Saturday, February 23, 2013


Claudia and I are winding down our trip and it turns out we took in mostly food. I can't think of a better way to add more memories to remember. The food is so excellent in France. Last night we went to a seafood restaurant. A picture of my sea beam fish. The fish was stuffed with chopped tomatoes, some parsley and a lemon slice. Some potatoes, cauliflower and other vegetables. In my opinion the French just know how to do vegetables. I don't think I have ever been served a fish with a head on before, but it does make a nice presentation as long you don't look him in the eye.

Today we spent three hours eating at the restaurant of the number one award winning chief of France. He has a restaurant and bristol which are right next to each other. L'atelier de Jean-Luc Rabanel is the name of the place. I have never done anything like this before and what a experience. You could choose 7 courses for $72.00 or 13 courses for $144.00. Claudia choose the 13 courses and I the 7 courses. The bottled water was $7.00 and Claudia's drink was $22. Now the interesting thing is that there is no menu. You are just asked if there is anything that you are allergic to or don't like. It seems to us that there were so many courses that we lost count. Claudia even said at one point I hope this is all. I am going to have to put the pictures into more then one blogging date. There are too many to put on all at once. I don't want you to miss the experience as I took a picture of every dish I was served.

There are two rooms. You begin in the first one with the appetizers. I have put on the pictures of first two. A beet sitting in salty bread and sauces to dip the beet in. Then two slices of squash with little bread crumbs and salt and sauces to dip in. Then they move you to their dinning room to eat the meal. Claudia and I will be taking the train back to Paris tomorrow morning. So when I can I will put more on about this meal.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Cold today

I thought it would be warmer here in the south of France. It has a pretty good wind from the river. Here is a picture of the Rhone River. Took a picture of the front of the amphitheater. Then the next picture is fascinating. They put posts in the middle of the streets that they don't want you to drive down. You can see a station to the left where they put in a card and then the post will go down into the ground so you can drive through. We have only seen like city trucks use these, but maybe it is used by more kinds of cars.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Began to look around

Unfortunately, as soon as we got here I came down with a cold, so after spending 21/2 days in bed I am up and running again. This afternoon we took in a few of the sights of the town.

We found a wonderful fabric and clothing store. The quality of the fabric is so high. Then we found a old church. They always look so interesting inside and see the big beautiful doors.

A picture of the street that we walked down from our hotel to get to the fabric store.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Yesterday and Today

Claudia and I took the fast train from Paris to Avignon yesterday. We rode first class for three hours. The farms were flat land as we left Paris and then the terrane began to get hilly and then rocky. Then we took a train to Aries. Claudia thought we should pull our luggage from the train depot to the hotel. It took us fifteen, twenty minutes. What we didn't know was that it was on top of a hill. It just went up and up. I took a picture of what we saw first. We just couldn't believe what we were seeing. The Romans were here before us. The streets are all one way. The side walks are just enough room for a body. I took a picture of what I would call a alley, but it is one of their streets..

Then I took a picture of the hotel and then what I can see when I look out from our hotel. They still have bull fights here. You can order bull meat in the restaurants. Today was our rest day. We looked a little at the shops and we found a linen shop that something will have to come home with us we decided. This seems to be famous for salt, lavender and olive oil. I took a picture of my dinner last night. It was a piece of beam fish. Then some red rice. So good. Then a picture of Claudia's dessert. A poached pair in grenadine. They cut off the bottom and made it look like a hat and then poured a custard sauce at the base of it.

Our hotel has a SPA. I tried out the hot tub today. I was very disappointed. It wasn't cold, but it wasn't heated either. Then the shower I took afterwards was very cool. Don't think I will do that one again. Claudia and I have ourselves scheduled for massages on Saturday.

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Last day of the tour

Yesterday we went back to the Festival of the Needle. It wasn't quite as crowded, so I was able to see some things that I didn't see the day before.

We were suppose to have gone on a dinner cruise on the river in the evening, but the river was so high that boats couldn't get under the bridges. Needless to say, we were disappointed.

Today we were up early and took the metro to Norte Dame to attend a mass. Words just doesn't describe the experience. The organ and the singing and inside of the church, so beautiful. It is the 850 Anniversary celebration. They have made new bells by melting down the old ones and trying to get the sound as close to the old ones. They have the new bells displayed in the center of the church. Right in front of the church we were shown the center point of France. Everything is figured from this point on their maps. Near Norte Dame we saw a bridge where people have hung locks on the fencing on each side of the bridge. We were told that lovers come and place a lock with their names on it and then throw the key in the river. Then we went to where they sold plants and birds. We noticed it was mostly men that were buying cages and birds to take home. Then we went to the world's largest flea market just outside Paris. We ate lunch at a small cafe that had singers and music while we ate. Then we shopped and saw old keys, linens, jewelry, dishes and lace.

Notice the picture of our corner chocolate shop. Now that Valentine's Day is over they are beginning to make Easter eggs. Also a picture of the state rental bikes for the people to ride.

Tomorrow morning we leave on a fast train to Southern France.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Busy as usual

Yesterday we did so much that I didn't have any extra for blogging. So we will see if we can catch up.

We went to a museum to see tapestries and rugs being woven. It was very interesting to learn that France has lost some of their very traditional crafts, so the state now owns them and supports them. France lost their ribbon industry to Japan. Countries come in and buy and use the people to learn the operation and then move it to their country. Most of the buildings we saw are the original ones from the 1700's except for the ones lost in fires in wars. They have 20 weavers (mostly women) who have been weaving everywhere from 2 years to 20 years. The weaving is done with silk or wool. They used to use natural dyes, but now use chemical dyes. The colors are brighter and do not fade. The looms are nothing like ones that I have ever seen before. They are huge and the women get up on scaffolding to string and set up the looms. When we asked what do they do with weavings done, the answer was that they are given as gifts from the country of France.

We then went out to a very nice restaurant for dinner with the group. One of the women ordered the pictured dessert. The French do not begin eating until 7:00 and most of the restaurants do not open until 7:00. They also think of eating of a enjoyable time and it should not be rushed. It took us three hours. There were eight of us and it was Valentine's Day, but they usually take their time even to bring the check. It isn't like America where you feel you should hurry because they could use your seat.

Today I spent most of the day at the Festival of the Needle. It was a wonderful experience. The europeans embroidery and quilts are very miniature. Their colors are muted. Their work is very traditional and beautiful. I can see that America with it's colors are beginning to come in. They had a display of our art quilts and even with some machine quilting. Free form design is beginning and felting is big. You will see a Japanese women has made a felted wedding cake for the festival. You will see a picture of women competing to see who can knit the fastest. There is a picture of a crocheted sculpture on the wall. There is a picture of a roll of knitting. These were in several places and used to sit on. I expected to see machine knitting, but all was done by hand.

Then my purchases. Some purple lace that had lycra in it. Scissors, some iron on transfers, some beads to make a necklace and a pin that had a magnet so part of it comes apart.

Then we went out to eat and ordered some mussels that had a cream sauce and french fries came with them.

Then we visited a large grocery store. Had to take a picture of the artichokes, egg plant and radish.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

First day of our tour

This entry was from yesterday. Sorry, it got out of sequence.
We met the group and our tour guide at about 2:00 this afternoon. We walked to a tea house to lunch and tea. Claudia and I were surprised as it was the one that we had already discovered the other day and didn't realize it was the same one that was included in our tour. We have been trying not to do the same things that were coming up on the tour. The quiche was delicious and probably the best one I have ever eaten in my life.

Then we took a walk together down the street so we could see what was near our hotel for shopping. There looks like there are some real shoppers in this group, so we will look forward to see some great fines. Today we learned that the government decides on the times when the stores can put things on sale. It usually is in February and July.

Before our tour started I walked down to the passage that is near our hotel to a shop that looked like wearable art to me. The window pictures are from there. She had some great stuff.

I also took a picture of some young people walking in front of our hotel wearing boxes. I am not sure why.

We went to a perfume museum. The history of perfume making was explained and the antique bottles were beautiful. It was connected to a factory, so you could buy at outlet prices. I let other people do that. It was fun to smell the different smells.

Included a picture of our local chocolate shop and their making chocolates. I have never had one so close. It just seems to be important to stop in every day.

A spectacular day...

This was our first full day of our tour and I mean full. My feet might not ever be the same. The things and places we saw were indeed something to see.

We were able to visit one of the last embroidery schools in Paris. The owner is 85 years old and she will be closing it next year. They have 100 students and they come from all over to learn. You have to attend 10 years before you get a certificate. They now do mostly linen table clothes. They are custom made. One we saw sells for 5,000. euro $6,740. dollars. The embroidery is something like I have never seen. It is chain stitching with a single thread and it looks like silk. They get their linen from one family farmer that they can trust and it is only cut by hand. There is a picture of the 85 year old teacher(on the left), our guide and the other teacher on the right. This business has been in the family for over a hundred years.

Next we visited a vintage ribbon, button and trim store. Across the street he had a vintage hat store which I show the hats that were in the windows. I purchased a trim and three small little flowers for trim. Look at the big vintage scissor that they cut their fabric with.

We had lunch in a passage way that had French Outlet Stores. I got a necklace there.

Then we went to a silk flower workroom and he also works with feathers. This business too was in the family for over a hundred years. All the metal cutters and machinery were very old. He had many feathers from his great grandfather. He added feathers to purses and dresses for designers. They demonstrated making a silk flower. He showed us stretching the fabric, apply gelatin to make it stiff, cutting the petals, dyeing, shaping the petals with hot irons, using wax at the base, and gluing it into a flower. We saw a boa that was black and white and was dyed and cost $700. We felt very privileged to be able to be invited into these two houses. See pictures of flowers.

Then we went to a museum to see Fashioning Fashion Costume Exhibit. We weren't allow to take pictures. It was the history of the dress from the 1800's and seeing the progression. Very interesting and beautiful.

Then we had dinner at the Carousel of the Louvre.

Come join us tomorrow.