Friday, October 3, 2008

A taste of France

Our stay in Paris was way too short; we missed visiting The Louvre, and the rest of the wonderful sights. We were headed south to Provence, the foodie places associated with France. On the highway, we marveled at the beautiful countryside, green and sparkling in the sunshine. It felt a lot like Oregon, our home state, without the pine trees. Many times our bus stopped at toll booths, paid the fees and was back on the road at a good speed. It turns out that roads charge a pretty sum. Our bus went East and South, stopping at a highway food stop for snack breaks and to fuel up. These highway grills are a lot like those we had met in Italy, with quick meals as well as freshly prepared entrees. There were also good places to purchase souvenirs.

Families would sit outside in a park-like setting, pulling out their picnic lunches and allowing children and pets to wander and explore before heading back on the highway. Italian, Spaniard, German, Russians car plates indicated the country of origin. We heard English as the language used at the counters, and various other languages spoken at the various tables. All had the need to eat, use the restroom and return on the road. I was amazed at how well behaved the pets were, many off leash, easily accepting life on the road.

Our stop in the Mercier Champagne vineyards gave us an education on the manufacturing and the storing of this special wine. I was very surprised to find out that Pinot Noir grapes make up the base of Champagnes. Our very own Oregon best grapes are the base of Champagne!

Towns passed by. We stopped at Reims, Epernay, Troyes, before stopping for the night in Beaune.

Beaune will forever remain in my memory because it was the place where my husband and I and a couple of friends had the most memorable meal in France.

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