Canal du Centre

Canal du Centre

Wednesday, June 8, 2022

Tournus, May 30-June 2


My last post I said there were only two locks on the Saone between Chalon-sur-Saone and Lyon. There are three. Sorry.

It was a little under 4 hours and no locks downstream to our next stop, Tournus. We were now in the heart of the Chardonnay region.

We visited here twice on our 2011 voyage, the second time during our return from the Seille River renting a car and touring around the countryside. It’s here,  here and here.

We had to make another turn around the Abbey of Saint Philibert and it’s crypt. What started out as a primitive oratory put up over the supposed tomb of Saint Valerian, an early Christian martyr, was expanded into a sanctuary for the monks of Saint Philibert, who escaped here in 875 fleeing the Normans. 

The facade with its hand cut stones dates from the 10th and 11th centuries .

Beneath the choir is the crypt, part of the original construction.

The real reason we stayed for three days, however, was because Tournus plays host to Aux Terrasses, a Michelin 1 star restaurant. After our disastrous experience in Chalon we decided we should treat ourselves. The price for lunch was very reasonable but there were no reservations available until Wednesday so we decided to hang around. The extra day also gave us a chance to revisit Les Vignerons de Mancey. We enjoyed our visit in 2011 and things haven’t changed. The short bike ride gave us a chance to stuff the wine locker with more of the local product.

Wednesday we showed up at the appointed hour at the restaurant and were escorted to our table. What followed was two hours of great food and excellent service.

There are no menu choices, just what the chef cooks, so we ordered the three course meal with wine parings. The wine choices gave us an opportunity to taste a couple local wines, including pouilly loché, a very small AOC that produces wines from the chardonnay grape similar to pouilly fuissé. After two amuse bouches, a cup of cold fish soup and then crackers and a small tart, the entree was a seafood salad with clams and crevettes, greens and a vinagrette. That was followed by a main course of filet du bar, a white fresh water fish, with fennel three ways; shaved, as a mousse and a battered and deep fried flower stalk. The fish was served on a cream sauce and the copper bowl held a cream, garlic, potato puree.

Following a palate cleanser of raspberry iced tea, more amuse bouches appeared, mimicking the previous ones, but these were sweet.

Little crackers with lemon cream and flowers

Dessert was a mixed fruit dish with a pastry crust and a sparkling granache rose. It was all very good and filling but we didn’t feel stuffed when we were done, just very satisfied.

Restaurant cravings handled, Thursday morning it was off to our next stop, the city of Macon. Once we passed the mouth of the Seille River, just 6 k downstream, we would be on new, to us, water!


  1. Just curious, and I know it was a special treat, but what did it cost to eat at the restaurant. You can email me if you don’t want to publish it here. I&L

    1. I don't mind putting it here 'cause it's on the website. Plus, we thought for what we got it was a very good value. 3 courses is €40 and with the wine paring €60. If we had it to do again, we'd ask for a reccomendation on the wine and buy a bottle. The Pouilly Loché we had with the main course was a revelation and we wished we'd had a whole bottle.


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