France is plagued by strikes during tourist season! An ungodly siren went off several times at Gare Lyon. I actually thought that it was signaling an attack. Turns out that it was announcing a strike. Several men came marching through the station yelling, playing drums, blowing whistles, and holding signs. Wasn’t sure if we would be able to pass them to get to our track. My response was to dance to the drum music. Figured what the hell! Settled into our seats, opened up a sandwich and a small bottle of Rose that I had purchased at the station. This is France,” C’est la vie!” Next stop Avignon and on to Chateau Talaud. After settling in, head to the night market at Velleron. Arrived in time to see a game of Boules. The game involves throwing heavy balls on the dirt and betting on where the balls land. Decided to pass on the invitation to place my bet. Velleron is a local open produce market. Found one vender who could speak a little English. Not the friendliest experience! There was a chicken man at the exit. Picked up grilled chicken legs and potatoes. Add to that a bottle of Rose for a great first night in Provence!
Bonnieux is a beautiful town in the Luberon! If it weren’t such a breath taking village the road to get there would curtail the trip. The Luberon is famous for two lane roads that are really one lane. The drive is through the woods. Every now and then a French delivery truck comes speeding down the hill seemingly not aware that it is a two-lane road. It really is a thrill ride! First thoughts enter a gallery and stop cursing! Suddenly very hungry! Run to a small café. Nowhere to sit, of course. A lovely French couple waves us toward their table. They proceed to translate everything on the menu for us. One of the best lunches! It really is all about the people!
Grab a cup of coffee. Hear this announcement, “The hunters are here.” We’re in a Chateau so who knows what is expected. Go to the front door. There are 10 hunters wearing bright yellow vests with 10 dogs wearing bells. Wild boar is their game. The owners share photos of two boar shot last week. Now that is a strange looking animal! The teeth are gigantic! Immediate thought, “Better not sleep walk at the Chateau!” My son suggested that I write a mystery called “Croissants and Murder.” Possibly a Tarantino movie someday. The grapes were taken from the vineyard that same day. So beautiful, large trucks full of deep blue perfect grapes. Compare the grapes on the ground to the wine in the apartment. Nice!
L’isle Sur Le Sorgue is known for three things. Called the Venice of France, has the biggest open market in Provence, known for amazing antique stores. There are canals and water wheels through out L’isle Sur Le Sorgue. To say that this town is sensory overload is an understatement! You can find wine, olives, farm produce, Foie gras, tapestries, baskets flowers, clothing etc. ! The dealers are entertaining! You have to buy something. Pick up a bottle of Rosé, bread, and fruit! Stop to enjoy an espresso out side. Catch live jazz at 10:00 in the morning. Notice that the French are drinking beer at the café. An unusual French breakfast in my opinion. What do I know? My French friend Nicolas prefers a cookie and Red Bull for breakfast. So much to learn about the most romantic culture in the world!
On to Roussillon, which offers another type of sensory overload. A town famous for its colorful cliffs and ochre deposits. Colors vary from yellow to purple with shades of pink in between. A perfect natural pallet. Artists flock here to buy raw pigments for outdoor painting. I was inspired by another type of colorfulness. Met a local woman who was greeting everyone in the café. Colorful but simple style of dress this woman had an aura about her. Complimented her in my limited French. Snapshot of the two of us followed.