Wednesday, July 25, 2012

A Dozen Snaps of France

I have winnowed the usual indecent pile of holiday snaps down to a dozen. I am hoping that it will be sort of like Goldilocks and the Three Bears -  not too much (aka hot), and not too little aka cold).

Our first dinner after we arrived in Beauvoisin - thank you Kevin & Colleen.
This is where I spent countless hours watching little lizards. They are masters of go-go-stop-look and then stop some more-look-look-look. I still have much to learn from them.
Michel & Mirielle run an amazing B&B, and you can meet them in more detail on Colleen’s blog. L-R: Michel and then Dave (a long-time friend of the four of us who joined us with wife, Cheryl), Colleen & Andreas. Here, we are enjoying appies on Michel & Mirielle's patio.
A great deal of our out and about time was spent shopping for food and wine. This was what was left in the Chantilly bowl at the market in Nimes after Andreas bought just a bit  to go with our fresh strawberries. The bowl is huge. Trust me.
Cheese selection at the Nimes indoor market.  Nuff said.

Spices at a stall at the weekend market in Arles. This outdoor market stretches for at least the equivalent of three city blocks and is at least four aisles wide. Mind blowing.

Salade Lyonnais is also worth a mention. If you want to make it with panache, here is the New York Times recipe: The Secret to a Great Salade Lyonnaise 
My version, photographed above, is more in keeping with the style that was served at a casual outdoor lunch we enjoyed in Avignon.The essentials are to make a kick ass green salad, dress it, and then toss it with hot lardons (aka bits of fried bacon), and then to top it with a soft-yolked egg. Easy-peasy.
 Occasionally, we combined history with, well, the usual. Eating. In the last decade of the first century AD, the amphitheatre in Arles was built on the north side of the hill, and was carved right into the rock. You can look up the rest of the history if you are curious. Kevin and Andreas are understandably more focused on the food at hand in this particular moment:

And then there was the Pont de Gare. It is one thing to see and to read about the Roman aqueducts in history books, but it is quite another thing to see them in the flesh, so to speak.
Andreas and Colleen just taking it all in. Of course, only the aqueducts that worked are still standing. Even the Romans sometimes got it wrong. Human error and human excellence are both constants.

I could not resist running my hand over this inscription made by a long-ago mason. A way of touching.

Ah, yes, the Abbaye Notre-Dame de S̩nanque. Lavender is grown by the monks as a cash crop (tourists being another cash crop Рand fair enough).

On the less than holy side is the tradition of bull fighting in the south of France. Colleen did a great video The photo beneath was taken by Andreas when he and Kevin took in a bull fight. At these events, the bulls do not get stabbed or anything like that. Here the horses are escorting the bull along the road. Even though the bull cannot be seen, trust me, he is in the midst of it all. This is no bull.

Finally, what does it all come down to? Good times. Fine friends. Thank you Kevin & Colleen.
Photo credit - Colleen Friesen.

1 comment:

  1. Ah oui darling,
    What a lovely tribute to our wonderful time together.
    It was such a fun experience.
    I'm so glad you guys came over and helped us drink some of that country's wine and the never-ending platters of lardon!