As usual, the day of our departure was glorious. Golden sunshine bathed the buildings along the empty streets and boulevards as we wound our way to the Peripherique and then towards CDG. Every here and there an ATM, probably freshly restocked with Euros, beckoned to us to come and fill up our wallets, if not for this trip, then for the next.
The ride to CDG was smooth, and soon we were headed towards the American Airlines check in line, dreading what has become a long and tedious process. The smiling customer service rep looked at our tickets and said that we should go to the ground level where there was a special check-in facility for Business Class passengers. We did as directed, and found ourselves at a quiet facility where we breezed through check in and baggage screening. Then we were handed two Priority Access passes and told to use them to go through the security gate nearby. David swiped the passes at the entrance, the gates parted, and we proceeded through a virtually painless exit procedure…no lines, courteous people. In a few minutes, we were cleared and strolling to the departure gate. I stopped at the Brioche Dorée for my final pain au chocolat, and picked up some Occitane shampoo and conditioner at the duty-free kiosk. If we can’t be in Provence, at least my hair can smell like it…
While waiting for the flight to board, we reflected a bit on our trip. Unlike last May’s hideous weather, this year was pretty good. Cool nights and pleasant daytime temperatures made exploring more appealing. The few days of Mistral were a small price to pay for the glorious clear blue skies that always follow. The high points on this trip were –
Finally meeting Bryan and Pat Youl, the owners of the mas we call our home in Provence, and finding them to be simply delightful. We will definitely take them up on their offer to stay at their house in Cadaques in Spain once it is ready.
An excursion to the tiny wine village of Gigondas, coupled with a great meal and wine at the Hotel Florets.
Getting together with Christine and Philippe Theme and their wonderful dog, Fred, at their home, our home, and in a new restaurant find in Mausanne.
Introducing our Boca neighbors Bill and Lisa LaPato to France, Paris, and Provence.
Wonderful meals at l’Aubergine in Eygalières, Potager du Mas in Orgon, Mas du Capoun in Molleges, les Olivades in St. Remy, Bistrot Mogador in Fontvielle, Café Fleurs in l’Isle sur la Sorgue, and FD2 in Mausanne.
The pastries that David would buy for me most mornings – pain au chocolat, sacrastain, orielettes, and more.
Roasting a farm chicken at the mas and filling the house with wonderful aromas.
Hosting dinner with Philippe and the LaPatos at the mas, with Philippe grilling a perfect cote du boeuf.
Seeing a slew of friends in Provence and Paris – Patrick, Guy, the Themes and Jean-Pierre, Alex, Franck, Crystelle, Michele, Nisha, Fabienne, Marc and Catherine.
An incredible meal with Marc and Catherine Refabert at Crom ‘Exquis in Paris, probably the best food of the trip and a wonderful evening with friends. We’re looking forward to seeing them again in October at Pierre Gagnaire.
Great wines everywhere, especially the two Burgundies at Crom ‘Exquis and the Chateau Fonsalette that Philippe brought to the mas.
We boarded right on time, took our seats, and watched as the in-flight meals that had been lovingly prepared roughly a month ago were loaded on board. Airline food has changed over the past years. The descriptions have become more enticing while the actual food has become almost inedible. Oh well, we’ve had weeks of great food, so one bout with maple-glazed Dijon chicken breast is endurable.
The flight home is always easier than the flight over, and soon we were letting down in Miami and taxiing to the gate. The Global Entry Program is now working better, and we found a bank of kiosks waiting just steps from the entrance to Immigration. Put in your passport and place your hand on the fingerprint scanner, answer a few question, and you’re done. There’s also a special line for checking you through Immigration, with virtually no waiting. Wonderful. Our bags came out of the carousel reasonably quickly, and a few minutes later we were in the car and on our way home to Lucy.