Epic Drive 2017 Day 1: Arrivals, Foie Gras, & Wine Wars

By Karen

Hotels reviewed in this article: Château de Courban & SPA Nuxe, Hostellerie de Levernois

We landed Saturday morning at London Heathrow after a 10-hour over-night flight. You’ve got to love BA’s Arrival lounge – there’s nothing better than a few double expresso’s and a hot shower to make you feel human again and to acclimate a 6 hours time zone change.

After picking up the F40 from it’s ‘hotel’, we stopped half way between London and Burgundy in a charming home, turned boutique hotel:

Château de Courban & SPA Nuxe
7, rue du Lavoir Le Château
21520 Courban fr
+33 (0)3 80 93 78 69
Karenable rating: 🍾🍾🍾🍾

located on the outskirts of a tiny farming community. When we were told to park out back, we looked at each other and thought we are in the middle of no-where and were not sure about this. As we pulled around to the back, we were relieved with the neighbors: a few Lamborghini’s and other Ferrari’s.

It constantly amazes me to find these gem places in the middle of France. Maybe not Michelin starred but it seemed like they were aspiring to it. Champagne and h’orderves on the terrace around their infinity pool at sun set was a delightful way to end the drive from London and start the France leg of trip. Dinner was exceptional. The presentation was as gorgeous as the food. Fresh Flowers on every table, crisp white linens, silver, crystal and porcelain. Gourmet food is clearly the top priority in France. Breakfast was equally delightful.

Rested and well fed, we were off to Beaune to meet everyone at the Relais & Chateau’s hotel:

Hostellerie de Levernois
Rue du Golf
F-21200 Levernois
Tél. +33 3 80 24 73 58
Karenable rating: 🍾🍾🍾🍾🍾

This is one of those gourmet restaurants with rooms. One of our Swiss friends has been telling us about this place for years. He and his wife frequent it a few times a year for an exquisite meal to celebrate life, birthdays, anniversaries.

The vast manicured grounds meet you at the entrance of the property and follow along-side you all the way to the front of the hotel (and beyond). If you look closely, you will find elegant lawn furniture tucked discreetly in under trees to laze in the shade and read a great book or just be.

SSO clocked their outdoor terrace – perfect as we had not had lunch yet and didn’t want a full-on lunch as we knew we had dinner reservations in their Gourmet Restaurant.

The waiter told us there was no lunch menu per say on the Terrace but he would see what he could do for us. In the meantime, I enjoyed un coup de Champagne. ‘Do for us” turned out to be some local foie gras and jambon.

In the distance you could hear the roar of the other supercars arriving. We knew SSO’s brother had borrowed a Porsche GT3 (they had to get luggage to fit) but we weren’t sure what our Swiss friends would be arriving in. Pulling up the drive behind the Porsche GT3 was a Porsche Caymen GTR and a Ferrari 575. The 3 cars trundled down the stone lane, through a narrow, green hedge tunnel to the parking lot. Impressive line-up – the camera’s were flashing (not just ours).

The gang joined us. They preferred to compare the local Chassagne-Montrachet and Puligny-Montrachet so I joined suit. Reconnecting after a couple of years, there was a lot to talk about. Lots of laughs, lots of Montrachet, lots of pictures. The afternoon slipped away from us and it was suddenly time to get ready for dinner.

We met in their bar, in the background there was someone playing a grand piano. How elegant. We asked the waiter to bring the wine menu as SSO’s brother, while not a sommelier, could be and loves pouring over the wine binders. Despite the teasing, in all seriousness, his cellar back in the US could give any of these cellars a run for their money. The story-telling and laughter continued. Great friends and family are a key ingredient to a great life.

Our table was ready in the understated but a very elegant dining room. The Chefs and their immaculate kitchen were in view of our table which added to the ambiance that evening. The food was outstanding. It’s incredible the pride of the Owners, the Chefs and the Staff. We met them all & enjoyed their comments, stories and recommendations throughout the courses of dinner.

In addition to fine wines, another passion of SSO’s brother is French Cheese. That’s a bit of an issue as SSO cannot even stand the smell of cheese. So over time we have set ‘rules’: no more than 15 minutes discussing and making his cheese selection and no more than 15 minutes to enjoy it. And so the tradition continues.

After a wonderful evening, we took a stroll through the manicured park enroute back to our room. The moon was shining brightly guiding our way. When we got back to our rooms, the Relais & Chateau evening service had done its thing: Bed turned down, water at each side of the bed, fresh fruit plate and of course, the towels all refreshed, a spritz of lavender filled to air to ensure a good night’s sleep.

Next Up – Day 2: Bourgogne to Bordeaux: From Beaune to Chades Aigues with a Ferrari F40 in distress……

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May 2018

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