This morning started with a dialysis session, then off to the Gare de Lyon train station to catch the hi-speed TGV train to Avignon, in Provence. The TGV is almost as fast as Suzanne’s Explorer, but differs in that it has working brakes. We were sorry to say good-bye to the Sofitel with its spacious rooms, nice lobby bar, and terrific location on quiet side street just steps from the Champs. We’d love to stay again sometime, and with a Sofitel A-Club credit of $800 to be used, there is probably a visit in our future. The ride on the TGV was quick, just under three hours. At around 4:30 we arrived at the Avignon station, picked up our car (an Audi A4 almost identical to the one we had in the Loire), then made the short 30-minute drive to Les Baux de Provence.
We’re staying at our friend’s inn, La Riboto de Taven in Baux de Provence, just six rooms, set in a lush valley below the centuries-old city. Philippe and Christine Theme and Jean-Pierre Novi are the 5th generation of their family operating the inn. It is in a beautiful part of Provence and ideally located as a starting point to tour the area, which is exactly what we want to do.
We all said our hellos and hugs, sat and had a glass of champagne, while trying to catch up on almost two years of things that have passed us by. Once done, we unpacked, and then anxiously waited for the dinner hour, and the incredible food prepared by Jean-Pierre, who is a superb one-star Michelin chef. Jean-Pierre’s main area of expertise is using fresh herbs, spices and olive oils, and other ingredients from the Provence region. We weren’t disappointed, the crab stuffed ravioli was out of this world and the lotte (monkfish) main course was the perfect companion to the ravioli. Once we finished our delicious meal, we headed off for a sound sleep.