Avery knows France, went three years to school in France, speaks pretty good French, and in fact has a French passport via her mother. She entertained us with her recent courtroom stories, and we resolved to show her a France she didn't yet know. So one day we took her across into Provence, aiming first for a walled village I came upon once but whose name I didn't remember and which now I couldn't find. Didn't much matter for the country we drove through was lovely, the rows and row of vines just beginning to leaf out.
We came ultimately to Lorgues, a village surrounded by some of the best Provence wine properties: Domaine St.Beatrice, Chateau de Berne, Chateau Roubine, part of the Domaine Ott, and a little further out Ste. Rosaline, Domaine des Grands Esclans, and the Chateau d'Esclans, which is owned by Sasha Lichine. Lorgues, which is to me the number one wine town in Provence, had been our goal all along. There we stopped for lunch at a restaurant called La Table du Moulin. Not a famous restaurant, but if you are ever in the neighborhood, you should try it. Old and handsome building, wonderful vaulted dining room, though on this warn sunny day we ate outdoors on their terrace which is formed by an old stone wall, by the old building itself, and by vines and plants. The three of us ordered foie gras, stuffed quail, rascasse (a small Mediterranean fish with a big, almost gamy flavor) and Peggy had an aioli of octopus. Afterwards came classic French desserts, and tiny cups of strong coffee. We drank an unknown (to us) Rosé de Provence which, however, was splendid. As an aside, Provence wines in general and Provence rosés in particiular, once scorned by wine sophisticates the world over, have been improved in recent years to the point where I now prefer them to anything. As I often say, Grandpa, who used to make these wines by the seat of his pants, taught his son everything he knew, which wasn't much, then died, and the son recently turned the winemaking over to the grandson, who has been to wine school.
This summer, if you are looking for a rosé, by all mean choose a Rosé de Provence.
Afterwards we strolled through the village. Whoever heard of Lorgues as a tourist attraction? But it is one. Tree lined squares, charming streets with intricate wrought iron balconies hanging over them, houses with heavy oak or walnut doors, often carved and decorated with big brass fittings. And in the center a massive, 400 year old church much too big for a village this size, and of a construction like no other I had ever seen before, the dressed stone facade in front was of unusual workmanship and beauty. We never got inside it, though the guide books say there are treasures in there, for it is closed for renovation.
Leaving Lorgues we drove down to the coast to San Rafael, and from there to Cannes to show Avery the formations of red rocks that come up out of the Mediterranean for mile after mile, becoming red mountains as they progress inland--stunningly beautiful, it seemed to me with the late afternoon sun on them. When we got home Avery said she loved the day. Maybe. I hope she did.