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Trip Report A glorious week in Southern France

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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.
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:

We visited the Cistercian Abbaye du Thoronet, fouded in 1098, which I highly recommend.

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. (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.

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