Fun_People Archive
12 Oct
France 2000, Relatives & Nice

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From: Peter Langston <psl>
Date: Thu, 12 Oct 100 01:50:38 -0700
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Subject: France 2000, Relatives & Nice

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Monday & Tuesday

Now the business of getting to the rest of the trip, the non-family, scenic
part.  Monday we went downtown to get cash for the blunderbuss and to do
some last minute shopping.  The french franc is 7.75 to the dollar now so
there are bargains galore.  Excuse me, I have to chase Miki down again.

Off to dinner with Jean-Claude and more friends and to bed late again.
But with a great night's sleep tonight.  I think things are finally getting
back to normal. the jet-lag is gone and we can start eating and drinking
our way through France.  It's weird because in all this decadence, we
actually loose quite alot of weight with all the walking and sight seeing.

Tuesday is mostly devoted to getting to Vaison-la-Romaine. We packed up
and left Nice on the pay road toward Orange.  Vaison is just outside of
Orange.  Of course we stopped at one of the Relias Cafeterias for lunch.
These 'cafeterias' are nothing like you would see in America.  The food is
very good in these little places, the French wouldn't stand for it any
other way.

The trip was pretty fast this time because we knew where we were going.
We got off the pay road and onto the little road to Vaison.  This is a
little like the road through Sonoma or Napa, wineries are spaced about
every mile or two.  You can taste but, unlike California, you are expected
to buy something.  In this wine country they don't have a staff devoted to
the tasting room.  When you show up, someone stops whatever work they are
doing and opens some bottles for you to taste.  But the wine is great and
worth every penny (about $4.50 per bottle for the premium wines).  We
stopped at La Grangette Saint Joseph, one of the first on the trail, and
found them very busy with the harvest.  There was no one that could stop
and give us a taste so they asked us to go get the girl in the business
office.  She was glad to do it but, after some searching around, she finally
had to go and get the madam to find out what wines were to be tasted and
where they were.  Then she had me open the wines because she didn't know
how to use the wine opener.  But she was very nice and the wines were
extremely good.

Then one of the huge grape harvesting machines that we had seen on the way
here started to come into the cortyard, finished for the day.  The girl
helping us with the tasting got really excited and asked if we wanted to
check it out.  Of course we said yes and went outside.  The machine is
about 20 feet tall and one of the weirdest things I've ever seen.  After
it pulled into the cortyard, the driver asked Miki if she wanted to drive
it.  Naturally she took him up on it.  When she finally got up into it she
didn't really want to drive it around.  It was really cool, they were really
excited that we were interested and that Americans had never seen one
before.  They don't use these in the wine country in California, they beat
up the vines quite a bit so they only last around 20 years, but they just
plant new ones.  The labor is more expensive here so the machines make
sense in most small vineyards.

We finally got back into the tasting room and found their reds to be
extremely good.  We bought 6 bottles thinking we might take some back in
our suitcases.  At $4.50 (american) for the estate reserve, how could we

We stopped at one other winery and bought two more bottles of their best
reserve.  We had to hurry the tasting because only the owner was there and
he was busy with the crush.  I told Miki that was enough, we only have room
for so many bottles and we certainly want to take some Chateauneuf du Pape
back with us.

So we finally got to the hotel and it's all that I remember.  We packed
lighter this time so it wasn't a heart attack getting the stuff up the
three stories of stairs this time.

Dinner was great, of course, they take alot of pride in their service and
food here and the Chateauneuf du Pape - Mont Redon didn't hurt too much
either.  Tomorrow we explore the town and the Roman ruins, some of the most
extensive found in France to date.

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