Winery Visit and The Mediterranean Coast

June 26th, 2012

Before we even left for France, I knew there was one winery that I wanted to visit in Provence.  The owners of the apartment that we rented in L’isle Sur la Sorgue told  me about the winery Tempier Bandol.   Alice Waters imports their wines for Chez Panisse.  They are known for their roses and robust reds.  The winery is located outside the coastal fishing village of Bandol.  This is an important wine growing region in France.

The winery was down a one lane path and our GPS said we had arrived long before we saw it.   David was ready to turn back, but we kept going at my insistance and I”m glad we did.

We sampled both the rose and the red wine and came away with a nice bottle of 2009 red wine.  Hopefully it will make it home in our luggage.  We will save it for our blind wine tasting event over the Labor Day weekend.

After leaving the winery we drove to the coast of the Mediterranean Sea.  Our rental car was upgraded to a Peugeot convertible.  David loved it and wished we could get one in the US.

Cassis is a resort town on the coast that has a beautiful harbor.  It is not as crowded as Nice or Canne

.

We had lunch at a harborside brasserie.

The Salad Niscoise was refreshing with a glass of rose wine and a view of the sea.  Life could not have been better!

We only wish that we had brought our bathing suits.

I will continue with our adventures when we return home on Saturday.  We are staying with our friends in Tours right now and do not have internet access. I am writing this from the Irish company Bar in old Tours, the only place we could find with wifi. It is approaching lunch time and David already knows what he is having….Moules au Curry…mussels with cream, curry and white wine.

Hilltop Villages of Provence

June 22nd, 2012

Close to where we are staying are two hilltop villages; Gordes and Roussillon.   I had heard of both of them while reading Peter Mayles book, A Year in Provence.  Gordes is perched on a hillside with the white stone buildings appearing to be rooted into the cliffs.  Historically villages were built on top of hills for defensive purposes. 

Gordes has a large village square with the original ancient castle and the fountain at its center.  Until recent times the fountain was the only source of water for the village.

The village is full of narrow cobbled streets that were fun to explore, but on a hot day, were a real challange.

We found a secluded cafe for lunch away from the crowds in the square.  There was a breeze and a beautiful view of the valley.   I forgot to take a picture of the food.  David had a tasty lasagna dish and I had a salad with roasted chicken and vegetables.

It also happened to be our anniversary that day, so we got a kind lady to take our picture together.

After getting lost in the hills, we finally found the village of Roussillon.  The earth pigment here has a reddish tint that was used to create the ochre colored paint favored by artists.  The village attracted many famous artists including Marc Chagall.

 

The buildings all have that warm red hue.  I love the contrasting blue shutters. 

David just had to take this picture of Restaurant David.

He also started taking pictures of what he is referring to as “The Dogs of Provence”.  They are everywhere, running freely and happily. 

We returned to L’Isle Sur la Sorgue for dinner at a restaurant called Bellevue that is right next to the river.  The trout, potatoes and ratatouille were excellent.  The flavors of Provence!

L’Isle Sur la Sorgue

June 20th, 2012

The village of L’Isle Sur la Sorgue in Provence has been called The Little Venice.  It is surrounded by the waters of the Sorgue river and its many canals flow through the town carrying the crystal clear water downstream.  Because of the strength of the current it became a center for many industries as early as the 11th century.

 
At one time the village had 77 water wheels which enabled weavers of silk and wool to produce woven goods that were known all over Europe for their fine quality.  Fisherman also thrived and supplied fish to the legates of Avignon and elsewhere.  The fishing history is reflected in some of the street names; L’Anguille (Eel street) and Ecrevisses (Crayfish street).

We rented a car in Avignon after a 3 hour trip on the TVG fast train from Paris and arrived in L’Isle Sur la Sorgue in front of this charming shop.  The windows on the second floor contain our apartment.

Our living room is behind the windows with the herb boxes.  This apartment had all of the charm of the village itself.

I loved the well equipped kitchen.

The leather chairs face the window and are a good place to sit and watch the busy street action below.

Next to the living area is a TV and computer room.

Behind the kitchen is a sunny patio with many herb pots, a grill and a place to lounge and eat.  We have already spent a lot of quality time out here.

The bedroom is comfortable with a wide window that can be shuttered to keep the light out.

Sunday is market day in L’Isle Sur la Sorgue.  The whole town is full of vendors for fruits, vegetables, clothing and antiques.

I should have bought this dress.  What fun.

We did buy the ingredients for dinner.  We bought two fish kabobs with salmon, swordfish, and cod.  David separated the fish from the vegetables and cooked them on the grill.

I got some zucchini and shallots, shredded the zucchini and sauteed them together with herbs from the patio garden.  

Along with some rice from a food vendor, a fresh baguette and our grilled fish and vegetables, we had a very nice dinner.

Our travels have taken us to several nearby villages so far.  We have visited, Gordes, Roussillon and St. Remy.  Further afield was Bandol for a winery tour and Cassis to bask in the view of the Mediterranean Sea.   Provence is everything I hoped it would be.

© Penny Klett, Lake Lure Cottage Kitchen. All rights reserved.