Monday, June 13, 2011

France's Reddest Town + Penance at the Abbey and Pretty Villages on High

13.06.11 Tough Guide at Abbaye Senanque, great pics (I think!) of hilltop villages of Gordes & Roussillon (reddest town in France), then late dinner at Adam’s Table.
It is 10.30pm and 22 degrees Celsius as I write this.
Been quite a day, finished just now with a superb “accidental” meal at La Table d’Adam in the town, accidental because our first choice was closed, our second full but the proprietor there kindly sent us 500 metres up the street to Adam’s.
For €23.00, I enjoyed a classically balanced cuttlefish salad, followed by gurnard (maybe red mullet) with a beautiful rice and tapenade accompaniment, polished off by a Raspberry Tiramisu. For Amuse Bouche, we were served tapenade with little rings of toast and the wine was an excellent Rose from the nearby Mas de la Dame.
Great stuff all round, finished off as a little lizard raced up and down and across the white wall behind me!
Roussillon. More photos here

The day began in sombre circumstances, in the cool rooms and chapels of the 13th century Cistercian Monastery of Senanque. Our guide had us for an hour and, though she lost the dressing room after a nonstop 20 minute opening lecture in French to the largely foreign group, she kept going and kept us under thumb until the last minute of the hour. The best views of the abbey are from the hills as you dip down into the valley and the austere rooms have little of interest to the layman, except maybe for the cloisters.
This is the place regularly seen on postcards with neat rows of lavender in bloom. But today’s lavender was well off that stage and that was another let-down.
Back then to the fantastic town of Gordes which clings to the hilltop. Lovely village, parking €3.00 (which is standard enough around here). Again though, the best views are as you approach; that is the time to take your pics, if you can find a safe place to park, not always easy on the narrow roads.
One more village to see today and that was Roussillon, not too far away. This is the town of ochre and they say 17 shades have been used in and around the village. And that seems to be confirmed by a walk-around. One of the few hilltop villages best seen close-up and there are also views of the cliffs from which the many coloured stones have been hewn.
Not sure that Rosé is one of the shades but I couldn’t resist buying a bottle of the local wine from a lovely young man who assured me it was his favourite. It is now in the fridge!