Beautiful Nimes

Old Feb 27th, 2020, 04:13 AM
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Coquelicot any veggies that I have and I arrange it in order of colour. I don’t put cheese in as I’m not a fan. I’m hoping that the strawberries taste as good as they look.
PS I loved your what to cook in France thread.
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Old Feb 27th, 2020, 04:53 AM
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Originally Posted by cheska15
There were also some purple/ white ones and I think these were called rave ? I’m presuming they are the same as turnips.
I was not able to convince by husband to try them.
Turnips are used mostly in stews like couscous or pot-au-feu in France, but they are also great cubed and mixed with potatoes. They add a peppery note to a dish. There is nothing sadder than a whole boiled turnip though. Tons of people in France think they hate turnips, too, until they eat some without being told what they are. People are stupid.

Strawberries sold right now are from the hothouses of Spain or Morocco and are not worth the expense. They will be fantastic in another month or so.
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Old Mar 1st, 2020, 08:45 AM
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When we were madly packing up our house and both of us were so stressed, we often said’ hope this is worth it.’ Of course it has been worth it, and there have been so many days where we have had to pinch ourselves to see if it is all real. Today was one of those days.

We hired a car yesterday at the last minute ( 3.00 pm and Hertz closes at 4.00 pm) so we could go for a few day trips. We left home at 9.45 and after 1.40 mins we arrived in Roussillon. What a stunning tiny village even in winter. The main car park in the town was blocked off with a sign saying closed until 3rd March. There is a park closer to the Ochre Walk and the turnoff is before you get to the centre.

We did the short walk around the Ochre Trail (€6 for 2) and takes about 30 minutes. There are a quite a few stairs, and the ground is uneven. The formation of the rocks and the colours leave you speechless. There were parts where I thought I was in the Australian outback around Alice Springs.

On the way down to the town, as you come out of of the park and before you get to the gift shop, there are very clean bathroom facilities.

I had made up ham and cheese baguettes before we left home, and it was lovely to sit at the look out and eat them. There were a few others doing this also. As soon as people finished eating all their rubbish went in the nearby bins. Not one piece of rubbish left behind.

We then walked slowly around this beautiful village. There were a couple of restaurants open, and we sat at Bistrot de Roussillon and had a very good hot cafe creme.On the way back to the car we noticed that the car park that was allegedly closed, was full. People seemed to ignore the threat of a car being towed away, or it could have been a private event.

When we returned to the car there were a couple with children who had put up their table into the vacant car park next to them. As the car park was full this didn’t seem to sit well with some people.

We plan to revisit during the week and do the long walk of 50 mins when I have my knee bandage on. Helps with the walking up and down the stairs. The plan will also include a long lunch at Restaurant David that looks to have amazing views.


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Old Mar 1st, 2020, 12:29 PM
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Rousillon is lovely, especially in the offseason. I hope you enjoy the time to explore the other nearby villages by car, as well.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2020, 07:49 AM
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Today we visited Grotto de Trabuc near Anduze/ Arles. It was a lovely drive in the Cevennes National Park. There are some cute little hamlets. Far too isolated for me though.

We were the only people in the Grotto and as the lights are on sensors which was a bit freaky when the lights were not on. The father and son who discovered these caves thought that one particular area of the grotto of small stalagmites bore a resemblance to and army of soldiers. They do look like that up close.The cost was €11 pp
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Old Mar 3rd, 2020, 01:32 PM
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Roussillon sounds lovely! It was on my list to see, but I think... since we are coming from Aix, we will stay on that side of the mountain and take one day trip to see Lourmarin, Cucuron and Ansouis. And another to Saint Remy, Les Baux and particularly Carrières de Lumières. You are so lucky to have so much time to really get to know the area.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2020, 08:06 PM
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cheska, when I have time I'm going to look up some of the places you've visited on a map. It all sounds delightful. You haven't mentioned weather lately so I hope it's been good where you are. Glad to hear you're getting around okay and will be able to make a return trip to Roussillon and its good restaurant.

It's quiet on the France forum these days. I know that some of us are biting our nails about upcoming trips. My husband just put the last piece in the puzzle, reserving airport parking, so at least he's optimistic. I'm not worried about being in France, just about getting through the crowds in airports and on planes.

Looking forward, as always, to your next installment.
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Old Mar 3rd, 2020, 10:27 PM
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Coquelicot, we are the same as you. We have up times and down times. We still have four weeks ( on Thursday ) and are taking it day by day. It will be a last minute decision as our travel insurance is not going to cover us, so we might as well leave cancelling until we absolutely have to. At this stage we have similar thoughts to you. I am not so worried about being in France, because of the sort of trip we do - no large cities, no tourist attractions that attract hundreds of tourists, no public transport - which is spent in the countryside. It is the 21+ hours on a plane. P is also still optimistic, but we will assess in a few weeks. We watched the French news this morning and people seem to be going about their business.

Cheska, you sound as though you are enjoying your last few weeks in Nimes. There are lots of lovely places to visit. I do hope we do not have to cancel 2020 as we already have our 2021 trip on the drawing board !!

Looking forward to hearing about your day trips by car.
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Old Mar 4th, 2020, 03:08 AM
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It's funny, there have been no problems at all in the big cities. Just about all cases have been in tranquil rural or semi-rural areas.
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Old Mar 4th, 2020, 08:29 AM
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Life in France is going on as normal even in the small villages we have visited over the last few days. The restaurants are still busy, there is no panic buying of any items, shops have plenty of everything and I haven’t seen anyone wearing a face mask. That is not to say people aren’t taking it seriously. The French Government seem to be giving continuous updates. Too come or not to come is a decision only you can make, and I feel for you all.

Today our day trip was along the beautiful 32k road taking in the gorges of the Ardeche. The road is fabulous, and there are ample places to stop and take photos. The Pont d’Arc is stunning, and we were pleasantly surprised how close you could get. This day trip was a must do for us. There were a few tourists aboutI even though it was only 11 degrees. It would be fabulous to see and swim in the summer if you could put up with the crowds.

We are really looking forward to going to Aix-en-Provence to start our 8 week road trip. We have been eating at home the last week, and have taken picnic lunches for our day trips. We have done this to have some simple eating as a we will be in hotels for a good part of that 8 weeks. We had our first glass of wine today in 10 days. That should be enough for my liver to recover a bit. I have yet to work out sensible eating and drinking plan for not gaining too much weight. I can still fit into my clothes so that’s something.
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Old Mar 4th, 2020, 10:31 AM
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We just returned home from a 6-day trip to Paris. We walked miles and miles all over the city every day and only yesterday near the Centre Pompidou saw a bunch of face masks - all on Asian people. Coming home to the Périgord on the train today I picked up a copy of Le Sudouest and read that the hospital in Périgueux has already cordoned off 6 isolation wards in case there are COVID patients incoming. The local news was far more concentrated on farmers burning manure outside the préfecture, in protest against new restrictions on the abattoirs where geese and duck are slaughtered. There were a few pictures of people wearing masks in Angoulème and Ribérac, but so far no hysteria. I must say though that in our trompings around Paris, Asian visitors were remarkably absent compared to zillions of other trips.

We have several groups of friends scheduled to visit us here this spring and summer, some of whom are re-thinking their plans (the ones who were going on to Italy). I can't blame them, but I see absolutely no danger at the moment here in the Dordogne.
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Old Mar 4th, 2020, 11:16 AM
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Thanks as always StCirq. There are elections coming up soon in Nimes and people are more concerned with local issues. So glad France hasn’t got into the crazy panic buying that is happening in Australia at the moment.
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Old Mar 4th, 2020, 11:51 AM
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cheska15, I am loving your visit. Here are 2 shots from Roussillon:

Not good resolution on this one but look at those grapes!


I wanted to live in this sweet house. More grapes.

Can't wait to read about your stay in Aix.
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Old Mar 4th, 2020, 12:29 PM
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TDudette thank you so much for posting the photos. Huge grapes
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Old Mar 7th, 2020, 10:09 AM
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Although we didn’t need anything at the market today we went for a look, and saw another vegetable that we had never seen before. The name was Salsify. It looks like a long brown tree twig. Apparently a relative of the parnsnip and belongs to the dandelion family. Look forward to hearing about this vegetable.

We are seeing more white asparagus and prices range from €9.50 -€13.00. There seems to be the really thick ones and then thinner ones. Is there a difference? I will be buying some tomorrow and hopefully can find some herbs from Provence. Haven’t had much luck in finding the herbs yet, and remembered today that on the outside of the market there is a shop selling herbs and spices. So will try there tomorrow

So lovely to have sunshine today after a week of rain and wind.
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Old Mar 7th, 2020, 12:13 PM
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It's an odd time of year to find salsify in the markets. It's usually sowed this time of year and harvested October to January. It comes in both white and black varieties and is used like any other root vegetable. It tastes vaguely like oysters and is sometimes (in anglophone countries) called oyster plant. It's quite good if you like root vegetables and want something new to purée or roast or put in a stew. The little green shoots it puts out are tasty for something different in a salad. If you're looking for something else new and different, March is usually the month when you can get ail de loup (and it's only available for a couple or three weeks normally).

You can't find herbes de Provence, cheska? I don't think I've ever been in a market or grocery store anywhere in France that doesn't sell it. And so near to the source, that's really strange. I haven't been looking for white asparagus lately, but I'm guessing it's in the markets now, hopefully for less than the prices you quoted!
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Old Mar 8th, 2020, 03:08 AM
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I have purchased all the ingredients for the white asparagus recipe including the herbs. I was searching in the wrong place. I will report back on the result.
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Old Mar 8th, 2020, 03:46 AM
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I did read recently that most herbes de Provence are now imported from China.
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Old Mar 8th, 2020, 07:22 AM
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kerouac I didn’t even think to check before buying. The brand Ducros states ‘condition France’ not sure what that means.
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Old Mar 8th, 2020, 09:27 AM
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That means it was packaged in France. I just looked up the Ducros item and the Ducros site itself fails to reveal the origin of the ingredients (ha ha). However, another site says that 10% of the ingredients come from France and a lot of the rest comes from Morocco, Spain, Albania and Poland. That is not at all a problem for me as long as it is done properly. After all, French Dijon mustard, notably the Amora and Maille brands, have not been made in France for more than 10 years and are produced by the Unilever factory in Poland. Who cares as long as it tastes good?

(Just for the record, 'Dijon mustard' is a style of mustard and not at all a place of origin these days, the same way that Charentais melons are a kind of melon and almost none of them come from Charente but instead from Morocco and Spain.)
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