Note: this begins a series of entries about my three-week journey with my three friends in south-west France and Paris. DM is on the left, DBat the end of the table in a striped blouse that will become familiar, then myself (AJ) and WB in her trademark blue camp shirt on the right.
The four of us did not exactly plan to be freeway-free during our three-week adventure tour of France, but the GPS system in our rental car made the decision for us: Apparently the GPS had been pre-programmed to avoid toll roads, and despite all our efforts we could not figure out how to over-ride this command. We wound our way from Marseilles on frontage roads and two lane back roads, through olive orchards and vineyards and past fruit stands and old stone churches and through innumerable roundabouts until we made it to my friend ‘s charming small cottage in Lunel, with vegetables and flowers growing profusely front and back and three bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs for the four of us to share.
We had a delightful dinner al fresco in the back garden – local melon and prosciutto and olives, tomatoes from the garden, rose wine from the local vigneron, two kinds of quiche made from goat cheese and local vegetables, and lots of lively conversation. We had all read Peter Mayle’s “A Year in Provence” in advance of our trip, and felt we were living inside the book.
If you sit on the left side of the plane flying into Marseilles and have good weather, you will have a spectacular view of snow- topped Mt. Cervix in the Italian Alps just over the French border.