We drove past olive groves and fields with row after row of lavender which a few months earlier must have been a sea of purple and buzzing honey bees. Grignan sits on a large rocky peak crowned by a huge castle, formerly owned by Adhémar de Monteil.
The defensive walls of Grignan were built in the 13th century. The circular protective wall included a dozen defensive towers and six gates. The Tricot tower seen below, also known as the belfry, with its arched passageway through the wall was extended upward in 1600 so the first public clock could be installed.
|Tricot tower or belfry|
The fountain seen below was built in 1840 at Place de l'Horloge. The statue of Madame de Sévigné was added in 1857.
Grignan became renowned in France during the 17th century when Marie de Rabutin-Chantal, the Marquise de Sévigné, a French aristocrat, famous for writing letters, wrote about Grignan and the surrounding area in her letters; Most were written to her daughter Françoise, who was married to François Adhémar de Monteil, Comte (Count) de Grignan.
Madame de Sévigné caught a "fever" and died in April 1696 at Grignan and is buried in the Collégiale Saint-Sauveur Church. She is revered in France as one of the great icons of French literature.
|Place de l'Horloge|
The medieval village is a labyrinth of picturesque, winding cobblestone streets and shaded squares.
In the middle ages, Le Four Banal (The communal bake house) indicated that it belonged to the local lord and that there was an obligation to pay a fee for baking, called "vingtain" or twentieth part removed when the bread was baked. The bake house was abandoned at the French Revolution and transformed into a house in the 19th century. It then fell partially into ruin in the 20th century.
|Le Four Banal (The communal bake house)|
Le Poème de Grignan is in an old village house on a narrow street in the historic center of Grignan. We originally found the restaurant in the 2012 Michelin Guide to Bonne Petite Tables, a listing of restaurants awarded a "Bib Gourmand" for being a "pleasurable" restaurant.
|Le Poème de Grignan Restaurant|
We opened the restaurant door and walked down the steps into a small dining room with maximum capacity for 22 diners seen below. The restaurant is owned by Valerie Dodane who greets you and serves in the dining room and her husband Hervé who does all the cooking. They have been in business for 17 years.
|Le Poème de Grignan Dining Room|
We started off with a house aperitif of blackberries and wine that we enjoyed with an amuse bouche consisting of asparagus cream topped with black olive, green olive, and sun-dried tomato tapenade. It was accompanied by a tasty parmesan cheese cracker.
|Amuse Bouche and House Aperitif|
We chose a red wine off the wine list from Domaine des Auzières Roaix, a winery located in Roaix which is just 7 km north of our home in Sablet.
|Domaine des Auzières Roaix|
We all elected to go with a three course menu consisting of a starter, either Gambas with prosciutto and tomato soup seen below
|Gambas (shrimp) with prosciutto and tomato soup|
or a Tomato goat cheese tart with tomato soup.
|Tomato goat cheese tart with tomato soup|
For main course, we had a choice of Grilled rumsteak with puree of celery root and pumpkin, fresh vegetables and a red wine sauce seen below
|Grilled rumsteak with puree of celery root and pumpkin, fresh vegetables and a red wine sauce|
of Grilled Scottish salmon with potatoes and ratatouille and beurre blance sauce.
|Grilled Scottish salmon with potatoes and ratatouille and beurre blanc sauce|
To finish, we had a choice of a Fig and pear phyllo dough purse with vanilla ice cream seen below
|Fig and pear phyllo dough purse with vanilla ice cream|
or Profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce and red fruit seen below.
|Profiteroles with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce and red fruit|
This was a wonderful meal. A couple things, you should make reservations, as I said the dining room is quite small, and don't go if you are in a hurry. The meal takes place at a leisurely pace because Valerie and Hervé work alone. The food and service are great and worth the 40 minute trip from Sablet.
Le Poème de Grignan Restaurant
Rue Saint Louis
Tel: 04 75 91 10 90