A week in the Rhone
Posted by Mark Armstrong 14th May 2012
2 weeks ago I took the opportunity to visit my brother William, High Point Holiday's founder and walking leader, and his family in Gleize, France; swapping the Somerset showers for the milder climes and certainly much drier area of the Rhone.
It is that journey which has enabled me to share this trip with you, as part of the week I was to take a closer look at the workings of the Company website as well as look at some of the areas where William takes guided walking holidays. Also he was able to share first-hand how these holidays are created with the detailed walking notes and his relationship with the guest house proprietors.
On my first day in France we ventured into Villefranche-sur-saone (founded in 1212 by Guichard IV, count of Beaujeu, and became in the 14th century the capital of the Beaujolais province) and walked the length of the long high street (Rue Nationale) which features many Renaissance houses that are highlighted with signs posted along the pavement. After lunch sat outside (the main street is littered with cafes and bars), we headed into the countryside.
As we climbed out of Villefranche we came to Janioux. Ville-sur-Janioux is part of the unique Pierres Dorees (golden stone) group of villages in the Beaujolais. The buildings were built from a local limestone rock that is naturally tinted with iron oxide, giving it a distinctive colour. We did a short circular walk around the village looking at some of its old and unusual buildings including the traditional communal wash house before heading out and up to Oingt, perched on a hill and surrounded by the Beaujolais vineyards. Oingt has far-reaching views from across the Azergues valley and southern Beaujolais region and has interesting streets to explore. We witnessed one of the local artisans on a handloom making garments for sale in her shop before heading to a bar for a refreshing beer in the late afternoon sun.