Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The Road from Lille to Dinant

Our final morning in Lille was rainy and unpleasant, so it was a perfect day to be trapped in a car, since being outside wasn't all too motivating. Before we departed Lille, we ventured a few blocks to the bakery that our host recommended, to get a pastry to each of us for the road. After walking out with 3 pastries (standard chocolate croissant, raspberry croissant, and a vanilla pastry with custard in the middle) and a huge baguette we were ready to go and had our sugar and butter quota met for the week! Dear God did it not disappoint either.
France, you do AMAZING work when it comes to all things croissant/pastry...I am sitting here salivating for one as I write this, both disappointed that I don't have immediate access to one but grateful that I don't have to resist temptation.

Farewell to France, hello again to Belgium!

So our one planned stop on the way from Lille to Dinant was the Chimay Trappist Brewery. Following their website online we ended up on the ourskirts of a small town at a factory. The bottling operations had moved off-site because it was such a huge production. This was NOT AT ALL what I had in mind, and I was thoroughly disappointed. I wanted to see an abbey, I wanted to see some monks. All of this beer brewed by monks and I had yet to see a single one of them. The tour did not start until later, so I convinced Adam to go out to the Abbey itself. Second best decision of the day (come on, the bakery stop was not to be beat!).

Original home of Chimay

Walking path up to the Abbey


Abbey church

Abbey gardens

We were allowed to explore the grounds

Outdoor covered chapel

Abbey love

And guess what!?!?!? I GOT TO SEE AN ACTUAL TRAPPIST MONK! I don't know why it was so awesome, or why it was such a big deal to me, but it was. Perhaps I just wanted a face to the brewers of my husband's obsession. Either way, if you are wanting to do Chimay this is the way to do it because:
1.) It is not just another factory tour
2.) You see the actual abbey (it is GORGEOUS!) and some monks
3.) You will come across the Chimay Cafe a kilometer away and have a fantastic afternoon!

Yes, on our way back to do the factory tour we came across the Chimay Cafe and it was perfect! They had all of the brews to try along with the Chimay cheese line. Beer and cheese...oh course! The only way this could have been better for Adam was that there was some sausage served along with it.

Chimay beer tasting flight

Chimay cheese tasting flight

Big enough bottle?

The largest chalice holds 3 LITERS of beer, to give you perspective

They also had a playground outside, that wasn't being utilized because of the weather and lack of children at a we took pity on the equipment and had a bit of fun!

After that we finished our journey to Dinant, a picturesque (more so when the weather cooperates) little town with a huge Citadel watching over it.

The road along the river to Dinant

Hello Dinant....we are very excited to explore you!