Having spent the morning soaking up the sun and lounging by the River Loeue, our day had a later start than usual. Also, knowing we had to get to Geneva that evening, as we had planned to visit my brother for a couple of days, meant our stop off in Arbois was a quick one – a chance to stretch our legs and enjoy a different town to break up the journey.
The drive was beautiful, fast rolling roads through French countryside. The sun was beating down on the fields and the houses had a somewhat baked appearance in the summer haze. As we entered Arbois the fields gave way to the small town, nestled in the rolling green and looking very picturesque. The streets were lined with traditional style houses, 2 – 3 storeys with shutters of varying hues. Many had vines growing up the outside and some had window boxes displaying an array of multi-coloured flora – it was all quite quaint and perfect.
We had lost track of the day of the week but were fairly sure it was’t the weekend, so we were surprised to see this little place so buzzing and alive (which made us check – it was a Wednesday!) Every café and bistro was full. The tables, which spilled out on the pavements in their usual fashion, were filled with chatting couples and groups. A small amount of traffic trundled through the fairly narrow streets. Everywhere we looked people were going about their day, and seemingly quite happy about it too.
Making our way through the main street (walking now, having deposited the van on a quiet backstreet), we navigated the roundabout style junction, which had cars going in every direction around a fountain placed right in the middle, and headed towards the tourist info centre. We got talking to a lovely lady who was very helpful and gave us a map of the area and suggested a walk for us to do with our limited time in Arbois.
The walk was perfect, the beginning and end saw us strolling through the quiet backstreets of the town. Making our way along the path between the houses, all was quiet, with only the occasional person out in the sunshine, tending to their garden, all of which seemed to be bursting with life and colour. We broke out of the houses and started climbing along the edge of a vineyard. The squat trunks of the vines stood in neat rows, their gnarly branches stretching out along the wires, thin fingers clawing towards the neighbouring tree’s. The leaves were out but looked young still, their soft greens vibrant in the sunshine.
We kept climbing until we came to a small observation/storage tower at the top of this set of fields. We sat in the shade of the tower, the long grass moving gently in the hot breeze, and we looked down over Arbois. It looked tiny from this vantage point and we really got to appreciate the beauty of the rolling countryside that surrounded us.
We descended by a slightly different route, following a low red brick wall and enjoying the cool of a small tunnel cut through a section of shrubby trees. As we passed the rows of vines their lines stretched out either side of us, appearing both neat and unwieldy at the same time. It wasn’t long before we were stepping off the grass and making our way back through the slumbering houses, and ultimately back to the van.