Tuesday, May 21, 2019

A Taste of Beaune

I think our first visit to Beaune was in 1979. Maybe 1989. Beaune is the capital of my long-time favored wines, Burgundy, so we have gotten to Beaune pretty much every time we have been in France. A few past posts are http://roadeveron.blogspot.com/2011/07/beaune.htmlhttp://roadeveron.blogspot.com/2013/09/beaune-2013.html, and http://roadeveron.blogspot.com/2011/07/hotel-dieu.html. Apart from the wines, the old town is also a beautiful and happenin' place. But this visit was about doing the Patriarche tasting just one more time. Patriarch is or was the largest of the negotiants, blenders and marketers of the wines, which mostly are from smaller plots, not huge corporate estates. I think I have been doing Patriarche since 1979 too, so I'll keep this post short (for me) and to the point. There were ten bottles to try, thus...
The little silver cup is what they give you to taste from...quantity control

This time of year, even in the mid-afternoon, I was one of only about 6 visitors
there; accordingly, there is only one sommelier to watch over the ten bottles (each
in a different room); lack of quantity control, but I still wanted to drive on to
Bourges and so didn't over-indulge; I even spat and poured some out (the cheap
stuff) (under 30E), a sign of increasing maturity

At the end the sommelier was there to offer me a bonus taste...a choice between
the Puligny-Montrachet or the Pernand Verglesses...I went with the latter since
it was the first bottle of good French wine I ever purchased...way back in 1979

On exiting, I missed a turn and wound up in the working part of the caves,
reflecting that this might be a really neat place to get locked-up in over-night,
especially if you carried a corkscrew (which I always do, of course)

I leave you with this parting thought: "Wine has the power to fill the soul with
all truth, all knowledge and philosophy" (maybe I should have drunk more in
graduate school)

And this image: the Beaune Tourist Train of Great Velocity

Unplanned Stop In Laveyron

Next day, from Orange we continued driving north, toward our goal for the day, Beaune. But in St. Vallier we began hearing a disturbing clunking noise. We stopped, and examination revealed an overheated rear passenger wheel. We noticed we were just a block from the municipal campground so we pulled in there, hoping to find some recommendations about local garages. The office was closed until 4PM, of course, so we had lunch, and I went for a walk in the direction of several garages Google Maps had shown. Lo and behold, the first I came upon, perhaps a mile away, was an authorized Fiat shop that said camping-cars were welcome. Indeed a few were being worked on. Nobody spoke English, nor I French, so we communicated via Google Translate: "can you have the car here within 40 minutes?" "Oui." "Then our mechanic will look at it." "Oui, magnifique." Long story short is that it took him but a few minutes to get it up on the lift, break it all down, a bit longer to track down parts on the phone, and then inform us "You will spend tonight in the garage." Apparently we were not the first campers to need such help and spend the night there. The shop closed at 7, and, in addition to getting us out of the continuing mistral provided us with electricity and strong WiFi. The garage opened again next morning at 7. By 9:30 we were back on the road to Beaune, with a replaced axle stub and kit, delighted that we'd lost only a few hours of driving, and that the bill was a good bit less than expected. Magnifique! The name of the garage, in Laveyron, is Garage du Belvedere. Super people!
Our campsite for the night of May 14th

The view

Source of clunking noise

Great place

"Your camping-car is in good hands"...indeed!

Orange, 2019

We visited Orange in 2012 (https://roadeveron.blogspot.com/2012/08/orange-roman-theatre.html and
https://roadeveron.blogspot.com/2012/08/orange-arch.html) but thought both the theater and arch worth another stop. Both are signifgicant vestiges of the Roman world, the theater possibly the largest extant and the arch the largest outside Rome itself.
Celebrating the many victories of the II Legion, whose veterans were given land

Us, there

Street scene

Scenes of the humongous theater

Peering through to the seats within
The main building facade is more than 100m wide

Adjacent forum

Non-Roman statue celebrating it all

I read enough French to get this and then look skyward for threatening clouds...

Memorable miniatures shoppe we visited in 2012

Any place he sat, spat...wait, no...

Ghost signage for former campground 

Love the "Hotellerie de plein air" thing

L'Isle Sur La Sorgue

L'Isle sur la Sorgue is famous mostly for its 300 antiques dealers and Sunday antiques/brocantes market. We were there is 2017 and were knocked out, not so much by the antiques as by the ambiance of the place. We like water features, and LSLS has channeled the Sorgue to render the place nearly a water park. An old French water park. We'd wanted to go there the week before, but the mistral dissuaded us. How can you hold an outdoor market in a gale?! Another mistral descended almost as soon as we got there, finally, a week later, but the place was still enchanting and nobody among the thousands there seemed much bothered by the perpetual gale force winds. Provence is nice for many reasons, but the mistral is not one of them. At least it keeps everything swept up nicely. An assortment of pix...
Sic transit, Gloria...once a beautiful old home

Sunset on one of the channels of the Sorgue

A memorable lunch for me at Au Chineur, a popular bistro

Slice of layered omelette with salad, black olives and a red

White fish and sauce with a cheesy risotto; the sauce was a
lemony flavor with a trace of saffron; Vicki's steak and frites
were perhaps not so memorable

Sunday was indeed market day, but, surprisingly to us, there were no antique nor
brocante nor junque dealers; obviously we missed something; nonetheless we got
to see another large French market, crafts, food, clothes, art...and people

LSLS cathedral, or maybe just parish church

Famous prayer: "Our pastis, who art very fresh, may your bottle be sanctified..."
Tres spirituel...

On one day we also visited one of the many antique sites

Behind one of larger dealers, a channel of the Sorgue

Quintessential L'Isle sur la Sorgue, no?

How to sell chapeaux et casquettes in a gale

More water features

And market

Meanwhile, back at the aire de camping-cars by the gare