We arrived here at our gite in Burgundy 3 days ago - it's just south of Auxerre, a large town within striking distance of Paris by rail. The village is called La Cour Barree, just lovely, and the gite is right on the Nivernais canal and the Yonne river. It's an 18th century cottage that's been done up, not flash but quite delightful and perfectly adequate. Temperatures have been sitting at 25C- 30C since we arrived, and for many weeks apparently. I'm loving the heat after British Columbia especially where we were driving through snow over the mountains.
We've been to this area before, loved it then and have already fallen in love with it again; really looking forward to exploring it in more depth. It's peaceful, people are friendly and our landlords (English) are really nice and very helpful - they've lived here for almost 30 years, so they are a mine of local knowledge - and can help with our abject attempts at pronunciation! The landscape here is rolling hills, lots of which are covered in forest but it also produces grain, is the centre of the cherry growing industry and of course the biggest industry is wine. The town of Chablis is only 20 km away from where we are (we have a lease car) so we visited there on Sunday - market day. Cherries! Red currants! and almost any fresh produce you can think of, including barrow loads of globe artichokes. Vezelay (very famous and gorgeous town, starting point for the Crusades and also for the pilgrim trail to Santiago del Compostella, etc... ) is about 50 km away.
We also managed to fit in a visit to another market in the village next to ours, just across the bridge. It was an Empty Your Attic' market and stretched for at least 2 km along the river bank and through the streets. Fascinating, full of gorgeous antiques and outdoor furniture and just about anything else you can imagine. We bought two bikes there, 12 and 30 Euro respectively, and couldn't believe our luck. We also visited Bailly and Vermenton, places we've been to before - the Cave de Bailly is so interesting, built into limestone cliffs (blocks of which were used to build Paris) and was used to hide planes during the war. Then it grew mushrooms and now it is a huge wine storage area, mainly for one of the local specialties - Crement, a champagne in all but name and price as only champagne from Champagne can use that description, and it's strictly controlled.I hope to have photos available soon, I'm having problems with the internet connection at the moment, hopefully it will be sorted soon.
Map source credit - http://www.bargecompany.com/LaChouetteItinery.htm