Le Grande Forge de Buffon is an idyllic and beautiful site along the river outside Montbard. It was the home and worksite of Georges-Louis Leclerc, The Comte de Buffon an unheralded and largely forgotten extraordinary naturalist and virgo that lived a long life in the 18th century. He is credited with a scientific spirit and incredible work ethic that produced much of the ideas essential for the advancement of the naturalist movement. Six months a year he lived at the Forges outside Montbard, and 6 months a year he lived in Paris – administering what today is known as the Jardin des Plantes.
First, if you read the link, you will begin to realize how under acknowledged The Comte was and is. The New York times covered him well and acknowledges his revolutionary thinking and lack of appreciation. I read about him before going and have enjoyed reading more since returning.
But what impressed me – aside from the sheer beauty of the Forges – was that he only began building it in his 60’s. Up until his 70’s he traversed from the home twice a day – up and down 118 steps and to and fro 418 paces. This fact, particularly resonated with me after each days fare of 4 wine courses, 6 cheese choices, and the main meal including dessert. I sympathized with his intention to stay fit and enjoyed my walk around the beautiful grounds and gardens.
The other is that for all my love of the Jardins du Luxembourg – I have never been to the Jardin des Plantes. A good reason, a very good reason…. to go back to Paris.