One of the points of going on the trip to the Bourbonnais, with a day trip to Beaujolais, was to get Tasha the Sheltie puppy used to traveling around in the car and spending nights in new, unfamiliar surroundings. Another was just for us: it was a break from the low-grade cabin fever we'd been suffering from. We'd had a very rainy and dismal winter, I then had to make a emergency trip to the U.S. because my mother was dying. Also, Walt and I both had very bad colds that lasted for more than a month.
Going to see the Beaujolais region, which we'd somehow never visited before, turned out to be a great way to spend one of the very few sunny and mild days of this hiver horrible. I was glad to be outside all day. I wanted to see new sights and enjoy driving around in the Citroën. I wanted the feeling of freedom that had been missing from life for a few months, and I needed to breathe fresh air.
Beaujolais was not at all what I personally expected it to be. I imagined it green and hilly; it turned out to be more brown and almost mountainous. It wasn't better or worse, but just different from what I had imagined. The vineyards cover fairly steep east-facing hillsides running down to the Saône River, and off in the distance you can see the snow-covered Alps. That surprised me.
Régnié-Durette, where we picnicked at noon and I took these photos, is at about 300 meters of elevation — a thousand feet — if I'm reading the map correctly. There was a festive atmosphere in the middle of the village (pop. 1,000), which was neat and clean. A little carnival with bumper cars and other attractions was set up on the square in front of the church.
People working the carnival were preparing their mid-day meal and getting ready to sit out on the little front porches of their trailers to eat and drink. There was a clothesline behind the church, just a few meters from our picnic table, and people were drying their laundry. A young woman came to take some dry clothes in and wished us a cheerful Bon appétit ! as we ate our sandwiches and enjoyed a glass of the Régnié red wine.