Forgot to mention our picnic. We went to Cavaillon to Gerard Auzet's boulangerie. He was voted Best artisan baker in France. Peter Mayle thinks the best in Provence but anyway, Mayle and Auzet have a book coming out in November about Auzets talents. His pastry was special. We headed next to
Fromagerie Des Alpes on rue Raspail. J. and I both think it's the best cheese shop we have visited and the guy who runs it is charming and knowledgeable about all the cheeses.
Now the Gard. We returned again to Uzé. Andre Gide's father said, "O little town of Uze were you in Umbria, Parisians would flock to visit you." This time we stayed at the Hotel du General d'Entraigues. We had reserved dinner but they said it was cancelled due to a booked wedding. We were happy!!!!! Several of you here said food was so-so. I had hoped to go one day, "Les Trois Salons." so I made reservations
We walked about looking for a lunch place but only after I insisted we visit Medieval Garden situated at the foot of the King's and Bishop's towers.
Sadly alot of the plants suffered from the intense heat they had. The pear espalier(sp?) looked in need of immediate help. After that depressing visit ( I feel badly for dying fauna too) we went to see the man who runs the Maison de la Truffe who is always helpful.
and he suggested we lunch at his friend's place, "Le Bistro du Grezac"
A great choice for us because we love fruits de mer. After that a chat at the Poterie Caltié to talk jazz. he's up on the new lumineries. I know the oldies.
Dinner that night at Les trois salons.
A great night, the food was also, the company of the sous chefs girlfriend from Denmark who spoke not a word of French and we heard our first English speaking voices, except for Emily) from somewhere on the terrace. In the morning, we had breakfast in the Place des Herbs where the huge market was in progress filling the square and all the streets around it. We were grateful the hotel's Garage was also filled because of the wedding. They were asking 11€ a night!! we parked nearby and luckily our overnight did not get us a ticket.
We did get one later in another place.
Now comes the day I was looking forward too. Crossing the Aquaduct of Millau. It was much short for me. The view through the side were not much so we drove around to catch a view of it overall now that was impressive.
Our reservations fell through for a bed and breakfast in Puy L'Eveque but lucky for us, we found a logis in La Garde, Hotel Brunel/le Rocher Blanc run by a charming young man whose wife is sous chef and his mother tends bar. Everyone there as guests was speaking English. I jokingly asked him why he didn't allow French. Everyone laughed and said this year was exceptional becaue of the aquaduct, th Brits have been coming there to see Foster's work. After dinner we went to the salon and playd a game of pool and met the Brits who were drinking tea as we played and had our digestifs.Later all the staff joined us and it was a fun ending to our stay as they had us taste a few strange things.
Now on to the Loire.

We arrive in the village of Mariel sur Cher where we are staying on a goat farm for two days. It's located a half mile down the road from our friends Walt and Ken. They join us for dinner there, the Next day we have a lunch at their home. Their garden is a picture. The lush tomatoes, the squashes, the fruit trees. Ken's photos do justice to the vegetable garden. Walter's floral ones are also special. They live in a lovely area. Date: 09/14/2005, 09:39 pm
The near final end to our travel adventure. We visit our friends in Bonnes near Chauvigny. they have a talking parrot that speaks more French than I. But I can keep up with his merde and ca va. He also calls one of the dogs and the cat and mimics their sounds but I beat him when he only counts to three. They have a dinner party one night and the chevre is a big hit on the cheese tray. While in bonnes, we decide to visit Chateau de Touffou down the road from Michel's 12th century maison. It was closed on previous visits. The chateau was owned by David Ogilvy who had the huge advertising firm. His German wife still lives there so only a few rooms are open on the guideded tour.
One day we went to Chauvigny to the
Les Geants du Ciel-a spectacle of birds, like owls, hawks, eagles. who perform and fly over your head. The setting is spectacular in the medievile building but our local zoo has the same program with not as much talent as our
birds. Another day we spent in Angles sur L'Anglin a favorite beautiful village. All the nights were spent with our friends. When we left it was hard. I love one of the dogs who always remembers me and follows me everywhere. They have a private man made pond for fishing and I walk her there to see the swans and ducks. We say our teary goodbyes, they give us wine, bitch paté and wild boar Paté that Michel has caught and Marie claire has made. A few of their red peaches and a gift of a 30 year old wine that Michel says may or may not be good but to uncork it the night before. That we'll do the week-end as J. is anxious to try something that old.
Our last stop- in Normandy in Fourges at a chambre D'Hote that we go to every year our last night in France. In the Eure an hour and a half to CDG. First we stop in Giverny for a pastis at the Antiente Hotel Bawdy. We go to our Chambre D'hote and Paul greets us and as usual offers me a pastis. It rains so we have now been denied our picnic by the fish pond in paul's beautiful garden but he has set up the salon for us which we share with two couples from Belguim.. The next morning we all feel confortable with eachother and over a lingering breakfast discuss all sorts of issues. Pauls wife sends us off with a jar of her confiture Tomate vert that I stuff in my bulging back back. Our return flight has us on board waiting two hours before take off due to a faulty engine. A boorish American boarded with a suitcase he couldn't fit in where we had our backpacks and carry on wine and olve oil cartons. He tried to forcefully put in his baggage. it wouldn't fit he toppled our backpacks and wine. Meanwhile he is holding everyone up that is trying to be seated.
Eventually he finds bin that will hold his much too large luggage but alas, he shoved my backpack with it and broke the jar that Josette gave me and I had to throw out some clothing that I wrapped other glass bottled confitures with because of the sticky and many glass particles. Home at last. Late, tired, and laundry to do the next day.
I slept til 11Am today and still groggy.

A few things: Very quiet in provence and the Vienne. Business was suffering both places. Visiting St Remy several times, once to dine once for Le presse an another to dine we had no trouble finding a parking space.
Our Friend Michel's doctor is also the mayor of Chauvigny and he said that business was off.
Fashion in cote D'Azure we saw everything from swirling skirts to simple tasteful linen frocks to Garish tops and lots of cropped pants. For men cargo type shorts prevailed except for some model looking types who wore white pants and white linen tops.
Footwear waas the trendy moccasins, flip flops sandels and the espadrille.
In the Vienne we saw lots of blue jeans on both sexes of all ages and alot of trainer type footwear. We lunched at CDG at Les Halles in Hall D. The cooking has gone down hill, this visit.
Gas is more expensive in the North.
The cheapest unleaded was $6.20 a gallon.
J. kicks himself for not asking for a deisel.
thanks for reading-stay healthy.

Sorry for the typos. I didn't keep notes, except for where I was. I left out a lunch day in Angoulime for the purpose of seeing The Cathedral of Sainte-Pierre(early 12C) and visted the covered market in Metal but liked the one we saw in a vllage as we drove to A. It was an ancient wooden one. We stopped, thinking I was going to take a photo of a lavoir. The place where you pick the fish was Chez Juju.
The L'Hotel in St Remy has a giant screen You can pick videos to play.
After a tapas dinner, we played a game of pool while someone had "some like it hot playing on the screen.

Sharing food with another human being is an intimate act that should not be indulged in lightly....MFK Fisher

We landed at CDG and were disappointed the car rental gave us a Fiat instead of the Clio we always had. It guzzled gasoline and it did poorly on inclines and impossible to pass at times.

We drove it through Burgundy and stopped in Auxerre for lunch. Our favorite place was closed so we opted for The Salamander and were not disappointed except for the oysters, too salty for our taste. The terrine de foie gras de canard aux figues and the filet of racasse with risotto cremeiux au safran was wonderful.

Not booked anywhere for the night, we started our search and found a cereal farm run but a very nice family. We ate that night in Chagny at the Hotel La Musardiere.
where many dogs were under tables, a sad yet happy observation. The next morning we had breakfast with our hosts and visiting relatives of theirs visiting from Normandy.
We set out for Provence, our first stop is St. Paul-de Vence in the Cote D'Azur.

My choice for the night a return to the Colombe D'Or as my birthday present. It always amazes me how warm the staff is there and they treat everyone like royalty.
Now on to Provence. We arrive in that enchanting land that Colette, the French writer, called an Earthly Paradise and one of my favorite literary charters, Tarquin Winot said, "It is not an exaggeration to say that peace and happiness began geographically where garlic is used in cooking." (and for those like me who can claim a genuine liking for Pastis)

Every year we stay in Eygalieres, usually in the Auberge Provencal that was once the leading place to stay but the father decided to open a restaurant on the West coast, he sold it to his son who did not keep up its appearance and its cuisine but we remained faithful and got reduced rates. This is my favorite village and we love having pastis and sometimes dinner with the locals across the street at the Progress Café. Imagine our surprise to find we were the only guests at the Auberge. and we had a chef who arrived every morning to provide our petit dejeuner and dinner if requested.

Little did we know Deedee had sold the place and had the phone disconnected so we never got our expected messages from friends expecting us. It was weird at night with not a soul in the three story building, but I consoled myself by thinking, how many others can have an inn and personal chef for themselves.

One day we lunched in Poet Laval at Les Hospitallers (Jean Underhill) I thought of you as I know you love this place) I had my first truffle salad, miam, miam !!!
Another day we dined at the Bistro du Paradou and I was able to retrieve Marcy's sweater that she left there in July.

Marcy, I sent a card to our favorite waiter there to thank him.
Finally got around to eating at La Valleé, owned by the daughter, Karine and spouse Hervé. Later that night we dined with friends in a nearby village in their home, and again the next night.

A day trip to Lourmarin to pick up some fragrances I adore at the Coté Bastide's beautiful boutique. I left a purchase there last year and she saved it for me. There was a fete going on so we lingered to watch some locals perform singing: the good and the bad! That night we dined in Maussane at the restaurant, "La Place." This spot was once the resto, "the center" but didn't last long and maybe went into chapter 11 because it was run by the Demery family who once owned the Souleiado fabrics and shops and lost them too. There are only ten tables but there are others outside on the terrace by the lovely fontain. Maussane is a favorite of ours in Provence. Every year we buy three bottles of olive oil at the coop Moulin Jean Cornille and visit a lady we met at the brocante who has a shop on the main street (L'Ange & L'Eléphant) that was once in her home that is this year a chambre D'Hote. After a drink she gave us a tour. Everything is decorated exoticlly, Morrocco and India being the places she travels to:
this day we are off to Nimes. J. wants to see the Maison Carrée that we missed the last time. It dates back to 1758. Now off to lunch with our Provençal friends to treat them for lunch in the Camargue. They were forced out of the beach location and are now located in Salin-de-Gard (rte du Vaccares)

We were disappointed, not only because it's no longer on a beach but the fish you choose is no longer alive in the tank but now dead in a freezer. Prices have soared. Our grilled Loup was 5.80€ for 100gr.

Next day we take another long trip to visit Karen, the President of BonjourParis, at her beautiful home that sits in a vineyard in Seguret. First we stop at the vineyard where our friends' son works in Sablet to pick up a bottle of wine for lunch. A lunch that included figs from Karen's tree. It's a luxury to taste something freshly plucked for you. Her cat was entertaining. A beautiful afternoon spent with a beautiful person.

Dinner at the Lóustalet Maianem in Maillane (agm of cape cod, I thought of you)
Another day we dined at Le Jardin du Quai in L'Isle Sur-La-Sorgue. This is a favorite and was sold last year and it's better. The chef was at the Mirande in Avignon before opening here. He'll be with 5 other well-known chefs in NY in November at the James Beard awards.
Our last night in Provence is spent in St. Remy at L'Hotel, the Ateliers de LÍmage. It is situated on the main street Bd Victor Hugo but once you step inside, you would think you were in the countryside with the vegetable garden, the labyrinth, a small duck pond, and a view of the Alpilles.

This hotel is remarkably laid-back. The young staff was fun and helpful.
Grandmere we did dine one day at the "Mas de Cure Bouse." Boo-hoo it is now sort of stuffy and the cooking lacks Madam Donzé's talented hands.
Time to leave this garden place of France.

I'll miss the perfume of the garrigue that never fails to stir me as I listen to the chant of the cigales, admire the twisted olive trees that endure the mistral. Provence with it's Spectacular colors makes you realize why all the great painters chose this setting. As Van Goth wrote, "Nature here is so extraordinarily beautiful..."
The provencal skies were sunny and crystal clear as it is exceptionally so after the Mistral struck, as it did for four days before our arrival.