A decided crispness to the air has settled in. Whilst the sun is still out regularly, it’s genuinely cold, with nights slipping into single digits more frequently than not. Autumn’s golden display continues, lending an artistic feel to the country scenery.
Surprisingly, most of leaves still cling to the trees. This close to winter, I thought we’d have bare branches.
We’re off to see the nearby Les Plus Beau Village of Oingt today. I’ve nicknamed it “Oinkt” and amuse myself endlessly on the drive there. Chris, perhaps less so.
Oingt sits in the heart of Beaujolais, picture pretty in golden stone, rendered its colour from a rich iron oxide content.
The village sits on a ridge above an ancient Roman road between Loire and Saone. Once a Roman castrum (military camp), in the year 1,000 the Oingt Lords built a castle and chapel here, adding a keep in the 12th century. Today, it’s the Musuem.
Oingt came into its own in the Middle Ages, when the village grew. At the other end of the village sits the 13th century fortified Nizy Gate from this time. Sadly, its drawbridge no longer exists.
It’s oh so very cold, I’m really regretting leaving Fluffy* home and have to settle for a brisk pace to keep warm. We lap the perimeter, climbing up what was once the defensive wall to visit the church which dates back to 1660, built upon the earlier chapel.
It’s such a pretty village, the golden stone offset beautifully with coloured shutters and touches of green.
Both sides of the village offer stunning views across Beaujolais vineyards, the Lyonnaise mountains and the Azergues valley.
We find an historic grape press at the end of our walk. Operated by a rope turning mechanism, it was aided by the weight of a man balanced atop the press. I love these old world tools, ingeniously built with local materials. Necessity is truly the mother of invention.
We take ourselves off towards our next village in the late afternoon, heading north west, into Burgundy. The morning’s cold turns into rain, rendering the passing countryside into an impressionist landscape. Low cloud and mist set in, white cows dot the fields occasionally.
We don’t quite make it to our next village. Instead I’m distracted by Chateau de la Clayette and we stop for a further look.
It might have to wait until morning though – this rain isn’t going anywhere and it’s too toasty inside to step out to brave the rain.
We’re back in range of UK satellite TV and while away the late afternoon watching favourite shows. David Attenborough’s Blue Planet is on, which is excellent. The ads are full of Christmas, leaving me alternating between being a little homesick and a little sad our trip is in its final weeks. All good things must end, I guess.
*Fluffy: a favourite coat, needless to say, with a fluffy hood. Very cozy and rather missed at present. Especially when I debated packing Fluffy then decided against it.
PS:. Spotted this well organised pile of stakes on the way out of Oingt. I guess if the vampire apocalypse comes, this guy is set…😂