Wednesday, November 09, 2016
La Belle France
Although being in Ireland is always a blessing, heading to France was exciting. I've wanted to go to France since I was a young girl. As an art student in college I was impressed with all of the great art and artists in France. Once I started blogging and learned about Polaine bread and macarons I just wanted to visit all the foodie places in Paris and Provence.
I was a bit anxious, too. My French is un peau (a little) and from 40 years ago. We weren't doing any tours so we would be on our own most of the time. I was worried that my dairy allergy would get in the way of eating, and it didn't seem like we would be in any place quite long enough, but it was what we could afford.
Everything turned out just fine. The French people I met were charming and helpful, especially since I was at least trying to speak their language when I could. The towns were beautiful and Paris even more beautiful in some ways, although certainly not as tidy as every town in Ireland and Provence we visited.
Our first introduction to France was in Marseille. We landed and headed for the car rental area. It took them some doing to make sure that our GPS really spoke English (with a British accent no less) but the car was comfortable and large enough to hold our minimal luggage and ourselves. Sweetie made the switch from driving on the left to driving on the right and made it seem effortless, although I know that it wasn't.
We headed through rush hour traffic to the north to Cavaillon where we would turn east toward the Vaucluse and the tiny village of St. Saturnin-les-Apt.
Fortunately I had been warned by a woman at my gym to load up on Euro coins so we were ready for tolls, but I had not expected the cut throat driving. Perhaps it was just because it was the end of the work day and everyone just wanted to get home, or it might be that they were just done with tourists after a full season of working around folks who didn't know where they were going. Fortunately between our GPS, whom we called Beatrice, and my Michelin map, we arrived around dusk, safe and sound in St. Sat. Here Sweetie and Naomi admire the rain dampened street and pink sunset in St. Saturnin les Apt shortly after our arrival.
Many years ago in Berkeley I had been the babysitter of a darling toddler, Naomi. She and my daughter became fast friends, especially when we moved in across the street from Naomi's home. Over the years they became more like sisters, so it was wonderful to see her again, here in her own home in this small village in Provence. She and her partner Pete took a run-down ancient town house and turned it into a gorgeous place to live.
Naomi took us over to our B and B, another lovely old building, where we had a beautiful view over the Luberon valley from our balcony.
Katherine was staying with Naomi and Pete and their very charming dog Seymour. It has been a long day, but we were with friends, had comfy places to sleep after dinner, and the wine was flowing.