HARDLY a right angle to be seen in the Place du Champ Jacquet in Rennes, the capital of Brittany. Photo: David Burke

A bucket list road trip

Part 2: From Oberammergau, the long road back through France

FOLLOWING our attendance at the Oberammergau Passion Play in southern Germany, we travelled back via Liechtenstein and Switzerland. Our only stop in that notoriously expensive country was in Zurich, to visit the grave of James Joyce, his wife Nora Barnacle, their son Giorgio and Giorgio’s wife.

The nearest French city after the Swiss border was Mulhouse, and so we headed down the A35 motorway.

Day 11. Sunday Oct 2: Mulhouse is not the most attractive of French cities, but the hotel is of good quality and value and we’ve had a Breton meal the night before. Geographically inappropriate, perhaps, but the crèpe was stuffed with sauerkraut. This city has been under alternations of French and German rule over the centuries.

Our lunch stop is Besançon, the capital of the French watch and clock industry until quartz came along in the 1970s. This revolution presaged the wider disruption unleashed by information technology and social media three decades later.

The excellent Museum of Time is in the town’s oldest building, a Renaissance mansion. It holds not only vintage timepieces but classical paintings expressing the fleeting nature of life and metaphysical ponderings on time and the universe.

A version of Foucault’s pendulum, which proved the rotation of the earth, is housed in the tower and controls an electronic display at ground level.

Besançon’s tradition of precision instrumentation continues today, albeit in the digital environment.

Our stop for the night is Beaune, capital of the Burgundy wine industry. Vintages from names like Gevrey-Chambertin, Aloxe-Corton and Meursault are on offer at eye-watering prices in the local restaurants and the well-heeled clientele is reflected in the boutiques, art galleries and wine cellars of the town.

Our palates not being tuned to the finer aspects of le vin du pays, we hold off on purchasing until closer to the ferry.

But we enjoy a night-time wander around the charming core of this ancient centre, where wine, its production and sale has been supreme since the 16th century.

Day’s run is 260 km.

For more, check out this week’s Tuam Herald or log onto our digital edition HERE.