A glorious week in Southern France

Old Nov 7th, 2017, 07:38 AM
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Join Date: Mar 2010
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A glorious week in Southern France

Recently we spent a week in Southern France, in the Var region of Provence.
The weather was extremely sunny and warm for mid October so we were lucky.

We travelled via Tournus on the Saône river. The town itself it not especially nice but we wanted to see the St. Philibert Benedictine Abbey, which was originally built in the 9th century. It’s so wonderful to stroll through a great historical place such as this all by yourself, not another tourist in sight.

The next day we drove on to Flayosc, our destination.
We based ourselves in a small bed and breakfast called La Vieille Bastide. http://www.lavieillebastide.fr/en/
We chose this place for two reasons: a. it has a pool and therefore lounge chairs and
b. it lies at walking distance from the town which has at least five good restaurants to choose from.
The rooms and bathrooms are perhaps slightly dated but this is absolutely compensated by the more than generous and wonderful breakfast. Home made jams, freshly baked rolls and croissants. For those who prefer a continental breakfast there are also cheeses and boiled eggs to choose from.

For lunch/dinner I can recommend: La Salle a Manger,

restaurant l’ Oustaou: https://restaurant.michelin.fr/2903011/loustaou-flayosc

We visited the Cistercian Abbaye du Thoronet, fouded in 1098, which I highly recommend. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Le_Thoronet_Abbey

From there we drove on to the town of Cotignac and had a memorable lunch outside on the terrace of hotel restaurant Du Cours, one of the oldest restaurants in town.
Traditional, tasty Provencal cuisine.

The next day, by sheer coincidence we heard about the saffron farm of Yannick Dolmetta in Sillans la Cascade. http://safran-dolmetta.odavia.com (scroll down for the English text)
Saffron is usually harvested between October 15 – November 15 so we were spot on!

I am an enthusiastic amateur cook and saffron is one of my favorite ingredients so of course I was really interested in visiting the farm and learn more about how the saffron crocuses are grown. Well, we certainly were not disappointed. We were given a two hour lesson in how saffron is grown and harvested. My French was good enough to understand the gist of it all and Yannick does speak some English.

After the tour we were ravenous but, o dear, we had forgotten to make reservations for lunch. On a Sunday tout le monde, old and young, go out for lunch. We landed in Aups
where we found the last available table on the terrace of Le Grand Hotel a 19th century old world hotel.
This is home made, no nonsense wonderful, wonderful French food. I tell you, as far as I am concerned this even beats Michelin star cuisine. We had a tasty starter of local hams and crudité’s followed by slow cooked lam shanks to absolutely die for.
The hotel offers a truffle menu from the end of November to February.

The next day offered glorious sunshine. We took our time and had a very leisurely lunch
At La Farigoulette.

Alas, one week is far too short but that’s what it was. We made the most of our trip back North and stopped overnight in historic Beaune. Of course we visited the famous
Hotel Dieu, Hospices the Beaune.
Overnight: La Belle Epoque. Adequate, short walk into town.
Dinner: Bistrot de Bourgogne. Excellent.
Elisabeth54 is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2017, 09:18 AM
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Thanks Elisabeth, sounds like you had a great time. I've made a note of that saffron farm - sounds good!
Tulips is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2017, 09:25 AM
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If we hadn't already bought plane tickets for April, your trip account would have had me doing so at once. Thanks.
Underhill is online now  
Old Nov 7th, 2017, 10:20 AM
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Elisabeth, just what I needed: one more place I want to go.
tuscanlifeedit is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2017, 10:52 AM
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This report was excellent although I will always be a bit dismayed by the number of people who believe that any hotel or eating establishment mentioned as having been good is THE place to go for everybody.

There is rarely only one place to stay or one place to eat in most of these areas, so it is really a shame when too many people run in the same direction and converge when there are 5 or 10 or 15 other places of equal quality.
kerouac is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2017, 03:02 PM
Join Date: Apr 2011
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Thanks for your report. We are heading back to France in September 2018 and the Var is going to be our first stop for two weeks. It looks to be an interesting area with lots to see, so we are looking forward to visiting what will be new area for us. We stay in self catering.
I agree with you about the Abbey in Tournus. This was one of the first we visited on our first trip to France in 2006.
So much to see and so little time.
rhon is offline  
Old Nov 7th, 2017, 04:29 PM
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We visted this part of the Var in 1999 and loved it. We stayed in Tour Tour and visited Cotignac, Villecroze, Entrecasteaux and other small towns in the area. Lots of great memories, having dinner outside and drinking cotes-du-rhone rose. Went wine tasting at the St. Roseline winery in Les Arcs and the chapel next door was displaying the actual St. Roseline, all dried out and laying in a glass box. There as also a beautiful Marc Chagal mosiac covering one wall. Such a contrast. Glad you had a great trip!
russ_in_LA is offline  
Old Nov 8th, 2017, 01:43 AM
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check out these cities for the next trip. You wont't be disappointed

omtrips is offline  
Old Nov 8th, 2017, 02:06 PM
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Russ: What happened to your 3 days in Vienna? Dids I miss the continuation of your trip report?
aljo is offline  
Old Nov 8th, 2017, 07:39 PM
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Sorry, back to the grind. I'll try to get to it soon!
russ_in_LA is offline  
Old Dec 8th, 2018, 05:57 PM
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Thanks for introducing me to a number of destinations to add to my wish list!
kja is offline  
Old Dec 9th, 2018, 11:44 AM
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Thank you so much your report. I'll be sure to plan a trip -- it's been on the list for a while -- it seems like the Gorges du Verdon is also quite reachable from this area.
gooster is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2018, 09:42 AM
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§Thanks for your report! I really want to go there now...!
kaloupl is offline  
Old Dec 10th, 2018, 12:13 PM
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So much to see! Thanks for this, Elisabeth 54.
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