Thursday October 11, 2012 — Last day in Provence

It’s our last day here in Eygalieres.

David dropped me off at the clinic in Salon de Provence where I presented the staff with the box of Joel Durand chocolates I bought as a farewell gift. As always, they dove in and enjoyed these marvelous treats, a small sign of my appreciation for their excellent care. A bit after noon, David picked me up and we headed off for the old village of Opede. The guidebook outlined a long colorful history, indicating that there were ruins and artifacts to be explored – just our ticket. I navigated us through Cavillon, and then on to Opede. As we climbed the hillside, we saw a sign indicating “obligatory parking,” meaning that the rest of the trip would be on foot. Parking the car, we wound our way up the switchback trail through a lush, shaded forest. There were occasional artifacts of the old village – a tower here, a wall there. Off in the distance, perhaps a half mile away, we could see more buildings, but – at our rate of progress – it would be a while before we reached them.

We decided there must be another way, so retraced our steps to the car, exited the lot, and in a few moments, were at the crest of the hill and the buildings we had seen. We motored past them, figuring to find a parking area, but instead found ourselves on a one-way trip back down the hill. Ending up at the new village of Opede, with the hour approaching two pm, we decided we’d grab a quick lunch before heading back up the hill. For some reason, everything in the village was closed, but we did find a small cafe that was serving lunch, grabbed a table, and enjoyed the plat du jour (chicken with rice) and a pitcher of rose.

Our hunger sated, we left the new village of Opede and returned to the old village, high on the hill. We parked the ark and explored the village. A square, old walls, small buildings surrounding a few narrow alleyways, and parts of a wall were all that remained. After strolling around and shooting a few photos, it was time to head back to Eygalieres.

Arriving in our village home, David hit the ATM for some cash for the trip, then we decided to drop in to the Cafe du Centre to say farewell to Chrystelle. I grabbed a table while David went to the boulangerie for some pastries for our departure tomorrow morning. As he rejoined me, Patrick strolled up and sat down, offering to buy us a farewell glass of wine. We sat for a bit and chatted with Patrick, always an enjoyable time. It was Chrystelle’s day off, but Patrick promised to give her our regards.

We returned to the mas to start packing, and I couldn’t resist the aroma of the fresh pastry from the bakery, so gobbled it down. So much for a morning snack.

In short order it was time to head down the road for our last dinner. We had saved le Potager du Mas for our last dinner here. We had enjoyed lunch there in May and found it to be extraordinary, so wanted to return for dinner. After diving past the entrance twice in the ark and missing the small entrance road, we finally arrived. Franck, the manager, welcomed us back and seated us in the stylish dining room. As the menu depends on the garden and seasonal ingredients, he explained some changes in the menu. We started off with our usual kir, to be followed with a bottle of Romanin rose, then got down to the menu choices.

An amuse bouche arrived – eggplant caviar with a light gazpacho. David then followed with a farm egg with fresh vegetables. I passed on the appetizer so I could concentrate on my main course, a poulet Rossini. David chose the sea bass. My dish was excellent, except that I had forgotten that Rossini meant with foie gras – not my favorite. David’s sea bass was superb, beautifully cooked and presented. In all, one of the better meals and well deserving of celebrating our last night here.

Then, with farewells to Franck, we guided the ark back down the road and home to the mas.

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