Off to Provence!

After an eventful week in Paris, we set out for Provence last Friday.  We made our way by TGV to Aix-en-Provence, from where we picked up a rental car, and headed to the hill towns of the Vaucluse.  We first attempted the drive without the aid of a GPS, but after a 45 minute detour to Marseilles, we (Elizabeth) decided that we had to turn it on.  This ended up being a great decision, because, to be honest, my much self-touted sense of direction would not have gotten us very far.  Our B&B was in a small village that was centrally located for exploring the countryside.  Here are the photos (click to expand on them):

After stopping at a winery on our route, we stopped at a bakery to get some of the local specialties: cookies flavored with the food of the region, called “navettes.”. We picked up some orange, lavender, thyme, and lemon cookies, along with a bunch of other ones that I can’t remember. I prefer a more moist cookie, so I would call these only “OK.”

Our B&B was picture-perfect, and I made use of the chilly pool on the day we arrived. It was around 85 degrees, but a little breezy.

There was a path up to the cliffs above the house where we were staying. It led up to the ancient fortifications that were built for the town, and gave us a pretty nice view of the countryside. In the distance, you can just make out Menerbes, one of the tiny villages that we explored the next day.

The path up to the cliffs.

Our B&B from above, on an amazingly clear evening, which was made all the better after a rainy morning in Paris.

This is the entrance to the beautiful room where we stayed. The terrace out front was perfect for evening picnics with all of the food that we picked up at the markets.

Our first view of Gordes was from below, as we took a bizarre detour on the tiniest roads on which I could ever taking our Hyundai rental. The town sits at the top of a hill, offering what I presume were strategic advantages..

The few tiny narrow streets in Gordes have views across the valley.

The owner of the B&B where we stayed called to make a reservation for us, and we had a chance to do a little bit of exploring beforehand.  I would imagine that Gordes would not be a bad place to pass a couple of years.

Our meal started with the local tapenade, and the town’s local aperatif, which was some kind of vanilla-y, fruity wine concoction – not my favorite, but I like to try the local specialties.

Elizabeth opted for champagne, and relished the opportunity to see me shaking my head at the local specialty.

The region around Aix is famous for its Rose, which everyone told me was excellent. I have to say, though, that it’s just not for me – too fruity, and too light. I was willing to give the local specialty a try, though.

A fresh local salad.

Elizabeth’s meal: a little of everything, which included salad, fish, soup, chicken, potatoes, an eggplant thing, and a whole host of other treats.

A closeup of the pea soup, which was Elizabeth’s favorite part.

My meal, which was muscles, fish, asparagus, and potatoes in a langoustine sauce.

Elizabeth’s dessert sampler: why choose one dessert when you can sample five? She’s got cheese, strawberry soup, creme brulee, a lemon tart, and a local grape beverage.

The dessert that came with my meal: strawberry soup. It was definitely not something that I would have chosen on my own, but it was surprisingly delicious, and tasted like the season in a bowl.

The coffee courses, served after desert, are always nicely presented.

Yet another photo in my series of dental offices of the world, this one with my favorite dentist included.

Not to worry:  there’s much more Provence to come.  I just have to work my way through all the photos that I’ve taken.  Up next:  Apt, Rousillon, and Menerbes.

2 thoughts on “Off to Provence!

  1. The trip gets better and better and the food looks better and better!!
    Did Elizabeth get to drive the car? Were the country roads scary?
    Do you prefer being in the country or the city?

    • The car was a stick, so I did all the driving. Yes, the incredibly narrow country roads were a bit harrowing, and I had to turn off the part of my brain that tells me I am going to collide with the car coming towards me. I like both the country and the city, but I have to say that our time in the small villages was my favorite so far.

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