Our last few days in Provence were bittersweet. I wanted more time to enjoy our small village of waterfalls and waterwheels. There was so much life to L’Isle Sur la Sorgue. We were fortunate to be there during the Summer Solstice. All over France, in every village, town and city, June 21st is marked by music. Singers, performers and bands play on street corners, in parking lots and alleyways.
A stage was erected near the restaurant where we had reservations for the evening. Several bands performed here.
We had a table in front of one of our favorite bistros, Alcyone. There is a large fireplace oven inside where all of their meats and fish are roasted. The first time we ate here I had the kabobs which included meat and vegetables roasted to perfection. The night of Summer Solstice there was a fixed menu of either Cote de Boeuf Sauce Bearnaise with Frites Maison or Duo de Saumon et St Jacques Sauce Estragon with Riz Safrane. We both chose the Salmon.
The salmon with a tarragon infused sauce was delicious. The scallops were wrapped in shrimp. The ratatouille and rice complimented the seafood. We sat late into the night enjoying the music and enjoying our desserts of tiramisu and nougat glace sur coulis de fruits rouges.
The next day we drove to Aix de Provence. Aix is a larger city than the previous villages that we had visited. Driving and traffic can be difficult. The famous Rotonde Fountain is at the center of a roundabout off of the main street Cours Mirabeau. We know it well. Our GPS got confused when trying to get us out of town after our visit and sent us around it many times.
The Cours Mirabeau is a lovely street lined with plane trees. There is so much history, so many restaurants, and great shopping venues in Aix that I could have spent so much more time.
The 13th century church of Saint-Jean-de-Malte contains valuable paintings and a recently restored organ. Next door to this church is the Musee Granet. We spent a leisurely few hours there viewing paintings by Cezanne, Picasso, and many other painters from the 16th century to the 20th century.
Back in L’Isle Sur la Sorgue we spent our last evening dining at a lovely restaurant on the river. L’Aparte has a covered patio and although you can’t see it, there is a waterfall element outside of the open windows.
Water is falling just beyond the bushes.
This was my first experience with foie gras and it was a revelation. I assumed that I would not like it. Here in the United States there is controversy and an outright ban in California on serving foie gras. The force feeding of geese to enlarge their livers to make foie gras has been challenged by the animal rights groups. Putting that controversy aside, I have to say that I loved this foie gras. It was placed on a sweet, spiced bread and topped with a cinnamon and ginger studded jam. To me it had the consistency and taste of pumpkin pie. So all I have to do from now on is think “pumpkin pie” every time I have it. Voila.
We had been searching at every restaurant for rabbit and did not find it until this last night. How fortuitous. It was so succulent and well seasoned. The baked ratatouille style vegetables were also wonderful.
For dessert I had a rich chocolate fondant.
David had a baba au rhum. This was the second time he ordered this in France. I think it had something to do with the rum poured over it.
The next morning David brought the car around to our apartment to load our luggage. The beret says something about his state of mind.
We headed back to Avignon to catch the TVG train to Tours.
One last look at the beauty of Provence and we were off to the Loire Valley.