Subject: Provence Remembered: Part 4 of 7
Thursday, August 30, 2001 The weather continues sunny and warm during the day and cool at nights. Ideal. I'm on my way to the Gorges d'Ardeche after Ann decided to remain at the B&B and rest and read for the day.

The plan is to do a circle route around the Gorges d'Ardeche: NE then W and then South back to base.

First task is to buy diesel fuel which is called gazol in France. Second task is to determine how to open the fuel tank cover. After enquiring from the folks in the growing cue behind me and receiving the traditional Gallic shrugs, I finally found the release neatly tucked away by the emergency brake. Tip: read the manual, if only looking at the pictures, before you run out of fuel.

The Gorges is the French version of the Grand Canyon. Great fun to drive around and even greater fun I imagine to kayak on. There were lots of folks doing just that as well as swimming, rock climbing, snuggling and picnicking. There were so many kayaks on the river that it appeared to be the highway 401(Toronto) during rush hour. Lots of grottes (caves) in the area but I did not visit any. At Vallon Pont d'Arc (natural stone bridge) at the headwaters of the Gorges, I made a detour to visit a village called La Bastide de Virac. The village had all newly paved roads, vineyards and naturally a chateau.

Lunch was on the terrace overlooking the vineyards at La Petit Auberge. The menu at 95FF, about $24 CDN had an appetizer of sausage filled patties, daub de boef (braised beef) in a terrific sauce with roasted potatoes, spinach and braised tomatoes. Dessert was a fromage blanc. All this and bottle of Cotes de Rhone just hit the spot. All went well until I discovered that I had broken off part of a tooth. Fortunately, with a bit of dental wax from the local pharmacy to fill the gap I managed until we got home.

After an afternoon snooze at the B &B we were off to dinner again. Note: oddly enough neither of us gained any weight over the two weeks.

Friday, August 31, 2001

The friendly Aussies who had been staying at the same place were off to Burgundy. We were off to Uzes.

Uzes is a prosperous town about 30 km to the East. It had been a Duchy. The town is crowed but well worth the visit. We stopped at several shops to buy clothes for Andrea's (my daughter) forthcoming baby. Store clerks and shoppers all get into the act of congratulating us on about to be grandparents. Total strangers go all mushy over the thought. Do they like children or what? Clothes for children are as chic and fashionable as they are for adults!

Checked out the antique shops for tassels (Ann has a thing about tassels) but didn't find any. Bought a wire basket. These shops even in the smallest towns have accessories and furnishings of extraordinary good design and taste. It is one of our real pleasures to see the displays and chat with the store owners.

Lunch was omelets at a sidewalk restaurant. Not fancy, but hey dinner is only hours away! After lunch visited the village of Vezenobres: narrow streets great clock tower. See home office walls for details. ...more to come