Friday morning the wind had gone and the skies were clear. The temperature eased up into what would become the mid 70s. A perfect day in Provence!
After puttering around the mas for a bit to get started on the weekly laundry and cleaning chores, we got a Viber message from Bill and Lisa LaPato that they wanted to come see Eygalières and our little market. We agreed to meet at the Café le Progress, just off the round about at about 11:30.
We threw a couple of shopping bags in the car and headed down at around 11 so we could get our shopping tasks done before they arrived. The market was still going strong when we arrived, so we merged in with the meandering crowds and strolled from booth to booth. For starters, a baguettes, oriellettes (a delightful Provençal specialty), and a sacrastain. While we didn’t need cheese, we spotted some Papillon Roquefort, one of the best, and bought a piece. Maybe we’ll use it in a salad. David bought the obligatory jambon blanc (he loves the French hams for sandwiches), and we moved on. The roasting chickens filled the air with delicious aromas – oils, rosemary, etc. – but we passed and moved on.
In short order we had made all of our purchases, so headed for the café to wait for Bill and Lisa. As it was noon, we got a pichet of rosé and basked in the sun. In due course they strolled in and joined us before heading off to look at everything and make a few purchases for their apartment. Bill was still in a bit of shock from the drive over, as Philippe had directed them to take the route through the Alpilles rather than via St. Remy. The narrow roads and twists and turns had taken their toll. Our rosé dwindled while they took in the market, with them returning just as the last drops disappeared from our glasses, so we headed off to Bistro l’Aubergine for lunch.
We arrived to be greeted by Alex and Sofie, and took a table on the shaded terrace. We introduced them to kirs, then perused the menu with Alex’s help, explaining the various dishes to Bill and Lisa. We mostly ordered lunch salads, but started off with the asparagus entrée so they could try the fresh spring asparagus, which they loved. Bill said his taste was craving a nice, crisp Chardonnay, but David explained that Chardonnay isn’t grown in this area of France, it is primarily grown in Burgundy, and the prices are steep if you find them on local wine lists. While they were reluctant to try the rosé, thinking it would be sweet and mediocre like U.S. pink wines, David explained that in Provence rosé is not an afterthought wine, but carefully crafted from the best grapes (Syrah, Grenache, Cinsault, etc.,) to make a dry wine with a bit more character than the whites. We ordered a bottle, and said that if they didn’t like it, we would get a bottle of Mercurey (a white Burgundy) for them. As their glasses emptied almost as fast as ours, the rosé appeared to have hit the spot.
The food arrived and everyone enjoyed their dishes, especially the asparagus. Alex sat with us for a bit and entertained Bill and Lisa with his stories. He’s always a delight.
After a three-hour lunch (typical Provence style meal) we all headed down the road to the mas so they could see our home in Eygalières. They took the tour of the house, pool,, and grounds, and then we relaxed at the table outside with a glass of wine and some cheese for a bit, talking about possible excursions for them in the coming days. They hopped in their car, and – with directions home via St. Remy – were off to Les Baux.
As the day continued to be gorgeous, we sat outside for a bit longer, then retired for the evening. Tomorrow is dialysis and some shopping errands, but aside from that, we’re taking a vacation from our vacation.