Sunday, September 28, 2008

Bandol and the French Riviera- May 2 – 6, 2008

For our 23rd wedding anniversary, my husband flew to meet me in the South of France on his way to work in the Azerbaijan oil fields. We decided to stay in Bandol, on the French Riviera because they are known for the dark, earthy mourvèdre – one of my husband’s favorite wines. We left Montpellier on May 2nd and arrived in Bandol in about 2 hours. It was a lovely scenic drive and the weather was perfect.

Our condo was outside of the town about ten minutes and called Pierre & Vacances - Résidence Les Rivages de Coudouliere. It was on the sea, and had a nice kitchen, living room, small bedroom, and large balcony overlooking the pool. We went grocery shopping and then settled in to relax, wander along the water, took a nap, then had a lazy dinner at a restaurant on the beach.

The next morning we drove to Domaine Bunan and Ch. La Rouviere for a tour and tasting. They had wonderful red and roses, and a vineyard with multiple clones of mourvèdre. The hillsides were covered with wild flowers and red poppies, and it was delightful to be back in the sun and pure light of Provence.

We spent the rest of the day relaxing, and then drove the next day to visit St. Tropez, Cannes and Antibes. It was a long, but very scenic drive along the coast, with steep hillsides in some places and lovely white beaches in others. We had dinner in Antibes on the beach as the sun was setting – a huge bowl of fresh mussels and white flaky fish all washed down with a bottle of dry Provence rose. Very dreamy and romantic.

The next day more relaxation at the pool, hikes, and naps – then a wonderful anniversary dinner at a very cozy restaurant in Bandol called Le Restaurant de l'Auberge des Pins. The meal started with a glass of Champagne, and then we ordered a bottle of mourvèdre to go with the exquisite meal.

Driving back to Montpellier the next day, we drove through the Camargue to see the white horses and then had dinner with Francois and Anne that evening at their apartment. The next morning, we parted ways and I flew to London to stay overnight and visit some of the wine shops and grocery stores such as Tesco, Sainsbury, Oddbins and Majestic with Vicky. I took her to dinner, and she dropped me off at my Heathrow hotel where I collapsed into bed, looking forward to being spoiled by Virgin Airlines in their Upper Class Lounge the next morning before my flight back home to San Francisco. Thank goodness for airline miles!

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