Vive la France!

Vive la France!

Welcome to my blog -- follow us as we travel around France.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Provence - Day 4: Les Baux de Provence

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

We are at the McDonalds in Cavaillon.  Mom is drinking a petit cafe and I'm drinking a "Coca Light" and using the free Wi-Fi.

After yesterday's clouds, we were happy to see blue skies and sunshine this morning.  We left right after breakfast, heading for St. Remy and Les Baux.  It was market day in St. Remy, and it was a mad house.  No place to park, so we drove straight through for Les Baux. 

St. Remy is where Vincent Van Gogh spent a year in an sanitarium and where he painted many of his most famous paintings.  He painted over 140 paintings while he was here. Unfortunately, there are none of his original paintings here, or in Arles either, which is where he spent a couple of years.  We came here in 2005, so didn't feel bad that we didn't stop.  There are also some Roman ruins close by.  I wanted to stop, but when Mom waved the handicap placard at the parking attendant, they made us go across the road - I guess they thought we wanted to see those Roman ruins.  Where they took us was too far for Mom to walk back over to see what are labeled as The Antiquities, so we just went on to Les Baux.

When we got to Les Baux, the parking lot closest to the entrance was already full, but this time when Mom waved the placard it got results and we got a spot close to the main entrance to the village.  When were here 5 years ago, Mom was tired so stayed in the car while I went into the village, which is built up the side of a cliff.  This time, she went into the village with me, but it was hard-going as the cobblestones are very big and uneven.  We walked a little way and went into a couple of shops.  We also went to the Santon Museum.  Santons are "little saints" made of clay and dressed in cloth clothing.  They have been made since the 17th century and there is a man in Les Baux who still makes them.  I took some pictures in the museum, and also bought one from the craftsman.

We had a wonderful lunch in Les Baux, a Provencal specialty of poached cod and vegetables, including steamed califlower, potato, carrot, and zuccini.  There was a huge glob of aioli (mayonaise) and a hardboiled egg, too.  It was really good -- the fish and vegetables were perfectly cooked.

Unfortunately, the restroom at the restaurant wasn't well suited for Mom, so we walked up a ways and found a cafe with a better restroom.  She stayed there with a cup of coffee while I went exploring further up the hill.  There's a chateau at the top of the hill, but I didn't go in as I didn't want to leave Mom too long.

We left La Baux around 2 and headed back home through St. Remy again.  We got home and I hung out the towels we washed this morning and grabbed the laptop, so we could go looking for Wi-Fi.

We have a little pet!  Mom has a little salamander in her shower.  We think it came in through the window in her bathroom, which we left open.  It's been there since yesterday.  This afternoon I tried to tease it onto a broom handle so I could take it outside, but it wasn't interested.  It doesn't seem to bother Mom, but I'm glad it's not in my shower!  I believe the salamander was the symbol of one of the royal families of France, or perhaps of one of the cities -- can't remember which, I'll have to look it up -- so maybe it is lucky to have one...or not.

One of the things we have noticed is how the grapes grow here compared to Burgundy.  In Burgundy, the grapes are grown in perfectly pruned manicured rows.  In Provence, the grapes are allowed to grow as they want and are not severely pruned.  A lot of produce is grown in this region, including apples.  The apple trees are smaller than what we have in Eastern Washington and in many places they are espladed (not sure how to spell that) - grown on wires.  We've seen red apples as well as what appear to be Golden Delicious.  The produce in the supermarket is labelled to show its country of origin.  Most everything comes from France, except bananas, pineapple, kiwis, and avacados.

All for now.  We need to get back to the house.  It will probably be Saturday before I do another posting.

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