Tour of Provence – June 11-21, 2017
Day 1, June 11th – Avignon to L’Aube Safran, Le Barroux in the Mount Ventoux area
I was ready and packed by mid morning so I went out to have one last look around the city but it was just too hot. In the morning, as it was Sunday, nothing much was open with air conditioning – it was already 32 C and heading for 34 C. So I returned to the B&B and wrote emails in the relative cool of the foyer. Corinne, from Lifestyle Vacations, contacted me and said that she and the American family were having lunch at a restaurant in the main square – did I want to join them? I said yes, as I didn’t want to sit in the B&B foyer for another hour – and I hadn’t had lunch.
I got there quite quickly and ordered a melon and prosciutto salad but it took forever to come and was presented quite differently to Corinne’s meal (the same salad) but it was refreshing. I guess with most of the restaurant patrons being tourists, there isn’t the same need to keep your customers happy!
I met the American family who were also on the tour, and they were very nice. They had chosen the itinerary of the tour and I was effectively ‘tagging’ along, but paying my share. In hindsight, I would prefer an itinerary with less wine, fewer fancy restaurant meals and more cooking classes – which evidently is the normal type of tour that Corinne provides.
After lunch we all walked back to the B&B and collected my bags and then walked a short distance to the car park building.
Corinne had a large Mercedes 8-seater which meant that as there were only six of us, we had plenty of room (especially once the luggage was out!)
We were later arriving at L’Aube Safran than planned and everyone was exhausted (the family had just arrived from New York) so we didn’t go and see the goat farm at milking time. However, there was a lovely swimming pool!
Because of the heat, the planned itinerary ‘melted’ and there were several changes to it and in the end we didn’t get to see any goat farms on our trip.
Before dinner we enjoyed aperitifs by the pool – served by Corinne!
The dinner was exquisite – made by Marie who is a chef – we had a version of gazpacho (cold tomato soup) served in a glass but it was nothing like I had had or seen before – the colour had changed to orange (it had been aerated) and the flavour was so subtle. Forgot to take a photo before I drank it!
Then we had a cold zucchini souffle (above) – but again, different. Made with baby zucchinis and only egg white and cooked in a water bath. Next was veal in a yummy sauce with vegetables on the side and bread baked by the monks in the Abbey up the hill.
Fresh goats’ cheese was next (the soft stuff – about 3 days old) and then a baked apricot custard (clafoutis).
The light red wine we had with the meal was delicious but I am not used to drinking that much wine!
The bedroom at L’Aube Safran (they grow saffron) was lovely – I was lucky and had windows on two aspects so I got a through breeze, as although we were much higher than Avignon, it was still very hot, and at night as well. There was no airconditioning in the rooms and no fans – the high temperatures that were happening were unusual for this time of the year – they were what would be expected in July/August, not in June.
My photos of my room aren’t great as the ‘operator’ hadn’t read the camera instructions at this point! Have a look at the photos on their website – L’Aube Safran
There was a living area that guests could use.
The views were wonderful and the villa had been totally renovated by Marie and Francois.