Rain again. We’d hoped not, but the predictions came true plus they’ve extended the wet forecast until Thursday. We’re disappointed for LFW as she’s not getting great weather. She’s used to New Orleans, so this cool and damp weather feels like winter to her. We’re happy for high 40s – mid 50s because we know that it’s in the 20s and snowy at home.
We start our day in our favorite way—with a trip to the café and some Internet time. We’re going to Les Arcs sur Argens today—I’ve been lobbying for about a week to visit Maison des Vins Côtes de Provence. I’ve read some about it in Kristin Espinasse’s French Word-a-Day blog. It caught my attention because we’d visited the area in 2008 —the Sainte Roseline Vineyard for a tour and tasting and eaten lunch in a small café in Les Arcs.
Maison des Vins is a slick way to encounter the wines of this area—they offer 800 at the same prices as you’d find visiting the individual vineyards. You can taste up to 16 wines a visit at no charge. The young man who assists LFW and CA with their tasting is likable and helpful—gift wrapping the special wine from Cuers that LFW is buying for a friend who’s family originated in that town. We’re charmed.
When we drive to Les Arcs for lunch, CA and I try to i.d. the small café we visited two years ago, but to no avail. We eventually have lunch at the obvious choice, Café de la Tour, for the plat du jour. Both CA and LFW order duck—two different preparations. CA’s is roasted, sliced, and served in a Morel mushroom sauce with pan roasted potatoes mixed with haricot verts. It’s spectacular. LFW’s is 1/4 roasted duck with pomme frites, which she thoroughly enjoys
On the way back to the car park, we see signs for the 11th century Medieval Village of Les Arcs and decide to check it out. We love it! People live here, there are no shops or boutiques--it's a slice of old France and feels real.
After lunch we drive back to Sainte Roseline Vineyard but are disappointed to find that the Chapelle is not open on Mondays. This time we won’t get to see the shrunken remains of Sainte Roseline as she lies in-state near the altar. We wander about the tasting room; no one is interested in engaging us in conversation or a sales pitch, so we take a few photos and decide to drive LFW to Callas to the olive oil mill.
We again totally enjoy the drive from La Motte to Callas—because of the rain we don’t have the same spectacular scenery, but it’s still lovely. When we arrive at the olive mill, there are more vats of olives ready for processing today, and as before we’re allowed to wander freely amongst the processing stations. LFW totally enjoys the olive oil mill, and we are reaffirmed in our earlier purchases when she selects the same olive oil. We’re all smiling as we head back to the car.
CA does such a fine job of driving us around, and it’s not easy. There are many narrow lanes, sharp curves, unguarded cliff sides, round-abouts, and one way streets in the towns and villages in the Var, and the A8 has its own challenges. Usually by around 4:00pm he’s done-in and ready to take us back to the villa.
We’ll eat in again tonight, so CA and I walk down the hillside to the boulangerie for two baguettes, pear-lemon-apple tarts, and a quick trip to Carrefour for peppers, shallots, and mushrooms. LFW makes a great salad, and I whip up an omelette stuffed with the vegetables and the semi-soft goat cheese the cheese monger gifted us with at the Provençal Market in Antibes yesterday.
We’re going to Nice tomorrow, even in the rain, for some shopping. If it’s too wet for the Marche aux Fleurs, we’ll come back on Wednesday so we can get the full effect, and have lunch at Safari. Maybe it won’t rain tomorrow…