Bedding Down in Abbey Land

Like a good and very old Burgundy wine, the Abbaye de la Bussière – a Relais & Chateaux luxury stay tucked in the forested and canal-side folds of the Côte-d’Or – just keeps getting better and better.

Luxury and yet so spiritual.  The inimitable luxury that comes with such tremendous spirit of place, condensed in bottle loads into every pore of the Abbey’s building and grounds.


As I said on my twitter account as I geared up to the stay – my second in seven years – “the joy of returning is too much to bear” – and it was! Are you surprised getting a glimpse of this?

It’s just one of those one-off to the point of almost indescribable hotels which you have to wade through up to your waist at every instant in order to take it all in. Absorb its multifold magic.

Such historic hotels stay etched on the mind forever. Those first impressions were reinforced and  intensified thousands fold on this trip.


You simply can’t take in such a place on a fleeting one night visit as it were in 2009.  Much of this stay as the last was seen with my eye glued to a lens, but a rather upgraded lens at that.

Julie (8)

Cupcake, Joseph and I were hosted in the new Sister Suites  – that is we bedded down (shock horror) with the soeurs.

Julie (4)






The ‘outhouse’ suites  are far more country style contemporary (stone walls meet dazzling jacuzzi tubs and high tech) than the classical abbey rooms and suites within the main building.

I ended up on a bit of an unofficial photo shoot in our duplex suite, the Clairvaux (named after yet another Cistercian monk … the region is as rich as wines in moine history).

Julie (10)

It took me quiet some time to work out how to make the TV screen emerge from its compartment at the end of the bed like a Jack in the Box (more a reflection on my slowness than the technological complexity).

The food at the Abbey is a highlight in itself – on top of the distinguished, perfectionist in detail decor …


Just one of the many salons in the sprawling yet cosy in every nook and corner Abbey


Cupcake really enjoyed the swish tartan chairs for which her travel compartment made a perfect match

With plenty of eccentric-humoured British touches to lighten it up I might add.


Bonjour moi je m’appelle Joseph – et toi?


Let me think about it … big headed on books in the gorgeous living room come library



Talk about dining cachet – from the medieval decor at the breakfast table (a late medieval breakfast perhaps?) in the Bistrot des Moines – to the cascading, cathedral strung gastronomic restaurant, Le 1131 below.


The name of the restaurant 1131 is a nod to the building’s history, (though naturally its Michelin stars are more recent).




The tendency to French-Asian fusions – fishy in many cases – and fresh from the Burgundy waterways – already evident on my first stay, has strengthened.

I love the fresh, gently spicy fusion flavours – the déclinaisons of this or that – of coloured beets and smoked eel served with coriander and honey sauce – or freshwater perch-like sandre, zested up with orange, cumin, parsley and hazelnut.




And what about the Anis de Flavigny bonbons, served with minis profiteroles imploding with aniseed flavoured creme chantilly! Mind or rather tastebud blowing.


Here one awakes and lives out each minute in a truly divine place. I became fixated on the interplay of light and stained glass on the abbey’s medieval upper story windows on my last trip – and was delighted to have the light turn on its thing for me again.



Other than my photography, and Joseph’s artistic pursuits, our days at the Abbey were spent eating,  (drinking naturalement) swanning about the glorious grounds and biking the idyllic Burgundy canal-lands.  The latter to be the subject of the next perpetual motioned blog.

Meantime, bon voyage and bonnes balades à tous – real, virtual or sheer imaginary – from Tamara, Cupcake and Jo-Jo as I call him (typical Australian the whole word is just too long and tiresome!)

I leave you with another of the artist’s tremendous traveling ouevres, a croquis de voyage – to accompany my carnet de voyage!

abbaye buissiers

Side view of the front of the Abbey and its very own chapel

A few useful links:

The Abbaye de la Bussiere can be found along a lovely bucolic drive into the depths of the Cote d’Or countryside (yet within 2 hours drive of Paris) off the D33, 21360 La Bussière-sur-Ouche, Phone:+33 3 80 49 02 29
The latest price check on Tripadvisor was coming up as US$283.87 a night for two via Relais&Chateaux, 225 Euros via
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