A tour guided by the hunchback of Burgundy


A little bit frustrated that the entire morning we only found closed doors at châtaux and abbeys, we arrived on a walk in the village of Chambertin. The local castle/winefarm had also tours without appointments, so we gave it a try. A bell with a thick cord had to be rung to indicate our presence at a small gate.

The bell rang but only silence followed. The place looked very deserted and we already wanted to leave when all of a sudden a door opened behind us and a tourguide I did not expect at all descended. "Vous voulez faire la visite?" he asked and I must honestly admit that there were some seconds of doubt in my mind. In front of me I stood a hunchback whose face I could not see and whose mumbling I could hardly understand. This was not at all the castle's son or daughter I had expected who'd proudly start explaining their excellent wineyards in a marketing approved manner in order to end with a tasting to get some sales going.

As soon as I could say "oui", he waved to follow him and so we did. He strongly smelled like earth and grapes and ... and we surely had to get used to his talking. It is very very strange to get a tour by someone whose face is invisible and who seemed to be poking in his eye unstoppingly as if he needed to keep it open with his finger. And he didn't walk very smoothly either, and it did not seem to be cause by his rubber boots. When leading us up the stairs, Jan thought at one point that he would stop breathing.

The tour was not about the vineyards but about the history of the castly where he now seemed to live: the furniture, the old floors, the tiles, the windows, the ruins of disappeared towers, .... I must admit it ended up being more interesting than I first thought and the tower had a nice view. In the end I was happy to have had the tour of the hunchback of Burgundy.

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