Poligny, France

Photo: PRA (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0) or GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons
Spring is finally here. Well, not here, as you can still see mounds of snow from your windows. But there’s warmer weather, new green grass, and budding flowers out there somewhere. Take France, where its rivers are rushing with melted snow, little calves are learning how to walk on their wobbly legs, and frequent showers ensure that grapes and lavender will soon start growing. Though you usually wait until the calendar is inching toward summer, an early spring trip sounds perfect this year.

Since you aren’t sticking to your usual schedule, you shouldn’t stick to your usual destinations either. For years, you’ve been curious about Jura. The mountainous region sits in between Burgundy and Switzerland in eastern France. It’s home to rolling hills, wooded mountains, and lots of lakes. Little towns, like Poligny, produce vin jaune (wine made like sherry) and Comté cheese. While hiking trails, including the famous GR 59, offer cliffside views through the valleys.

In the center of Poligny, near the Collegiate Church of Saint Hippolyte and a statue of a First Empire general in the main square, you find a little bed and breakfast called Les Jardins sur Glantine. You usually wouldn’t choose a place with only two suites. But you were charmed by the historic house and its beautiful gardens. The owners, who are no doubt foodies, only made it more appealing.

Photo: Les Jardins sur Glantine

The bed and breakfast was built in the 18th century. It has parquet floors, preserved stucco and woodwork, and stone fireplaces. There’s a wine cellar full of Crémant, Savagnin, and Poulsard made by Ludwig. The former architect now sells his wine to some of the best restaurants in the world. Nathalie loves to cook, so she ended up participating on a French cooking show. She now creates extensive breakfast spreads, hosts cooking classes, and even makes the organic lavender soap found in your suite. Plus there are the gardens. Vines climb old stone walls. Olive oil and freshly picked flowers are set up on a wooden picnic table. While hidden seating features views of the Glantine river.

You quickly fall into a routine in Poligny. After sleeping later than usual, you select a tea from the tea bar, fill a plate with jambon au petit-lait and Comté cheese, and eat way too many salted butter madeleines. In town, you set off on one of the footpaths. You hike to the Trou de la Lune, a cave in the cliffs, one day and the Croix du Dan, a large cross, the next. Then you return to see which wine is being poured at Les Jardins sur Glantine in the afternoon. This is the way spring should begin.

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