Saturday, September 27, 2014

Market Day In Uzes

Today is the BIG market day as opposed to the regular market day.  I must say, even though we expected it, we didn't realize it covered almost the entire town.  We started out early, getting there well before 9 and even finding free parking (some planning went into this).  It was perfect.  Not crowded and a feast for the eyes.  Pictures do not do it justice.  Everything from fresh fish, to scarves and lavender sachets to sausage (we chose 2 from a selection of many) and more things than you can even imagine.
This location in the town square, Place aux Herbes, is where we had lunch the other day.

This woman is scooping up potatoes for us that have been cooking in the drippings from the rotisserie chickens above them.  We also bought one of the chickens.

So many choices of olives.  We went with a gram of Olives de Provence.  Delicious!

We did stop for a cafe creme and some people watching, then strolled around some more.  It was a beautiful morning and we left just as it was beginning to get crowded.

We've had so many really perfect days, but this one, if not the absolute best, is certainly in the top five.  After our shopping at the market in Uzes, we drove our purchases home then took off for St. Remy, an hour away.  We are right on the border with Provence so we are in it almost immediately.  It was a beautiful drive through tree lined roads and medieval villages.

Our first order of business, after scoring a perfect, easy, free parking place, was to find a great place for lunch.  We looked at a few places--it was essential that we sit outside, the weather is just phenomenal--but walked on because none of them were just right.  Then we came to a sort of gravel courtyard with a sandwich board advertising a "Formulae Midi."  Just like the "Menus" we've had, this is a set mid-day meal with 2 or 3 courses.  We decided to investigate even though there was no seating outside and it wasn't very pretty.  We walked through the doorway and saw a gorgeous patio area out back and instantly and simultaneously decided this was the place.  What a great decision.

We started with some beautiful rose wine which we enjoyed for awhile before ordering.

I ordered the beouf tartar and was a little surprised that it appeared to be just raw hamburger.  But, it was quite lean, had bits of olives mixed in and what tasted like an aioli sauce.  Rich and delicious.  Even the salad was wonderful with a perfect vinaigrette.

Chuck ordered the steak "something" with potatoes.  He certainly enjoyed it.

Dessert was a little more tricky.  The first choice was Cafe Proust.  We really couldn't figure that one out.  The waitress explained the second choice, fromage with caramel sauce.  She said it was a white cheese a little like yogurt.  We decided to go for it.  OMG!  More like very light and delicate cheesecake.  This will be a memorable dessert.  I just wish I could figure out what cheese to buy so I can make it.

It was a relaxing, lengthy lunch and just perfect for the rest of our plans.

The reason we came to Saint Remy is because of an English couple we met at Pont du Gard.  They told us about two towns we had to see:  Les Baux and Saint Remy.  They also mentioned that a festival was going on in Les Baux and it would be crowded.  When we got home, I did some research and everything I read talked about Les Baux being an inactive village used only as a tourist spot.  Crowds and lots of traffic are not our thing so I read further about Saint Remy.  That's when I remembered that Van Gogh had spent time there.  I also found out about a Van Gogh walk to the asylum where he lived for a year after cutting off his ear.  What a great decision to blow off Les Baux and head to Saint Remy.

Fueled up with our 'magnifique' lunch, we began the walk just outside the Tourist Information where we obtained a map and some information.  There are 20 stops along the way with pictures of paintings Van Gogh did while at the asylum.  The patients were required to walk everyday and that is when he found his inspiration.

In this painting, you can see a small hut.  This was located on the grounds of the asylum, which was a former monastery, St. Paul's.

Along the way we also saw some Roman ruins, including this mausoleum.

Inside the walls of the asylum

 This is the hut from the painting, above, on the grounds of the former monastery.

Vincent Van Gogh's room in the asylum.  The painting over his bed is a self portrait with a bandage covering the area where his ear was cut off.

Saint Remy is situated about 20 km south of Avignon and is in the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur region.  It was just busy enough to be interesting, though never crowded.  Easy to get around with many interesting things to see.  I'm so glad we came.

Back home:
Our house has an open "window" between the dining room and the loggia where the sun sets.  I love how the light comes all the way through to the dining room.

Another dinner outside under the lights.  I want this backyard.

 This took 15 minutes to throw it together, thanks to this morning's market.

Not bad for a "home cooked" meal


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