Sunday, February 7, 2010

Driving Driving Driving Driving

After the aborted mission to find the mountain towns the day before, we hit the patisserie next to the hotel for breakfast and headed to the train station to buy a real map,  The pastry shop was tiny, but really good -  the quiche was great (I think it was Lorraine, but I can't remember at this point) and the chocolates were labeled "Chocolatherapie."  The bakery window faced the street and the old delivery bike was just underneath, how cool would it be to have your hot bread delivered by a cute boy on a bike?  A few circles around the train station parking lot later, we complete the map mission and decided upon three towns: Carpentras, Gordes and Rousillon.  Carpentras because it is their market day, Gordes because it is supposed to be one of the prettiest towns, and Rousillion because it is made entirely of red clay.

The Carpentras market was huge - I think over 350 stalls of stuff, but they wound around the town streets in no apparent order.  We wanted to find the truffle market, but got so caught up in the interesting stuff - definitely hit this market if you are looking for cheap Frederick's of Hollywood knock-offs or the very sexy nightwear of adult footie pajamas.  I took the photo, and the vender started yelling at me, "Pas des photos!"  Seriously, don't take a photo of these for what possible reason?  Because I might want to copy them and he has a patent on the ugliest pajamas ever?  I told him I deleted it, but guess what? HA, here it is!

The prettiest bakery/gift shop was just around the corner, and I wanted to move in and live there, in the back of the shop, gorging myself on confiture (marmalade) of clementines until my skin turned orange.  And then I would move on the pastries, chocolates and amazing tea selection.  Jouvaud has a blog - in French - but the pictures are so pretty, check it out Maison Jouvaud and their website too - Maison Jouvard.  IF I ever get to have my own shop, it will be very similar, I just felt at home there, the service was great, the displays were clever, and the merchandise was beautiful.  Everything in the shop was for sale - even the mirror in the bathroom.  I could write a whole blog post on this place.  But I won't today.  We had tea and a canelle, I bought a scoop like the olive sellers use, but without the holes, only 10 euros, and they gift-wrapped it beautifully.  

We shared some Florentines - almonds in caramel on top of dark chocolate, and went back to the crazy market and stocked up on a rotisserie chicken, bread, apples, more cookies - macarons - and some supplies - a badly needed wine opener and another set of cookies I couldn't resist from the supermarket.  The macarons are different in Provence, much bigger, more almond-tasting, and cone shaped.  I like them better than the fancy-shmancy Parisian sandwich shaped one. I ate them all, so I don't have a close-up photo, so peek at the macaron baker's cart as best you can.

The Macaron Man and the Paella Guy

We navigated to Gordes, named one of the most beautiful villages in France, but I think I saw 5 of those signs, so it might not such a huge accolade. The home of many painters, and the Marquis de Sade, it is now the summer homes of movie stars and politicians, and the author of a Year in Provence, Peter Mayle, lives in a nearby village. 

The Creepy View of the Marquis de Sade's Palace, rumor has it that many a villager disappeared through this very entrance.

In the summer, it must be packed with tourists, but it was almost deserted, and we could barely find a place to use the bathroom - luckily we needed a glass of wine too, so made a pit stop at a little cafe in the town square.  Gordes was the home of a strong Resistance group during WWII, and the cemetary had a special area for those who died fighting the German occupation.  Our picnic on the gorge was spectacular, a business man stopped and wished us "Bon Appetit."  

I feel as though I have seen this landscape painted by Cezanne, but I can't find out for certain.  Please tell me if you recognize it.  We thought about going to the lavender museum, and another place where some old huts (bories) showed how people lived a bunch of years ago, but decided to go to Roussillon instead.  The drive through the valley and up the hills reminded me of driving in Spain with Leslie (was that 10 years ago already?)

Next stops: Roussillon and Marseilles.


  1. Did you buy me pair of those Orange PJ's? They are Fab! I bet you weren't as hung over on THIS drive as the one in Spain! ;)

  2. That picnic looks amazing with that backdrop... so beautiful!


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