Woke up early and headed to the American Hospital of Paris for dialysis. Greeted the nurses, who I have gotten to know over the past year or so. Turned on the BBC coverage of the Will and Kate show. It’s amazing to me that a supposedly modern nation like England still maintains a monarchy, and the illusion that some people are special by birth and entitled to special treatment. Kate must be thrilled that Will is stooping to marry a “commoner.” We all got a laugh watching all the men showing up in their military costumes – I have never seen as many swords in one place at one time outside a museum, which is where these people should be. Some of the women’s hats looked like prehistoric birds had nested in their hair. I hope they checked for eggs when they took them off, it is springtime. But, Brits do know how to put on the pomp and pageantry.
David picked me up around 12:30, and we headed back to the hotel to pick up our luggage and head to the Gare de Lyon for our train. As we had time, we ate a bite at the Train Bleu, virtually the only place in Paris you can get both rude service and overpriced bad food at the same time.
Surprisingly, the TGV to Avignon was 15 minutes late. To make up for the delay, they did not announce the departure track until five minutes before departure, which barely gave enough time to get to our coach and board.
There were more slowdowns en route to Avignon, so when I told David it probably was a good idea for him to go to the lower level of our coach to get the luggage out, we still had 20 minutes to travel. We got everything off the train and met the person from the car lease agency, who presented us with our black on black (including rims) Renault Laguna. Apparently the pictures and write-up didn’t convey that it was a (smallish) sports model. The specs say that it holds five adults and six pieces of luggage, but I don’t see how. Anyway, the agent was very nice, but very slow, so we did not leave Avignon until after 7:00 pm.
We arrived at Riboto de Taven in les Baux de Provence (www.riboto-de-taven.fr) just before eight and were greeted by Christine and Philippe. As it was raining hard when we got there, we left the luggage in the car until the skies cleared and relaxed and dried out with a kir. We also met Fred, their new dog, for the first time. He is terrific – a rescue dog that they both fell in love with. He is very friendly, well-behaved, and happy to have a home with people who love him.
When the skies cleared for a bit, David got the luggage and we changed for dinner. The menu was typical Jean-Pierre magic. We started with an avocado and smoked salmon mold with a mixed green salad (we will try making this at home.) Then, we both opted for a filet de Plagre, which is a pink sea bream. Needless to say, it was wonderful. I skipped the cheese course, but David had three – Langres, a brebis, and Roquefort. Then came dessert, an incredible strawberries in flavored cream, topped with homemade ice cream. It is not hard to see why Jean-Pierre won a Michelin star.
While we would loved to have stayed up and chatted with everyone for a bit, we were fading, and facing the prospect of getting up at 6:00 am to head to Salon de Provence for dialysis, so we turned in.