Châteauneuf…the village in the sky


You know what they say about the best-laid plans of mice and men? No, I can’t remember the rest of the poem either – although I do know it was written in 1786 by Robert Burns and that rather than going awry, the schemes tended to gang aft a-gley…a phrase that I think has quite a ring to it.

Where was I? Yes, about to say that very often the best plans when on holiday are the ones that you don’t make. Accidental tourism we call it. It’s those finds and experiences that are the ones you talk about for years after.

Like Châteauneuf. It was raining heavily on our way into Beaune, so we missed it, but coming back later that afternoon we saw it – sitting high above the Burgundy Canal on its rocky spur.

This pic was taken from the car window – hence the poor resolution

Of course, we had to go up for a look.

Most Beautiful Villages in France

Châteauneuf – or Châteauneuf-en-Auxois – is a member of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France (The Most Beautiful Villages of France). There are 157 villages in the list, but that doesn’t take away from the sheer gorgeousness of this one. We loved it so much that we were this close to forfeiting our remaining two nights accommodation in Marigny-l’Église and finding a place to stay here.

The History

High on a hill between Dijon and Autun, Châteauneuf held a strategic position in the area. It was also ideally situated at the meeting point of three economic regions: the vineyards of the Beaune region; the timber and charcoal from the mountains; and the agriculture of the Auxois plains.

Trade flourished through the middle ages as wealthy Burgundian merchants, and members of the entourage of Philippe Pot, Governor of Flanders moved in.

The village was also a popular stop on one of the pilgrim paths took to go to Santiago de Compostela. I don’t think I would have welcomed the climb required to walk up here at the end of a long day walking – but that’s just me.

Today there are remnants of architecture dating back to the 14th century, although most of the oldest houses still intact are from the 15th century.

The Chateau

Châteauneuf is dominated by its 15th-century château. It’s one of those fairytale style castles with towers and keeps – the sort where you can imagine medieval maidens letting down their golden hair.

The Gardens

Oh, the gardens. Wisteria, lilacs, roses, tulips…everything was beautifully in bloom. There was a garden for sale, but hubby (quite unreasonably I think) said no.

Did I mention the lilacs? I decided then and there the title of my next novel The Lilac Queen – now I need to come up with a plot. That garden that was for sale, perhaps?

The Burgundy Canal

When hubby and I first came through this region 20 something years ago, we decided we’d return one day and do a canal cruise down the Burgundy Canal. Ok, so we haven’t done that yet, but we did drop in and have a look at it on our way back from Chateauneuf.

One day…

Burgundy Canal

It’s Lovin’ Life Linky time…

It’s Thursday, so it’s time to look for our happy and share it about a bit. The Lovin’ Life Linky is brought to you by Team Lovin’ Life: Deep Fried Fruit, DebbishSeize the Day ProjectWrite of the Middle50 Shades of Age,  and, of course, me.

25 Replies to “Châteauneuf…the village in the sky”

  1. It is the dates I see and shake my head. I would be “oh my, who walked here and what were they doing?”. I know in Australia we have a history that goes waaaaay back with our Aboriginal communities but in Europe you see buildings and paths and road…oh. It really does blow my mind. Travel is awesome in person but as I cannot do that (maybe one day or not) I welcome posts such as yours which show me and teach me a lot. Thanks Jo! Denyse x

    1. That’s exactly what I see in my head – the stories of who lived here & what they did. If I shut my eyes I can see the streets and the traders.

  2. Lovely village and photos, Jo. I saw similar medieval castle and towers dated back to 14th century in Tallinn, estonia. Working on that post hopefully for Sunday.

  3. So many chateaus and little castles all over the place in France and Europe – they seem so romantic until you go to one in the middle of a freezing cold spell (as we did). All that stone and poor heating systems – apparently they lived in one or two rooms for most of Winter in the good old days because it was the only place to stay warm. I’ll keep my little spot in the Aussie sun thanks 🙂

    1. Oh man, yes. We were last in the UK in December 2015 & boy some of those old places were flipping freezing. I remember visiting Castle Doune & getting back in the car to have a swig of whisky to warm back up. It gets so cold in the middle of France too…

    1. Thanks Sue. I always keep a travel journal so it’s fab each week going back through the pages and the notes.

  4. Another beautiful place in France Jo! That castle!! The towers make me instantly think of Rapunzel. And of course, being the nature nut that I am, those gardens make me swoon! The canal cruise sounds like a lovely idea! That is something I would love to do! #TeamLovinLife

    1. The gardens are glorious. There’s a medieval style one up there as well – pics weren’t great though – and it’s interesting even understanding the history & symbolism behind them.

    1. So many stories. Sometimes if you close your eyes you can see it bustling as it would have back then.

  5. Ahh such history and prettiness! There is so much to discover in France, and like you my writerly imagination would be wondering who trod these paths and what happened within these castle walls. Ohh, novelist you … a book please!

  6. I will be totally honest, I didn’t know France was just so beautiful. I have one girlfriend over there now walking the countryside. I have another 2 friends who have just been through France and I am loving the images.

  7. This would be where I’d want to visit if I was going to France – well, the sorts of places I’d want to visit! So stunning!

    I’m really behind with your recent posts so need to catch up even though I followed along at the time. xx

  8. It’s always good to have a few things on the ‘next time/one day’ list. Châteauneuf looks beautiful, no wonder you were tempted to stay in the area. But then again, so much of France looks like that.

Comments are closed.