Friday, April 28, 2017

More Villages in the Bugey

Thursday was a far more leisurely day than Wednesday had been, and a little bit colder.  Of course, I started the day with a walk to Favier Tradition, the boulangerie in town, to pick up breakfast items.  After breakfast we headed out for a short drive. I first had to find a place to get gas, which can be tricky in rural France, but I remembered from our last visit that there were self-service gas pumps at a grocery store just outside the larger town of Belley (particularly in rural France, most gas pumps are at large grocery stores and are self-service). We headed there and found it without any trouble.

We then drove through a number of small towns, stopping at Arbignieu and Conzieu, two tiny villages that we had visited two years ago.  By now it was getting close to lunch time, and we had decided to try a restaurant we had noticed on our last visit when we stopped to admire the impressive waterfall in Glandieu.  The restaurant is called La Cascade, after the waterfall that it faces.  La Cascade is very charming inside, and our meal was excellent. I even got to try a wine from Crépy, a nearby region that I’m barely familiar with.  Crépy is part of the Savoie AOC, and is a very small appellation. It’s very close to Switzerland, and, like the principal Swiss white wines, Crépy whites are made from the Chasselas grape variety.  After lunch, which lasted over 2 hours, we headed back to our gite.

We relaxed for awhile, then took a walk through Lhuis and stopped at the boulangerie again to pick up bread and pastries for later.  In the early evening we drove to the nearby tiny village of Groslee where the owner of our gite has his winery and had agreed to meet us at 6:00.  Patrick Charlin started his winery, Domaine Patrick Charlin, in 1980, in what was his family’s property. It’s a very small operation, but recently his wines were discovered by Becky Wasserman, an American who has lived in Burgundy for many years and who exports French wines to the United States. She was justifiably enamored with Patrick’s wines, and now exports some of them to the United States, probably in very small quantities.  Patrick poured us several reds and whites, and the wines were exceptional. We had had his Altesse the day we arrived when he stopped by and gave us a bottle, and we wound up buying as bottle to take with us. He also poured the current vintage of Mondeuse, the 2015, which was very good. He then brought out a 2006 Mondeuse which he had just opened, and it was exceptional; probably the best red wine we had had on the trip so far. We bought the 2015 Mondeuse, but Patrick also gave us the open bottle of the 2006, which we had with dinner. The last wine we tasted was a late harvest wine that was a blend of Chardonnay and Altesse, picked in November 2010, and we also bought a bottle of that.

When we returned to our gite we had a glass of sparkling wine from Le Cellier du Palais in Apremont, and a glass of Mondeuse Blanche from Caveau Bugiste.  We then decided to take a long walk through Lhuis and up into the hills above the village before heading back for a dinner of various cheeses from the Savoie that we had picked up yesterday, plus pastries from Favier Tradition in town.

Views of Lhuis

Friday morning I took my obligatory walk into town to pick up croissants and brioche. After breakfast we decided to take a drive high up into the hills about ½ hour from Lhuis. We first stopped in Montagnieu, a grape growers’ village that we had visited 2 years ago when we stopped at Domaine Peillot. We parked in the center of the village and took a short walk through the town.

We then headed towards a few sites that we wound up either not finding or not getting close enough to get a good view of, including an old private chateau off the road and a chartreuse, both of which I had read about that morning.  However, surprisingly we stumbled across a farm I had read about earlier and had hoped to find – Le Ferme Chasser, which raises pigs and sells pork products out of their small shop at the farm.  We stopped and bought a slice of their pork terrine, and a salami. We then continued on and stopped at the town of St.-Sorlin-en-Bugey, which we had visited 2 years ago. We parked in the center and took a stroll through the charming streets of the town, encountering a cat that was not particularly scared but also didn’t really want to be photographed.  After leaving St. Sorlin we drove back to our gite for lunch. With lunch we had the Chignin “Vielles Vignes” from Domaine Andre et Michel Quenard, which we had visited a couple of days earlier.

St. Sorlin and its Cat

After lunch we took another long walk into the countryside around Lhuis.  In the late afternoon we made the half hour drive to the town of Yenne in the Savoie.  We had stopped there a couple of years ago looking for a goat cheese producer, but everything was closed then and we never found it.  It looked like a charming town, so we decided to go back; we were also looking for the shop that made the ice cream we had tried in Chanaz earlier in the week.  This time Yenne was bustling, and we took a walk through the center of town, stopping to get some ice cream to bring back to our gite, as well as a Gateau de Savoie, a light cake that is a local specialty; the shop we bought it at bakes it the traditional way, in a wood-fired oven.


  1. Your posts make me really want to see that part of France, which I don't know at all. Is it snowing? I keep hearing reports of snow in that area.

  2. Perhaps the cat was in the Witness Protection Program?