We have started our efforts to go all 17 wineries in Vinsobres. There are three classifications of wine in ascending order of how special they are: Cotes du Rhone, Cotes du Rhone Village, and Cotes du Rhone Village with the actual name of the Village, like Vinsobres or Seguret. THEN there are the really special ones: Chateauneuf due Papes and Gigondas. Chateauneuf is my favorite wine in the world, so I am in the perfect place.
However, the Vinsobres are nothing to sneeze at and we have bought one bottle from Cave du Moulin and will buy more.
On Monday, we headed out to the small town of Tulette (where the fish seller is from) to experience their market. The market was very nice and we bought some delicious olives and walked around the town with its large church at the top.
Tuesday we headed to Avignon for the Christmas Market and to do some shopping and sightseeing. We had been to Avignon last year and saw the main tourist attractions – the Palace of the Popes and the famous bridge. This time, we planned to do some walking around the older part of town and experience our first Christmas Fair.
However, the Fair was cancelled! We arrive at the Place d’Horologie and there is nothing except some beautiful decorations, but no Market. I go into the Hotel de Ville (City Hall) and ask where it is, thinking we might be in the wrong place. The woman at the desk says, in French of course, that it has been cancelled. I ask, pourquoi? Why? She shakes her head and says that she does not know.
The next day, we ask our hosts and the B&B we stayed in and she said it was because of security. I had heard that this might happen, but just didn’t believe it actually would.
We are hoping the one in Aix is going on, at least.
It is still something of a challenge to be here – driving a shift car, which neither one of us has done in a while, getting used to the roundabouts, trying to navigate in the very busy traffic in the cities, and just the sheer “unknown”. I keep reminding myself that the French are just like us – more or less – and that it is a great thing to be intellectually as well as physically challenged at our age.
Thursday, December 8, 2016. Off to buy some more wine in Vinsobre. We stop in two wineries and buy six bottles at one and one bottle at the other. The first, Domaine St. Vincent, we both loved; the second, not so much.
We also asked the vintner at St. Vincent where we could buy a wine rack. This has been a BIG mystery to us; we are in the land of wine, surrounded by acres and acres of vineyards, some of the greatest wine in the world and we cannot find wine racks.
You would think every store in France would sell them.
When we ask the vintner he has to stop and think. He speaks good English and understands what we are saying and we also know the French word for wine rack, casier du vins. He thinks there is a store in Nyons that might sell them.
When we ask him why there are no wine racks in France, given the amount of wine there is, he laughs and says it is because “we drink it all!”
Off we go to the store he suggests, but of course, no wine racks. We will email our fellow householders and see how they got theirs.
Friday December 9. Another bright day in Mirabel. And I really mean bright. The sun is very, very sharp and strong since there is almost no humidity here and very few clouds. It feels nice, but sometimes makes driving difficult.
Today was my second marketing day. I started at the local market here in Mirabel, buying some lovely red trout for dinner tonight, went onto the boucherie for some Toulouse sausages (simple pork sausage) and later this afternoon did the “big” shopping in the Intermarche in Vaison, our favorite.
Beside the 50 different kinds of yogurt, and the hundreds, literally, of cheeses, there is also just the “regular” stuff, like fresh pasta, sausages, frozen peas, an entire wine department, which also sells liquor, baby clothes, sheets and pillow cases, and every kind of food in every possible manner that you could think of. If this is what the conservative Republicans call “shared poverty” i.e., social democracy, I want my share!
We took a walk today, trying – successfully – to find the very modern houses that we saw last year. There are now three and a fourth is being built. They are all enormous, even by American standards, and quite luxurious with pools. Very interesting architecture, using the plain looking Provencal houses as an inspiration.
Saturday we are off to Recherenches for the famous truffle market which is held every Saturday during the autumn/winter season. They also have a special truffle omelette meal at noon, which we have signed up for. We can’t bring truffles home to the US, so we will eat our fill while we are here!
Our house is on a very small alley. Here are photos of either end; we are more or less in the middle.
That bench is in front of our house.
This garden even looks like this in the winter!