Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Boules, Petanque

Butterfield and Robinson's Provence biking trip begins today! We meet our bikes in a hilltop town. Very smart...
...because there is much less whining if the first ride is a screaming downhill. And the first day's ride is really to give the guides a chance to figure out who the troublemakers are. Who's wobbly, who's fighting, who's mist likely to get lost...
...who can dodge the sheep, and their, ahem, slippery deposits.
The sheepdogs have a tense moment deciding whether to stick to herding sheep or take up bicycle chasing. We have a tense moment too. They make the right choice.

We stop for lunch at Le Bistrot de Pierrerue in a charming one-street town too tiny to have a boulangerie. The French government apparently pays the tiny restaurant to open in the mornings so the locals have someplace to gossip, drink coffee, have pastries...maybe in reverse order. Maybe not.

 Maryvonne and Marc make us an incredible lunch of vegetable tarts, guinea fowl, lime tart with almond crust (I'm gonna try to duplicate this at home and if you're nice I'll invite you to sample it). 

We drink lots of rose. I eat more for lunch than I usually do in a week. So does everyone else. We can barely swing our bloated bodies back onto our bikes. 

We're staying at the fabulous Couvent de Minimes, owned by the same people who own L'Occitane in Provence. The nuns never had it this good.

We gather for a Petanque lesson - after showers of course and a quick nap. (Did I mention the hotel is on top of a hill? again?) Petanque is a bit like bocce but more cut-throat. The French say it came first; the Italians say Bocce did. 

Wally gets into it, in proper professional Petanque attire...
And scores for the boys. Check out his form.
Ann takes to it like a duck to water...
Note the perfect form AND the perfect attire.

Larry is so serious - and knocks the girls' (previously winning) balls into the next county.
Sally takes revenge...note the perfect form.

We have a lovely wine-fueled dinner in the cloister and I wonder about the nuns - this place was founded in the 1600's and the nun's graveyard is right outside our bathroom window.

Off for a well-earned rest I dream of wrinkled faces, each so distinct I could draw it, all a metallic blue. Creepy.

More adventures tomorrow!


  1. Hello! Thanks for your nice review! I must correct one thing tho'. The French government does not pay us we pay them!
    Actually we pay a yearly dues and lots of taxes ... comme tout le monde!
    Thanks again, Maryvonne

  2. Okay, duly noted. And everyone, when you're in Provence seek out Le Bistrot de Pierrerue. Meet Maryvonne and Marc, the charming owners. Stay for lunch. I promise it will be one of your fondest memories!