22 November 2010

FRANCE: Day 3 - Gourdon y Gorges du Loup

After café crème at tout le monde en parle—the café in the small shopping center just down the hill from Club Mougins--we drive up to Gourdon, a gorgeous medieval village, and are enrapture by the panoramic view. From Place Victoria there’s a sweeping 80km of coastline from Nice to Théoule-sur-Mer. The day is perfect after a night of rain; we have temperatures exceeding 60˚ and sunshine. The Loup (river) is miles below us, yet we hear its rushing currents.

We make an obvious choice and have lunch at Auberge de Gourdon. No disappointment here—we quickly decide this is our best meal so far. (Laughing as we say it since our only other meal so far was pizza yesterday in Cannes.) Coq au Vin with potatoes dauphinoise, and courgettes. Superb! And, this Coq au Vin includes beef, as well as the traditional chicken, braised in wine. The sauce is divine, and every drop is captured via the Poulaine-like bread.

After lunch, we drive s-curves and switchbacks up and down, around, and along the Loup River to Gorges du Loup, Tourretes-sur-Loup, Vence, Saint Paul-de-Vence, ending in Cagnes-sur-Mer. Absolutely stunning vistas, ravines, gorges, waterfalls, architecture, tunnels… We continuously gasp with delight over the beauty of this region and look forward to sharing this drive with LFW when she joins us at the end of next week.

Our Internet connection at Club Mougins is total crap, so we head to La Terrazza, our local Italian café for free WiFi and dinner. Whoops! They’re open only until 7:00pm—lunch service only and bar service in the early evening. We order some Beaujolais and carafe d’eau and boot up without much difficulty. After a few minutes online, we discuss dinner plans and then I walk to Carrefour for ingredients for pasta.

I dither a bit, and finally decide on tomato and basil sauce, with ground beef, garlic, and Beaujolais over mini fusilli. I settle for the inferior Carrefour baguette because I’m not sure the bolangerie is still open, knowing we can lightly toast it to improve its flavor.

Without an oven, we’re limited on culinary selections. We do have two burners, a microwave, and toaster. I don’t plan to cook much, but after a day out-and-about it’s sometimes attractive to stay in with the BBC or a good book. We drove past a promising traiteur (prepared foods, artfully and appetizingly arranged) in Mougins yesterday which we plan to check out later this week.

I’m reading The Girl who Played with Fire, the second in Karl Larsson’s series of three. He was a good writer who died soon after delivering the three novels for publication.

Carrefour carries the delicious Révillon chocolates we discovered two years ago at the Renaissance Place Vendome. I resisted them morning, but made a special trip into Carrefour this afternoon to rectify that mistake.

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