An Evening In Provence
For as long as I can remember I have been intrigued with France and fantasised about living there for a little while to fully soak up the culture. In my final years of school I even elected to study the French language, knowing that this subject held no weighting towards my “Tertiary Entrance Score”. Various travel shows and movies have further fuelled my interest in Provençal France particularly the film “A Good Year” and the book “A Year In Provence”. So when the opportunity arose to experience Provence first hand on our way back to England, I jumped at the chance!
We stayed in the seriously gorgeous hillside village of Bonnieux located just above Château La Canorgue, a boutique organic vineyard where A Good Year was filmed. Within minutes of checking into our room at Hôtel Restaurant Panoramique César I insisted we go in search of the Château La Canorgue vineyard. The Château was less than a mile from where we were staying and before I knew it we were driving along the very same driveway as seen in the movie! As we walked around the grounds of the Château I was captivated (in case you didn’t notice) while Jon lovingly accompanied me, not really understanding what I was so excited about. I just never imagined when I saw this movie five or six years ago that I would get to see this beautiful setting with my own eyes! Of course before leaving we purchased a few bottles of red wine . . . . which we later enjoyed in England with fresh figs, blue cheese and a re-run of A good Year.
Returning up the hill to Bonnieux we strolled around the village and then stopped for a drink at one of the village bars. While there we got talking to a charismatic American family who told us about a good restaurant we could try for dinner called L’Arome. We decided to check out this restaurant and turned up (without a reservation) at 7.30pm. There were only a few tables occupied but nun the less they could not fit us in for another hour . . . perhaps our punishment for not booking? You know how the French can be ;-). When we returned over an hour later the restaurant was totally full and we had to wait a little longer for a table to become available.
Luckily for us we ended up being seated at one of the best tables in the house. I started perusing the menu and noticed Jon went straight for the wine list. After carefully studying the wines he looked up through his spectacles and announced we were going to order a bottle of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, a wine Jon knew from his days as a waiter on cruise liners. Apparently the Americans would go nuts over this wine and Jon was really intrigued, so much so he was willing to spend 120 Euros on the bottle! And why not? It’s not everyday that one has the chance to enjoy a lovely meal in Provence. In short the wine was divine and beautifully smooth, and the food was delicious. All this added up to a very memorable night in Provence.
In the morning the view from our balcony was spectacular. There was a low hanging mist sitting at the bottom of the village covering the valley below and the houses within it. The landmark church was among the fog too with just its steeple rising out above the fluffy white clouds. We enjoyed a breakfast of fresh croissants and coffee and then regrettably we had to commence our 10-hour drive up to Calais in northern France. Saying goodbye to Bonnieux we made a promise to return, but for a longer stay next time.