Thursday, June 2, 2016

Lake Kir and the Dijon Museum of Fine Arts

Yesterday on the wine tour we'd gone past Lake Kir, which looked quite scenic – so, I decided that what I'd today was was to get out to it and have a look around (as I may have already noted, while all these towns are beautiful and interesting, I did also like seeing what the countryside looked like), and also to go to the highly regard museum of fine arts.

The notoriously unreliable weather forecasts were predicting that it would either be sunny all day or sunny in the morning and raining in the afternoon. With that in mind I decided I'd do my outdoorsy stuff in the morning and then come back into town to do indoorsy stuff in the afternoon.

The public transport system in Dijon is excellent – trams, normal buses, those wee buses I took a picture of in my first post about being here. I think there might even be some trains to get you slightly further out as well, but I didn't see any of those. So, I consulted a map and found the best way to get to the lake was to catch a number 3 from Republic Square, just a few minutes walk from my B&B. Bought myself a couple of tickets (I reasoned that I needed one to get there and one to get back, and also that, although there were ticket machines around town, I couldn't be sure there'd be one wherever it was I was going to come back from, and I'd rather just buy one now and not have to have an awkward Franglish conversation with a bus driver later) and put them (electronically) on the short-term card I'd gotten when I bought the ticket for the tram ride from the train station, thus saving myself a few...whatever the hundredth unit of a euro is. Cents? Centimes? Meh.

Got off the bus at the appropriate stop – another helpful thing all the vehicles have is a monitor that displays the upcoming stop, stops further ahead, and other useful information – and set about finding the lake. I had been dropped halfway across a bridge in what looked like the middle of nowhere, but I knew it wasn't too far to go. And I was right; all I had to to was walk across the bridge and down around a corner and I found the walking path that led to the lake.

Picture time!

Um, this isn't near the lake, it's in town. Duh.

Actual near-the-lake shots start now.

The word 'limpid' comes to mind.


They've even built a little beach. People, not ducks. Well, presumably.


After doing a lap of the lake (and taking, as you've seen, a few pictures) I decided it was time to go back into town to get something to eat and then head to the museum. I must have just missed a bus because the next one took a while to come, but I got back into town quickly enough. Had lunch – a by no means healthy lunch of a giant chocolate and almond macaron and a frappuccino (not from a Starbucks, either – there aren't any in Dijon); I'd decided that I just wasn't getting the chance to eat enough pastry in France (I'm just not feeling that hungry at the right times, which is irritating), and I didn't have that much time left, so pastries for lunch was perfectly acceptable.

After a prolonged conversation with Rochelle back in Australia – this, for those who know, was when I first heard about the medical emergency that happened during opening night of Catch Me If You Can – I wandered off towards the museum. They're doing some major renovations to the outside of the building, so it was a bit difficult to work out where the damn entrances was; they've got signs everywhere about what they're doing, who's doing it, when it will be completed and so forth – but none of them actually telling you where the front door is.

Sign ambiguity/misinformation/absence has been a consistent them of my visit, sadly. And I'm someone who takes great comfort in signs. It's not unreasonable when you aren't the kind of person who can just ask random strangers for directions, even in a language you do speak.

Anyway, I got there eventually, via the café. Hired myself an audio guide and set to it. There was a lot of description on the audio, but it was mostly very interesting. So here's some of what's in there.


The artist was pretty subtle about making the soldiers forcing Jesus to carry the cross look bad.

Dude shaking hands with a zombie he rose from the dead. No, seriously.

No real significance to this; it's just a cool-looking door.

And that was the museum.

Then it was time to decide on what to have for dinner. I was tossing up between just getting some bread and cheese again – unsurprisingly, there are some fabulous boulangeries (bakeries) and fromageries (cheese shops) here – but I also wanted to drink some more local wine, but the only way to that if I did do cheese at home was to buy a bottle, and that was more than I wanted to drink in one sitting. I also wanted to try a pizza in France, since I was curious how they did them here. In the end wine won over cheese, and I opted for pizza.

I'd also realised that the way to avoid having to deal with the very off-putting (to me at least) tendency of French food places to have crowds outside was to get there early. Like, when they open - generally either 7 or 7.30. So, I picked out a likely place that had pizza on the menu and got there at 7 and got a table – and I was the first customer there. And, for a while, the only customer.

But I didn't care about that. I ordered a pizza and a carafe of local wine – a pinot noir from the Côte de Nuits, which I (happily) knew was an area I'd driven through the previous day on the wine tour. I'd ordered a capriciosa, which is the type of pizza that I have in Australia – there it has ham, salami, mushrooms and olives (preferably kalamata); here it had ham, mushrooms and olives and, very strangely, egg. I wasn't sure how they'd integrate egg into it, but I thought I'd give it a try nonetheless. When it appeared it had a fried egg in the middle – so that answered that.

Not sure what happened to the olives, but there weren't any – I only noticed about halfway through and by then I didn't care that much. It was a great pizza (even with the egg) because all the ingredients were super-fresh, the sauce was tasty and the mozzarella probably the best I'd had on a pizza – not really all that surprising given the high cheese standards in France. And the wine was really good as well; I think I have to get hold of more pinot noir when I get back to Australia and see how I feel about it. It's not a wine I dislike, per se, it's just I've never had any that's made me keen to make it a regular.

Had some cheese – wasn't great cheese – and bread (not great either; that amazing stuff I had in Rouen has, I think, biased me somewhat) and then trudged back to the B&B to pack.

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