Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Walter at Christine's, Saignon

We had the pleasure of being joined by friends for a week this year. When you really love a place, like we love the Luberon and Saignon in particular, it is great fun seeing people discovering it through new eyes.

Duck and trout at L'Estrade in St Saturnin.

 The best lunches in the Luberon based on our experience.

Back street, Menerbes

Post box, Menerbes

Faded/preserved wall, Menerbes

This wall is a time capsule, sort of. I looked and it seems to have been tended to. A nice reminder of the past.

Impromptu art, Menerbes.

There is a little allee in Menerbes with four of these little filled-in windows. Since our first trip to Provence, we have seen these. I do not know if they were commissioned or very careful graffiti. I am not even sure if they are still the originals. I like the wandering outside the lines and the colors.

Obligatory cliched shot of tile roofs from above.

I couldn't stop myself.......twice. Shooting and posting.

Huge graffiti, Menerbes

Really, on an ancient wall?!?

Dance lessons, Menerbes

Too bad they were closed for the season. Looks like Provencal swing dancing. Maybe you could go in June Harvey and Carol;-}

No parking/ Rust never sleeps

A double no parking sign over a spot that was so out of the way nobody would think of parking there anyway. Must be a bad neighbor.

Scallions, Coustellet

I sauteed a couple of these and added them to the gravy described in the post below.

Waiting for Poulet

There is a tent at the Coustellet market that sells wonderful roasted chickens. As the birds turn on their spits, the drippings fall on sliced potatoes and garlic. There are numerous grades and sizes of birds. There is always a long line. These people were just ahead of us and were trying to decide. We had no such problem. We got the farm raised, free range, eat bugs, scratch around, large bird with extra gravy and a double serving of potatoes. Then we wandered into the market and picked out our veggie of the day. Dinner was grand.

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Market, Coustellet

Ahhhhh, the produce in Provence. Sigh

Market, Coustellet

All of the Autumn flowers were out and plants suitable for Autumn planting were everywhere. The oleanders looked beautiful. I hate going to nurseries away from home. There are rows of beautiful plants that you can't bring home and wouldn't grow there if you could.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Ceramic birds, Coustellet

Red mullet, Coustellet.

The fish are always fresh and clear eyed at the markets. Only 45 minutes from the Mediterranean. If you cook for yourself you have to go online and find out the fish names, but it's worth it.

A price for every pocketbook!, Apt

This is sort of nice. There is a price for a regular meal, one for students and a baby menu. All reasonable. Students tend to stay in Apt over lunch and it's nice to see that they can go to a good little bistro and get a good meal and sit with friends.

Decor store, Coustellet

A nice variety of decorative objets.

Warty squash, Coustellet

Probably delicious.

Decorated stone, Apt

Thym te Voila, Apt

This is a panorama of the square outside of Thym te Voila. See two posts below.

Cat curtains, Apt

Thym te Voila, Apt

 Thym te Voila is a wonderful restaurant in an internal square in Apt. The chef/owner is famous for trying all kinds of fusion dishes and different flavors, in the heart of very traditional Provence.
 We made reservations on market day and arrived at 12:30. The square was filled with local people winding down from the big market day, that runs until 12:00.
 Most of his dishes are either vegetarian, vegan or seafood. The bowl on the left was a wonderful, North African spiced zucchini soup with roasted black sesame seeds on top.
 This was a vegetarian lasagne.
 Even the bread basket was non-traditional.
 The menu. Click on the picture to enlarge.
The front of the restaurant. Inside it is warm and cozy with the wonderful scents of his cooking. We sat in the outside square twice, and, on a nippy day, huddled inside. Wonderful.

Market day, Apt

 Apt has a huge market every Saturday. Despite it being a weekly occurrence, it is a truly big deal. People turn out in droves and every street is lined with vendors of food, wine, clothing and smaller stuff. It seems to be where a lot of people stock up for the week. After time all of the vendors and locals know each other. As a tourist I have discovered that you should do a full tour of the market early to scout (there is a sparse crowd before 9:00 as the vendors set up.) Pick your favorites and then go back and see if the residents shop there. We found a few cheese vendors that only sold a couple of types from huge wheels and, somehow, after a lifetime in the business, always cut at least double the amount of cheese that you asked for and wrapped it very quickly.

The really good vendor sold myriad cheeses and had a crowd three deep at his stall. Always got a fair deal from him.

End of our daily walk, Saignon

This is the end of the walk we take every afternoon, to help overcome our daily lunch indulgence. We do a sort of figure eight around the town and end here. Always a lovely sight.

Little terraced garden, Apt

Waiting for the tow.

These were taken right after my famous dumbass moment of putting 12 liters of gasoline into the tank of our diesel rental. As ever, Janie did the heavy lifting with her French and her ability to deal with service people.

When we realized my mistake, the girl at the gas pumps helped push the car over out of the way. Janie called Sixt, our rental company, and went through reporting our mistake. In my defense this is, apparently, a common problem and not only with elderly Americans. Sixt sent a tow truck to take it to be pumped out, at our expense, at a garage. Janie did all of the talking and this man arrived and picked up the car and drove off.

Suddenly, there we were in the LeClerc parking lot, with two huge bags of groceries, ten miles from our house. Yikes. We went to the service desk in LeClerc, a chain of French supermarkets, and asked for taxi company numbers. They gave us six and Janie called them all and they had no cabs!?! We went back to the service desk and the woman had to call three more before we got a cab back to Saignon. From what I could determine, if a taxi company in France/Provence?/Apt? has all it's cabs in use, it says no cabs. They don't give you a wait time or take your name and address and send a cab later. There must be a logic to this, but it had us looking at a ten mile walk up a steep hill with two heavy bags. Scary prospect late in the day.

All's well that ends well. We got the cab and the next day our friend Gary Brown took us to get the car....28 km away!

Monday, January 7, 2013

Two ads, Apt

This just seemed to be an odd place to put your motorbike ad.

Pizza at Pizzeria O'Grill, Apt

If I'm spending my money on a pizza in the Luberon this would be my first choice. Unbelievably thin, slightly burned crust, homemade tomato sauce, lovely tangy cheese and minimal toppings. They also have the best hot oil in the region to pour on top. My second choice is Paolo's in Isle sur la Sorgue.

Cafe doors, Apt

Carousel, Apt

This was set up in Apt's parking lot for most of our visit. It opened after school and ran until dinner time.

For sale, as is, holds a lot for it's size. Bonnieux

But a very small driver's seat.

Lion, Bonnieux

A forlorn little kitty, with a lot of charm.

Gecko, Bonnieux

Recycling bins, Saignon

 The French, and I imagine, the rest of Europe, recycle more aggressively than we do. These bins and the tubs nearby let you recycle, easily, almost all plastic, glass and paper. People do it almost as second nature. The only things that don't get recycled, apparently, are the metal caps on glass bottles. Thus the detail below.

Driveway on our walk, Saignon

The more often you walk a path, the more you notice. This driveway is lined almost exclusively with roadside weed trees, including a Sumac that turned flame red as the visit went on. It's sort of fun to see trees that epitomize wild weedy growth placed in a formal setting and trimmed. The Italian cypress looks all the more stately for the contrast.


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