Friday, September 26, 2014

Magnificent Marseille

The Vieux port at Marseille has undergone a huge transformation over the last few years especially since the city was the European City of Culture in 2013.
There are vast esplanades to walk around, new restaurants , the Mucem museum, easy access into the old town and the main port. Parking and the general approach by car is simple and we would really urge anyone coming to Provence to make sure they include at least one day in Marseille.

Walking around the old town

The back streets reveal lots of characterful buildings.

The Vieux Port is overlooked by the Notre Dame de la Garde from which there are stunning views, take the tourist train around town and it will save you the walk up, you can get off the train, spend some time there and either walk down or get back onto the train.

The old custom houses
Part of the Mucem museum

We have enjoyed a couple of excellent lunches at one of the restaurants in the new shopping mall, Les Terraces du Port , overlooking the port you almost feel like you are cruising!

Visit Lauris

Karen with my sister Gillian.

Lauris is located on the south side of the Luberon, near Lourmarin and overlooks the Durance valley with views of Mont St Victoire in Aix and the Alpilles Mountains near St Remy. We have been visiting frequently lately as there is a very special restaurant !

A hidden gem

Mas du Fadan is a small vineyard owned and run by David Fayet. 

The cave du vente, or wine cellar for selling, is located in the small hamlet of Les Grands Clements between Rustrel & Villars.

David offers tastings and sales in this delightful former chapel. Even the credit card machine is on the altar! 

The rose, Simon, after his son, is an excellent, a young fresh wine which like most rose`s should be drunk  the year it is bottled. It is from a blend of grenache, syrah and cinsault.

By contrast Anna, named after David`s daughter, is a bold red wine that can be kept for several years. It is a blend of Grenache, carignan & syrah with the latter from very old vines.
Les Fees is a blend of Grenache, syrah, carignan and cinsault, an excellent wine for everyday drinking.

Prices are very reasonable, this is a small `bio` vineyard where David takes care of every process personally. If you wish to vsit for a tasting and to buy it is best to phone in advance . 
We are pleased to offer our guests his rose wine as a welcome to our gites and Le Chene.

Monday, September 01, 2014

Restaurant with a view and a star!

Le Vivier, in l'ilse sur la Sorgue is a little way out of the town with a lovely view over the River Sorgue, being our wedding anniversary we ' pushed the boat out' to try this high acclaimed restaurant that has one Michelin star.

Thank fully the weather was kind to us so we could dine outside but the interior is also attractive and modern 

Karen's starter, mackerel, very pretty 

I started with what was described as Tapas, basically a little taste of all the starters ( although no Mackerel!)

Karen's main, Maigre, ( seabass) was served with squid ink pasta 

And this, a delicious Pigeon pie.

Karen as ever not having a sweet tooth chose cheese

And me, predictably going down the chocolate route!

There is a comprehensive wine list, excellent service and a superb over all dinner experience. 
Set dinner menus start at 53 €. Bookings are required in high season.We would go back!

Another fabulous walk

The Luberon is renowned for walking and hiking and there is an excellent book available with 20 walks from our village, Saint Saturnin Les Apt. Walk number 8 is 10K and starts at 351M rising gently to 684M.

The paths are clearly marked with green spots.

The walks vary between 7 and 20 kilometres, some harder than others but all worth discovering!

We came across this borrie, with an excellent rain collection system, the rain goes into a citerne and there is an overflow from that too, in the cupboard is the saucepan so if you find yourself lost you can light a fire, boil the water and make a cuppa!!

Fantastic views 
We are now high up behind the village which  is just visable with the grand Luberon and petit Luberon in the distance.

As we head back home vineyards provide a change in the scenery.

On the home straight, a great shot of the village.