France ~ A tale of two cities

Wednesday, July 29th ~ Tournon and Tain L’Hermitage

Looking across the Rhone River toward Tournon

Looking across the Rhone River toward Tournon

Two cities facing each other, claiming opposite sides of the Rhone River. In the heart of the Côtes du Rhône, the twin cities of Tournon and Tain L’Hermitage are an ideal destination for connoisseurs of fine wine.

And that is about it.

Well, that is not completely true. There is also a famous local chocolate that can be purchased at Valrhona Chocolates

The famous wines of the area include Côtes du Rhône, Saint Joseph and Crozes-Hermitage Wines. These wines are produced from Syrah grapes.

I wish I could say that being a wine expert described me, but sadly the quality and tasting experiences we have enjoyed at each meal has been wasted on this poorly developed palate. I chill, I aerate, I swirl, I sniff, I look for legs, I try special glassware, and the results are quite unscientific, rather embarrassing and often futile.

I simply like what I like.

And please forgive me – a bottle of “Two Buck Chuck” will usually be just fine. That said, I did find a wonderful red wine in Romania a few years back that I really loved and went to the extreme (for me anyway) effort of contacting the winery to see if it was sold anywhere in the USA. It was not.

We have a well-educated and joyful sommelier (wine steward) on board the SS Catherine who each evening tries to enlighten us about each wine carefully selected to enhance the evening meal. Thankfully, there are much more skilled lovers of fine wine on this cruise, so the $50 a bottle offerings were not totally wasted.

One of the great perks of this cruise is that the drinks are included, so for any lovers of fine wine, you might be in heaven!

Our sightseeing today included a walking tour in Tournon, wine tasting in Tain L’Hermitage, and time to explore the chocolate factory for as long as we wished.

Here are a few of my pictures from the day: 

The SS Catherine

The SS Catherine

The wooden Marc Sequin Bridge connects both cities

The wooden Marc Sequin Bridge connects both cities

Looking across the Rhone River toward

Looking across the Rhone River toward Tain L’Hermitage

This character posed for me as we walked across the bridge

This character posed for me as we walked across the Marc Seguin Bridge

Wine is aged in oak barrels

Wine is aged in oak barrels

Gratitude Moment: Although I may not be able to discern the difference between a Syrah, or a Pinot Noir, I more than make up for it with an appreciation for gourmet, healthy, fresh meals. I’m grateful for that!

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About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
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8 Responses to France ~ A tale of two cities

  1. Mike Alesko says:

    Joanne, the wonderful thing about wine is that it can be enjoyed on many levels. Believe me, it’s great to simply “like what you like.” Also, the price of a wine is not necessarily at all an indicator of its quality, but rather often that it has gotten a name and the producers will charge what they can. In general a high priced wine has cost no more to produce than a lesser known and lower priced one. I was in a weekly tasting group for years with true wine experts, most of them vintners, wine merchants, etc. Our tastings were always blind, with six bottles, followed by voting, then unmasking. Often the least priced wInes would be chosen over ones priced several times higher. All that being said, do enjoy the fine French wines, and don’t worry about the more refined steps of wine tasting. Just follow these four steps: (1) Pour. (2) Raise glass, (3) Drink heartily from the glass. (4) Repeat frequently. ..,


  2. kalison0515 says:

    I’m going to explore your posts on France, Belgium, and Amsterdam. I’m going there next month.


  3. Love the oak barrel photos!


  4. Carla Hill says:

    What river Cruise is this in top picture?


    • That was a Uniworld Cruise. They are a bit more pricey, but exceptional quality. The food, daily excursions, linens, and staff are all top notch. Highly recommend them. We have also taken a Viking River Cruise and a Gate 1 River Cruise. We also enjoyed them, but they do not compare in quality to Uniworld IMHO.


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