Churches of Beaujolais:
The last two days were spent cycling through Beaujolais. As I was riding along I was struck by the variety of church styles, colors, shapes and sizes. The first ones I saw as I left Lyon were a gray granite and reminded me of churches in the midwest. As I got further into Beaujolais the choice of stone became an amazing yellow. I don't think I've ever seen that color in stone before. The churches in small towns were, of course smaller than ones in large town. One town had a church with a sort of porch on the front. The one in Villefranche had gargoyles. Some were of Romanesque architecture, others Gothic and others more modern.
But my favorite church of the day, isn't a church anymore. In Julienas, an old Romanesque church has been converted to a wine tasting room. Inside there are story boards showing the grape growing and wine making process through the seasons. But best of all are the paintings on the wall behind the tasting area. It contains a huge mural of Bacchus holding one of his famous (or infamous) parties. The wine is flowing, the people are happy and not all of them still have their clothes on! How's that for a church!
For those that only know Beaujolais for the cheap crap sold in November after it ferments for all of 15 minutes, give a cru Beaujolais a try. These wines are the best the area has to offer and some are worthy of storage for several years. Today I passed through the cru appellations of Brouilly, Morgon, Julienas and St. Amour.
I also had an interesting lunch experience. I've been picnic-ing often, but today was cold and I wanted a hot lunch. I saw a restaurant in a small town and headed in. The only option was the 4-course lunch (including wine and espresso, of course). There were two choices of starters, two choices of main dishes, two choices of cheese, and then a dessert list was brought on a blackboard that must have had at least a dozen items. Oh, and the whole thing cost about $14! Only in France!!