Perched on a hilltop as all the quaint medieval towns are, Mont Saint Jean makes a lovely home base for exploring the Burgundy region west of Dijon and Beaune, each about 35 miles away. A small village of mostly restored houses serving as second residences of well-to-do Parisians, there are few services – a post office with sparse hours, a nice restaurant, Le Medieval, and an up-scale B&B, Les Roches. But don’t except to find that great boulangerie just down the street with your fresh morning pain au chocolat. That’s 20 minutes away in Pouilly-en-Auxois or Saulieu where you will also find supermarkets and other shops. As in most of the region, a waning population has lead to a decline in local services in smaller villages.
We spent two weeks at la Maison du Pigeonnier, one of the beautifully restored old stone residences with bucolic views of the hillside beyond and the white Charolais cows glowing in the late evening sun. The rustic style house has large open rooms on three floors and a partially covered terrace just off the kitchen. Plenty of space for a family or two couples traveling together. The kitchen is reasonably well equipped with tons of counter space.
Mont Saint Jean get its fair share of tourists for its small sites, the castle above and the archeological site, Grange du Mont, about 2 miles outside of town. There is also a well maintained golf course, Golf Club de Château de Chailly, 15 minutes away in Chailly-sur-Armançon. In late June the course was virtually empty during the week. Three out of the four times we played we felt like we had the course to ourselves. The other time, one Thursday, they were having a tournament which made the course unusually busy.
During our stay the weather was unpredictable, gorgeous sunny day with mild temperatures sandwiched between cold rainy days and scorching hot days with temperatures approaching 100°. The bottom floor of the stone house, the kitchen, stayed rather chilly until the hot days warmed up the stone. The warmer evenings were beautiful on the terrace and the temperatures always cooled down at night.
Puilly-en-Auxois Friday Afternoon Market – Visited this market on the first Friday in July. Very small with one fish monger, one cheese stand, two produce options, a butcher stand with mostly beef and charcuterie products and a honey purveyor. No dry goods.
Saulieu Saturday Market – Visited this market on the first Saturday in July. A lively market with interesting local purveyors – chickens, hams, beer, live trout and meringue, to name a few, along with the usual produce, cheese and bread. Included a small wine bar with locals enjoying the warm morning with a chilled white. A selection of dry goods dominates the western edge of the market.
For links to all the posts in this series see the Burgundy page.