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St Remy de Provence: June 18

St Remy de Provence: June 18

Been thinking about visual pollution in the sky. You may have noticed that in Paris the vapour trails of aircraft are far more frequent. Is this due to more aircraft, colder air temperature, higher altitudes for flight? I don't know yet but I do not they are not pretty. One can be admiring the natural formations of cirrus and more then find the sky punctuated by ten linear vapour trails. We have noticed fewer trails in the south.

Today we planned a busy day yet no more than about two and a half hours driving.

But first, breakky. Our host provides a simple breakky of bread, jam, croissant, coffee or tea and orange juice. For croissant connoisseurs the croissant was brilliant. First the look, well baked. Second the crisp noise as you break into it. Third the silky texture of a croissant made from real butter or whatever gave it silk. The multi grain bread had a delicious texture from its levain. As for coffee, we have offered our services.

Off to Gordes. The French have this scheme of beautiful villages: "des plus beaux villages de France" (most beautiful villages in France). Yes, Gordes is one of them perched on a hillside. Our photos do not do the village justice, you just have to be here so get your act together. It is old, much intact. These villages have their own population and are tourist oriented so many photos are contaminated with touristy trinkety type stores but there are a few gems amongst the stores. For example the vegie store had the best range of tomatoes I have ever seen.

Gordes:
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Les Villages des Boires was nearby and very interesting. It is built of dry stone construction, meaning no mortar is used, and they say not a lot is known of the origin of the original buildings and inhabitants. They were adapted and in use until the 19th century. It is fascinating to see how they were constructed. They were restored last century.

Village of Bories:

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We also discovered that the citroen car we rented can breath in and become narrower when it needs to. I have no other explanation for how we got through one of the laneways without scratching either mirror on the car.

On to Roussillon for the inner artist in us, also "un des plus beaux villages de France". You may have heard of the ochre hills which were and are a source of pigment for colour. Truly beautiful. Hopefully these photos do it some justice.

Roussillon:

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Also, while we were walking around the hills in the reserve Karen suggested a brief stop on a seat in dappled sunlight. I then noticed, with pride, a something 10 meters away through my sunglasses. It was one of the twenty six species of orchids in the park. Apologies for the photos, I should have removed my sunglasses to verify the focussing although there was a bit of a breeze.

Orchids:

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We decided upon lunch around 2:30 to find most places serving drinks but not food. Damn these French. Then one offered a beef carpaccio tentatively. Why would I have said no? So hot from our walk we settled into a cold beer and a carpaccio and, wait for it, a view!

Roussillon lunch and view:

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Why not we said to ourselves, let's fit in another "un des plus beaux villages de France", Bonnieux some 20 minutes away. Karen had heard of it. And she heard correctly. We didn't stay long but it had a charm and fewer tourists and fewer shops. She did expertly find an old postcard which will have a great use one day soon.

something about these old rooftops:

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We decided to ensure we made it to Fontaine de Vaucluse for sentimental reasons which is why we did not stay at Bonnieux for long. This place is the source of a beautiful spring with clear clear water and apparently a very deep source of water. Nestled and circled at the bottom of a grand limestone cliff the location is beautiful. Didn't pay much attention to the town. But as soon as you got deep enough into the canyon to exclude the sun the temperature dropped to a soothing coolness.

Due to the rains the water was surging and high. It is a beautiful meditative place and the clear watered river comes with its special blues.

At Fontaine du Vaucluse:

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the river in flow:

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By this time it was 7:00pm so we decided to eat at Le Cigalon in St Remy and then get home. We were given this restaurant as a recommendation by our hosts. Oh, were we mislead. We lost confidence for a while after this. We didn't pay attention to the warning signs. Silly us. We did notice it was fullish at 8pm; it seemed to be full of Frenchies; and the menu was not written in English so along with the recommendation we were lulled into false expectation based on the experiences of others. This time I think we were Hansel and Gretel.

We ignored the fact the waitresses were all dressed in tight mini skirts and slip on shoes, this would not pass OHS and reflected the calibre of the hirer. The dish we saw being served to many, the plat du jour, was full of bling. There was salt and pepper on the tables. The waiters and waitresss were rushing as there were not enough for the size of the restaurant and then after ordering a glass of red we were told it may be a little chilly.

Finally the food! It came to us saying "I am bling! Please take my photo!". I thought "no way honey!". There was this eggy thing. There was a glass of tomatoey saucey thing. There was lettuce dripping with a heavy handed dressing. The crunchy pappadam was over browned and flavourless. The steak was competent but uninspiring. The scallops were done well (probably an accident). The bread had a soft crust, can you believe this? My taste buds thought I was going mad. Enough we said, leaving some stuff on the plate we left. There was no point saying anything. These people can not be educated.

Karen suggested I get over it. I tried. She suggested it another few times. I tried. I am still trying. Even in France it is "mangeur prendre garde", "eater beware". Hmmph.

It was nonetheless a great day. Our Mr Welsh talks of these villages being "heartbreakingly beautiful". They often are.

We got over dinner enough to slip into a nightmare-less sleep. Bonne nuite.

Posted by lesnkaren 14:23 Archived in France

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Comments

loved the villages and photo's Jack says you have a way with words you should write a book keep up the good work can you buy a meat p[ie and sauce?????? love

by jacndof

Beautiful colors, don't you just love rivers that flow like that, (the video was great closed my eyes & I was right there).

by Gus Davis

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