I am really embarrassed to keep droning on that this place or that was amazing or beautiful . I assume to readers (and believe it or not my stats are going crazy on WordPress) it gets old or sounds patronizing.
The problem is that I am lost for words on this trip. Sure, places come and go and as such some leave endearing memories and some do the opposite. In truth, since we arrived in Monaco two days ago after a less than stellar night in San Remo we have been awed at every turn.
As we left the coast and wound our way into the Luberon it was unmistakably a place of wonder. The colours of the stone houses, the colours of the shutters on the stone houses, the villages after villages of stone houses scream bienvenue. The temperature has hovered in the mid to high 20’s. We sat by the pool this morning at Nathalie’s AirBnB. I sat under one of her olive trees when the sun was high.
At noon we set out to visit several villages that I had lusted after touring since the first time I saw “A Good Year” with Russel Crowe several years ago. For those who have seen the film you may remember his ancestral Chateau and the accompanying vineyard. Well just after our first stop in Cucuron (google that) we arrived at that exact vineyard and it was exactly as we had seen in the movie.
We were the only ones there and as such had to ring the door bell of the cave for the vintner to come from the barrels to open up his tasting room. This young man had our undivided attention for 45 minutes of uninterrupted wine tasting and a plethora of information about the winery and the surrounding area. This short yet so very enjoyable visit was sadly not long enough. We left with a case of my favourites including two bottles of the Coin Perdu. Three times more expensive than the other house wines but what are you gonna do. With Hollywood fame comes its spoils. http://chateaulacanorgue.com/gb/gb/
From Chateau la Canorgue we drove North towards Gordes. This town stands proud on the side of a mountain with a vista southwards back towards the villages I mentioned above as well as Lacoste. You will see several photos I took of this and other villages in this page. I was suitably impressed. After several walks of discovery around these wonderful places, we took the recommendation of our new vintner friend and we headed for Lourmarin and a restaurant called Nonni’s.
We were told to arrive at opening time or be damned to find a seat. In very french fashion this place opens at 7:30 and is open until 10:30 6 days a week. If you want to eat at Nonni’s have a reservation or have the luck of the Irish. Luckily Angus has been drinking an ungodly amount of Guinness throughout our journey so maybe we have become Irish by osmosis.
We arrived just before 7:30 and softly enquired about the possibility of a table. There was no-one in there. The young lady looked at us like we had three heads. Have you a reservation? I replied “no”. She walked away and returned soon to let us know she had one table available. We jumped on it. Once sat we ordered a drink and perused the menu. Very reasonable prices and a good reputation with the locals, tres bien!
I had the menu du jour and Angus had a wood fired pizza to which he remarked “I’m in love”. Hefty praise from this pizza inhaler. My meal started with sardines on crostini with local greens and lots of fresh lemon wedges. That was followed by spaghetti carbonara. So good and followed by Tiramisu. What helped us from not quickly devouring this fabulous meal was the lovely couple in their late 60’s who soon arrived and sat beside us. They were spending there 16th fall in the area from Michigan. They were both fluent french speakers and Very interesting. Neither Buffy or Chip would have mixed well with these folks. They asked us if we had room for them at home if Trump wins. I said sure, what the hell they were nice. We talked about living in France and lots about tennis for a couple of hours.
Clearly this lifestyle is appealing to lots of people from lots of different countries. It is no mystery, this place suits me down to the ground. If you don’t believe me do your own research, or better yet come and see for yourself. On second thoughts don’t, I may not get that last minute table at Nonni’s if I encourage too many of you.