Friday, April 30, 2010

Back in Provence

After an early morning flight from San Francisco to Chicago then overnight to Frankfurt Germany, and lastly a short flight to Marseille, we are back in Provence. We arrived about 9:45 am at the Marseille Provence Airport.

Unfortunately, rather than bright sunshine and blue sky, we were greeted by dark overcast skies which foretold of the rain that would fall on and off during the day. We picked up our car from Avis, an Opel with 7 seats, enough to accomodate we and our friends on day trips around the Vaucluse and other nearby areas.

As we have guests at our house through Saturday, May 1, we headed to Jean Marc's (my cousin) house in Clapiers to drop off our luggage. We came loaded with stuff including curtains for the living room, small rugs for the bedrooms, dvds, some cook books and kitchen stuff.

I didn't want to take a chance on a having a repeat (see earlier post) of my visit to Marseille, especially since much of the stuff we were bringing was bought to replace what was lost when my car was broken into back in February. I learned my lesson.

Since it was about 12:15 pm when we finished unloading our car in Clapiers, a full 24 hours after leaving our house at 3:15 am for the drive to San Francisco airport, we decided to go somewhere for dejeuner, lunch before we commenced shopping.

I wasn't suffering too much from the 9 hour time difference or limited sleep on the overnight flight, except for a headache. Although Shirley slept most of the trip while I watched Its Complicated, Crazy Heart, and The Blind Side, she immediately fell asleep as we took off in the car.

I headed to Castries to L'Art du Feu, a small charming restaurant we have eaten at several times, since it's on the road back to the A 9 autoroute, highway, we needed to take to go to Metro and IKEA, our shopping destinations. More about L'Art du Feu in a later post.

I try to check with our guests in Sablet to find out what they found lacking at the house. Uniformly people are happy but they do sometimes have suggestions about kitchen items they would appreciate for future visits.

Being a foodie, our kitchen is large, especially for France and quite well equipped. However, we had a small list including a request for a small saute pan for making individual omelettes and small pan for making hollandaise sauce. Many of our guests are fellow foodies, but not all; we had a request for a microwave oven.

Since I don't use the microwave we have in California except for the timer and to melt butter, we didn't think it was necessary. However, as I wanted to be responsive to guest feedback, we bought a small microwave and the other kitchen items on our list at Metro.

Metro is a large membership-only warehouse type store for restaurant and hotel professionals. They carry a large assortment of high quality merchandise at very good prices.

You have to be in the restaurant or hotel business to shop there but in an unexplainable exception that seems to be common in France, physicans are allowed to be members. Since Jean Marc is a cardiologist, he is a member, and we shop at Metro whenever we are in Clapiers.

We struck out at IKEA on our effort to buy a paravent, a wood folding screen which Shirley wants for the house. We were informed that the store was en rupture de stock, sold out of the only model that IKEA sells till the end of May. We will have to look elsewhere.

We finished off the evening with a wonderful simple dinner prepared by Christine. Washed down with several different white wine from the Languedoc, we enjoyed a green salad, a salmon crumble (more about that in another post), an assortment of cheeses and finished with fresh fruit. Délicieux!

Off to bed; I can stop fighting to keep my eyes open. Bonne nuit.

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