Friday, May 20, 2011

Encore Provence: part 1. Travel and markets

We have stayed in or very near Provence on two occasions in the past, at Uzes and at L’Isle sur la Sorgue. We loved both places but they were fairly full on tourist venues so this time we decided on something a bit more villagey in feel and more to the northern area where there were places to see and things to do that were new to us.

So, on advice from someone who posted on Tripadvisor, we chose to stay in the Tour des Anges in the hamlet of Sablet, quite definitely a working town and not a tourist haunt. The owner, Pippa Gabriel, was delightful to deal with via email so the week long let was settled.

The trip to get there started in Athens on Saturday morning and went by plane to Paris CDG airport. Then via their little train to Terminal 2 where we caught the TGV to Avignon. We were so paranoid about missing this connection that Nick had bought additional tickets for following train three hours later (at the cheap earlybird price), but we actually got from the plane gate to the TGV station in just over an hour, including collecting checked luggage. The train trip was very fast and smooth and we arrived at Avignon at about 5.10pm. From thence via hire car to Sablet, going the long way round because we trusted the GPS instead of Pippa’s wonderful directions. So by the time we arrived the shops were closed and the bar and pizza shop were all that was open. So pizza it was and a bottle of pale Sablet rose.

This is Sablet.
This is Sablet rose, and very good it is too.
SablethouseAnd this is our Tower. The two lower windows are our living room and second bedroom, the slits in the tower our bathroom. The garden window is to the left. gardenwindowAnd this is the view from our garden window, going forever across the vineyards of Cote-de-Rhone.

One of the delights of being in France are the market days in the towns. Sablet does not have its own market, so we decided to visit Malaucene nearby and later Vaison la Romaine. Some images of the markets and shops for you.

This is green asparagus. White asparagus is pristine.

Garlic abounds
The lavender honey was stunning. We bought some!
Naturally shiny strawberries
Lavender products
This is nougat cake
Rolls of Provencale fabric
marketoilGorgeous green, unfiltered olive oil. Bring your own bottle marketlinen
Table cloths. Lovely fabric and colours.
Just right for the grandson
shopflowersThe florist shop was closed for lunch. The flowers remained on display. Who would think of being dishonest here? marketsign
And yes, they do eat horse in France.
A few more interesting things.
These fruit jellies were for sale at a cart at the top of Mt Ventoux. A bit unexpected.
Nodding turtles looked up at me as I took this picture
Next pages will be visits around Sablet.

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