but we knew that someday……we would be back.

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