We zoomed south from Paris on the TGV to a sun-and-wine-soaked tour of languid Provence, (Avignon, Arles, Vaison la Romaine) where we ate yet more ice cream. Strawberry, raspberry, cassis and lavender were popular flavors.
Mr Pants' little sister— born and raised in France, tagged along. She's in her revolutionary phase. I admit I'd zone out when they'd start arguing in French about Marxism. But hey, I didn't mind when I could enjoy this crispy-skinned, tender cod with asparagus mousse, because I'm just so bourgeois.
In Vaison la Romaine, our hotel was the wonderfully creaky Hostellerie Beffroi, full of wood beams and tile floors. This was one relaxed, remarkable town full of Roman ruins, a Roman bridge built in the 1st century AD, and beautiful winding stone streets. This was the view from our window. The old bell tower still works. Even at 6 am.
I found here, that Patricia Wells recommended some local restaurants such as Brin D'Olivier, and La Baguette, (for vietnamese, right next to the roman ruins), and these were (not surprisingly) excellent choices.
This was an "appetizer" of Mediterranean delights, at the tiny restaurant Le Bonheur Suit Son Cour, including mozzarella, tomatoes three ways, roasted peppers and hummus with nutty bread. The mozzarella, served in small cups, was somewhere between a dense mozzarella ball and a foam, and called "clouds" by our waiter.
Cheese! (waving my fists in an excited little dance).
And nougat! Which makes Mr. Pants' voice go all high and girly like a six-year-old who REALLY wants some nougat.
Provencal towns have ancient main squares, where locals take their evening stroll, children chase each other, people sit and drink Pastis (anise-flavored liqueur) at dusk and the men watch the women walk by and the women watch the men watching them.
Highlights: The whole town of Vaison la Romaine; The history- the Roman ruins and arenas scattered throughout Provence. Ice cream.
Disappointments: Not staying longer, like 6 months to a year.
Mr. Pants: "This is awesome!" and "I'm SO relaxed" except when arguing with his sister.