Please note: my Mum and I were guests of Abbaye de la Bussière, and our stay was complimentary for the purpose of review. All opinions expressed are my own.
I woke up bright and early on my first morning at the Abbaye de la Bussière, and it was a joy to watch the dawn sky slowly turning from lavender to pale pink to blue over the beautiful gardens of the hotel.
Despite our incredible meal the night before, we all trotted down for breakfast, sniffing appreciatively at the scents of coffee and freshly baked pastries mingling in the air.
Breakfast at the Abbaye de la Bussiere
Breakfast was held in a small dining room, which had a cosy feel with copper pans gleaming from the walls and exposed timber beams. We ordered our hot drinks (the coffee came in beautiful silver pots) and nibbled at the freshly baked pastries that arrived in a little basket for our table. I’m getting hungry thinking of those pastries again – the mini pain au chocolat was my favourite – absolute heaven!
The food was laid out buffet style in a beautiful hallway just off the dining room. There was an incredible selection of hot food (traditional English breakfast fare – sausages, bacon, eggs, mushrooms etc, as well as boiled eggs and pancakes) and a tempting display of cold delights too, including the typical cold cuts, fresh fruit and cheese for a continental breakfast.
I went for some featherlight pancakes, plum yoghurt and a glass of grapefruit juice.
It was all delicious, and we felt exceedingly lucky to be starting a Monday morning in such a luxurious manner!
A Walk and Bike Ride
After our breakfast, we decided to explore the grounds of the hotel a little more thoroughly than we had the previous afternoon. The Abbaye provides bicycles for guests to use, and I had a little pedal around their gardens. My Dad was more adventurous and cycled along one of the suggested routes, which follows a canal path through the countryside. He said it was a lovely ride, especially on such a perfect blue-sky day.
Mum and I went for a walk around the lake, through the gardens, and alongside a crumbling old wall that twisted its way along a hillside that rose above the Abbaye. We’d brought our books with us and spent a peaceful time quietly reading in the autumnal sunshine.
After our pleasant morning walk, it was time for Mum and I to head back to the Abbaye to meet Julie, who works for the hotel and who had very kindly offered to take us for a drive in her adorable vintage car. We waved goodbye to my Dad, who had settled down on a chair by the lake with a book, and made our way to Reception to meet Julie.
A Drive Through the Vineyards
Nicknamed la Grenouille (‘the Frog’), Julie’s Citroen 2cv is available to rent from the hotel, and a drive through the vineyards in such a gorgeous car makes for a memorable outing. Fellow drivers and pedestrians smiled and waved at us as we chugged along the roads, and I felt like I’d travelled back in time by a few decades!
I was utterly awed by the beautiful views of Burgundy’s famous vineyards which Julie drove us through on our way to Beaune. She very kindly stopped the car several times so I could get the perfect Insta shot. I was awed by the spectacular scenery and felt blessed to be seeing Burgundy for the first time in such glorious autumnal weather. The colours of the vineyards, with their changing leaves, were astonishing. I wish I could paint them, but being useless at art, I make do with photographs.
Julie moved from Britain to France several years ago, and it was marvellous to get all her insider tips to the area. She organises wine tours in the region, and I hope I get to go on one someday when I travel back to Burgundy. Julie suggested we drive through her home village, Pernand-Vergelesses, which is generally considered to be one of the prettiest (and most unspoilt) villages in the Cote d’Or. I can see why! The above photo is from a viewpoint above the vineyards, looking down on Pernand-Vergelesses. Picture postcard perfect!
A Tour of Beaune
Julie also took us to Beaune, which is about a 30 minute drive from the Abbaye and is a must visit if you’re ever in the area. Beaune is a town literally, as well as figuratively, built on wine. Old wine cellars lie beneath many of the buildings, wine shops flank the streets, and a famous wine auction is held every November at the Hospices de Beaune.
I loved the town’s beautiful golden stone buildings, pale shutters and tranquil atmosphere.
We didn’t have too long to spend in Beaune, but Julie pointed out the main sights and suggested a place for us to go to lunch the next day, when we were returning with my Dad on the way back to Geneva. I’ll blog about that return trip soon!
Supper in the Bistro Restaurant
After our drive, we met my Dad for pre-dinner drinks on the hotel terrace and told him all about our adventures. For supper that evening, my Dad treated us to a meal in the Abbaye’s Bistro des Moines restaurant. The Bistro is more casual than the hotel’s 1311 restaurant, but it still has a fabulous menu, and the setting is also beautiful, with warm red accents and a polished wood floor.
We all went for the 3 course set menu, and I chose duck foie gras, followed by trout with chard and seasonal vegetables and a melting chocolate fondant for dessert. I love fish, so even though I’d had trout the night before, I couldn’t resist ordering it again! My Mum went for a traditional boeuf bourguignon and my Dad ordered grilled ham, served in a cream sauce with mushrooms, pasta shells and vegetables.
We sipped some lovely Burgundian white wine, and our waiter brought round a little platter of nibbles (charcuterie and slices of brioche) as we waited for the first course to arrive.
The food was excellent, as always, and the hotel surprised me again with another treat for my birthday, which was a very gracious gesture. Our after dinner drinks were also accompanied by a dish of gingerbread and blackcurrant jam cakes. A perfect end to a fabulous day!
Abbaye de la Bussière, Burgundy, France
Room rates at Abbaye de la Bussière are from 225 Euros (approximately £200) per room, per night. For further information and for reservations, please visit www.abbayedelabussiere.fr/en. You can also email firstname.lastname@example.org, or call +33 3 80 49 02 29
Rental of La Grenouille (Julie’s car) may be arranged for those with a valid driving license. Simply contact the hotel prior to arrival.
For my other posts about Burgundy, see here.