Every day is getting a bit warmer, with more flowers everywhere. Provence is coming into its glory.
The drive to Salon was quick today because it is a holiday (VE Day) so people weren’t driving to work. This changed dramatically later, as the roads filled with people on holiday on their way to various fetes and celebrations, including one in Senas, which is on the way to the clinic. We decided to bypass Senas on the way home, and instead took a leisurely drive through the country and Alpilles. We first went through the village of Lamanon, which turned out to be charming – tree-shaded streets, parks, and large houses. We made a note to come back and explore. Then it was on to Eyguières, another charming spot with narrow streets and a tiny town square filled with cafés and small shops. There was a VE celebration about to start, so we passed on the chance to stop there for lunch and headed back to Eygalieres, taking the narrow winding road through the Alpilles.
The village was filled with people, with all three cafés jammed. We headed home to drop a few things off, then returned and grabbed a table in the sun at Café le Progress. It has just gone through a renovation, and now sports new tables and chairs, a refurbished inside dining room, and a classy bar. We started off with two kirs, followed by a carafe of vin de pays rosé with a bleu pave de boeuf (like a small sirloin) for me and a salad Provençal (mozzarella, anchovies, olives) for David. Light and perfect for a warm day. We watched the parade of dogs go by and thought of Lucy. Unfortunately, if she were with us she would have barked at all of them, which is very rare in France – dogs are quiet and well behaved, even when off a leash. We hope to come back for the entire month of May next year and bring her with us, but only if we can get her trained…
Time flew by, and after two café noirs, we headed back to the house at about three to catch up on a few things before heading over to Les Baux de Provence to see our dear friends Christine and Philippe Theme, and their adorable dog, Fred.
We expected St. Remy to be jammed, but strangely, it wasn’t. However, as we approached the ancient fortress of Les Baux de Provence, the roads became jammed with buses, cars, and vehicles parked on both shoulders – a real zoo. We crept past the entrance to the fortress and the parking lots, and wound our way to the Val d’Enfer on the other side. Pulling into the lot at our friends’, we were greeted by a big hunk of fur, wrapped around a dog, with its tail going full tilt – Fred remembered us!
We exchanged hugs and greetings with Christine and Philippe, who never appear to age. Sort of like The Picture of Dorian Gray. While catching up on all that is new with them, Christine’s brother, Jean-Pierre, his son Pierre, and his son’s lady friend arrived. More hugs, and – as JP was on his way to work – a promise to get together soon.
Christine and Philippe closed Riboto de Taven, their inn and restaurant two years ago and semi-retired. They converted the two Troglodyte cave suites into a single spacious apartment with kitchen and laundry facilities, and their apartment in the main building into a 750 sq. ft. rental unit with kitchenette. The two rooms facing the pool were kept the same. The cave rents by the week, and the other rooms have a two-day minimum rental, all very reasonable. Much less work for them, especially in the evenings when they used to be tied up with the restaurant.
Philippe brought out a chilled bottle of sparking Vouvray, and Christine set out a plate of oreillettes that her mother had made, wonderful doughy twists sprinkled with sugar. We caught up on everything that had happened with all of us for a couple of hours, interrupted only by Fred who would arrive and drop his tennis ball at our feet in hopes of playing catch. We agreed to get together early next week to try a new restaurant in Mausanne, and then again later that week or the next for dinner at their place or hours.
Then, it was off to the road to wind our way back to Eygalieres. Twenty minutes later we were back, and noted the main street still jammed with people strolling and sitting in the cafés, so decided to have a glass of wine at Café du Centre. Patrick arrived at the same time as we did and we pulled up a table together next to an beautiful Harley that someone had parked in front of the café. We shared some laughs and a glass of wine, then – as the temperature was starting to drop – headed back to the mas.
David made us a couple of sandwiches – jambon and cheese – we loaded some photos onto the computer and then turned in. Tomorrow is market day.