Rhone River Travel Journal—Day 5

View of Rhone from bow of shipToday was a slower day, a cruise day.

We spent the first half of the day cruising up the Rhone.

Mid-day we arrived in Tournon, a small quiet town, inconspicuous except for the tenth-century fortress and church that stand prominently on the banks of the Rhone.

The church was renamed, “The Temple of the Supreme Being” by the revolutionaries during the French Revolution, which was very ecumenical –or Deist–of them. For a few years during the Reformation it was a Protestant church, but it was later converted back to a Catholic church, and it remains so today.

What is interesting is that people have purchased parts of the exterior of the church and built their apartments and businesses onto the church. It’s a bizarre sight. Of course there is nothing sacred about a building, but it does say something about the spiritual culture of the French.

Castle at Tournon

Castle at Tournon

From the town we boarded a bus to the Domaine du Marinais vineyard, where we tasted wine. The vineyard includes buildings that were once part of a convent but which were sold at the time of the French Reformation and is now used by the vineyard.

Next was the chocolate store in Tain l’Hermitage. Chocolate stores and wine tastings are what cruise companies offer when they can’t find enough historical interest in a town.

It was impressive as chocolate stores go, but as I told Ann, “You know I always say, you’ve seen one piece of chocolate, you’ve seen them.”

Ann said, “I’ve never heard you say that.”

I said, “No, I say it all the time.”

Actually, I’d never said it before, but this is what happens to conversation after too much wine and chocolate.

Tomorrow we return to our travel theme. GS