Vanenesse lies in the shadow of the village of Châteuneuf which sports a castle has been casting it's shadow for more than six centuries and bears a sign which declares it to be officially "One of France's most beautiful villages".
Therefore, despite its own undoubted attraction, with babbling streams running past quaint hotels, and even its genuine French version of an English Tea Garden it was never really going to be the place we spent all of today. Instead, we breakfasted heartily (although perhaps in fariness no more heartily than usual) to fortify ourselves for the climb to the village itself.
Not for us the taxi ride up, (you know who you are!), or the air-conditioned comfort of the Hotel mini-bus, it was after all only a few kilometres away and a few hundred metres above us, and the day was sunny and warm. I mean sunny and quite warm. Perhaps warm verging on quite uncomfortably hot might be a better description, but none the less we struck out, the four of us, armed with hats, sunblock and water bottles to the very summit. We had a Chateau to explore!
When we arrived at the castle gates, a little red of face but surprisingly intact, ready to reap the reward for our effort, we were once again greeted by one of our favourite signs in all of France:
"Open every day"… excellent!
"Except on Mondays" …. of course!
Well if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for us we decided. We would close for the rest of the day too, and with that, we adjourned to the neighbouring restaurant where we had a jolly good time, pacing ourselves to ensure we had sufficient reserves to allow us to roll down the hill and sit under a shady tree to watch the changing light as the sun receded into the evening, to be replaced by the glow of the sunburn on Dave's neck and arms.