Another French tale from 2012….
Bonjour mes amis,
I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas. It’s very different here in France, they dont celebrate in the same way, much less hectic. No cheesy music in every shop, no horrendous decorations or displays of inflatable Santas, they don’t have crackers or mince pies, no carol singers! They just seem to treat it as a normal day – all the Boulangeries were open for baguettes and croissants, and even the local bus was running!
Yesterday we took the local bus to Avignon, only 1.50euro each way. The buses are like huge luxury coaches, sometimes with only 3 passengers! It’s a good way to see the countryside, lots of pretty little villages, fields of fruit trees, vines, the Alps in the far distance. Avignon is an ancient walled city, the wall is complete, with lots of ‘gates’ where the roads enter. It must have been amazing to live there in the Middle Ages or whenever it was built. As with many of the old French cities we have visited, there is an ‘old town’ consisting of narrow cobbled streets, high buildings, ancient churches. It didn’t seem very busy, so we decided to have a walk around before lunch.
Of course if you go to Avignon, you have to see the famous ‘Pont’ from the song I learnt in French when I was a child. Nowadays, the bridge is incomplete, it no longer spans the river, and they make you PAY to go on it! We didn’t think it worth paying, so instead we walked up to the castle and the lovely surrounding parks and gardens and took some lovely photos from the top. There is a huge castle, abbey etc, beautiful architecture.
When we walked back down to the town square, the town was much busier, so we found a restaurant for lunch. It was really sunny, blue skies, so we sat outside on the terrace and ordered the Plat de Jour which was fillet mignon. For dessert we were very naughty and we both ordered a ‘Cafe Gourmand’ which consists of a nice strong coffee, but the good bit is that it comes with four little tasters of delicious desserts on one plate! Caramel macaroon, chocolate cake, chocolate brownie, creme caramel. It was all disgusting and I only ate it to spare someone else the horror – LOL! See photo!
Back on the boat, the next morning I volunteered to do the broadcast on VHF radio which is like an information service to everyone in the port. I was quite scared in case I made a mistake or someone asked me something I could not answer, but I just followed the script and it was fine! So now I can officially add the title of boat DJ to my CV. If I get asked to do it again, maybe I should add a jingle or two, or introduce a topical quiz, or I might have a ‘Fascinating Facts’ section. For example did you know that Beaucaire is on the same latitude as Toronto in Canada? And that the average French person eats 45lbs of cheese a year!
After breakfast Tim and I walked to the local ‘Brocante’, which is a bit like an antique market crossed with a car boot sale. Lots of things for sale that we could not identify. I told Tim it was lucky that we did not live in a house, as I wanted to buy lots of things, little copper pots and pans, garden planters, French posters and photographs, pretty boxes etc.
More from la belle France soon……