Camargue, St Maries de la Mer, and Aigues-Mortes

After our successful Luberon villages outing, we decided to try another tour, I thought it would be interesting to see a different coastal landscape + see how salt has been produced from the sea for many generations.  We were able to arrange a Camargue tour on short notice and – unbeknownst to us at the time – we were the entire group!

We had a quick lunch at Les Deux Garcons – more tourist hype than authentic cafe experience in my opinion – and went off to meet up with our guide for the afternoon.  http://lesdeuxgarcons.fr/  We did run in to Betty and Bill there from the previous day and had a quick chat exchanging notes on destinations and restaurants.  We also commiserated about a large and loud group of fellow Americans..  I guess we can’t all be subtle and savvy travelers!

The Camargue is a region of wetlands known for wild(ish) horses and bulls + large flocks of flamingos.  Might have been good to know that the very end of a hot dry summer is easily the worst time to visit!!  We did see horses, bulls, and flamingos – albeit at a distance – but the trip may be more remembered for the large and aggressive mosquitoes!!  Still whelped and itching days later!!



Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer (http://www.saintesmaries.com/) is a lovely beach town.  Period.  As the story goes, its shore once welcomed – at the dawn of the Christianity after the execution of Jesus – Marie Jacobi, Marie Salomé and their handmaid Sarah, who were persecuted Christians escaping from Palestine on a boat without a rudder guided by an angel.  Miracles followed.  For more..  http://www.saintesmaries.com/eng/saintes-maries-de-la-mer.html   Had we been there during a bull game (they don’t fight/kill the Camargue bulls as in Spain) or gypsy festival, it might have been a different story.  But essentially, there was a little tourist town, a nice church dedicated to the two St Maries and St Sarah, and a beach on the Mediterranean sea.



In lieu of 2 hrs in the quaint tourist trap, we asked the driver if we could go to where the Salt Train tour is.  http://www.visitesalinsdecamargue.com/en/train-tour/  We ended up in Aigues-Mortes, which was close, but due to driving time, etc, it just wasn’t going to be possible to get there in time for the tour.  We did see the salt production facility from across the bay and also had a little time in the walled inner city of Aigues-Mortes, but that was about it.  Still, we did get rice grown and salt produced in Camargue – so we’ll have that memory once we’re home.


Note to self – and anyone else who may read this blog:  Go to Camargue in June!

Dinner that night was at a cute little bistro that we’d passed by numerous times – it always seemed lively and the plates looked good.  Le Piston was fine – but that’s about as good of a review as I can come up with.  Not bad, not great.  Okay.   Based on the reviews, it may have gone down hill in recent years..  It certainly had good reviews at some point!   https://www.yelp.fr/biz/le-piston-aix-en-provence

First Wine Party

Finally invited some of the neighbors and friends over for wine!  We’re working up to the open house we’ve been promising  – decided to start a little smaller and see how it would go.  Everyone had a lovely time and we all stayed up later than we should have on a work night..  Looking forward to the next!


John & Cynda, Chris & Aimee, Lee & Kathy, and Bart..

Arghh! Putt-Putt like a pirate

After dropping Paul at the airport, Michelle and I had a fun day shopping at Target, walking the beach, hanging out at the tiki bar, and playing putt-putt at Mutiny Bay (http://paradiseadventuregolf.com/mutiny-bay-miniature-golf/).  I started strong, but by the second half of the course, Michelle had found her game and was kicking ass!


Lunch was burgers and beer at Burgerfi – great for a lazy Sunday afternoon!

Winding down beach side @ Coconuts

Enjoyed a late lunch of pizza and subs at Georgio’s.  Ready to buckle down and push through to 5 o’clock!


After a busy work day for all of us, we took a head-clearing walk up the beach about half way to the pier and then found our way back to Coconuts Tiki bar for a wind down with a cooling beverage.  https://www.facebook.com/Coconuts-Tiki-Bar-and-Grill-170397626347699/

Caught the tail end of the Thursday night concert with a little “Happy” and “Uptown Funk” – nice seeing the new permanent bandstand in use and the fact that they’ve disallowed golf carts in front of the stage, allowing more seating area.

Lounged and relaxed the remainder of the evening with a viewing of the classic “Jurassic Park”.

 

Lather, rinse, repeat..

Another day of work, walking, exercise..   Picked up a Bowery bagel from Either/Or when we got coffee this morning, but it just isn’t the same as when we’d go to Sound Grounds..  🙁

Treated ourselves to a lovely glass of wine and a snack at Buttercraft, compliments of Dave and Natalie King!  We tried their mini-sandwiches, sampled several of their house-made butters, and used the remainder of the gift card to get a few treats for later.  http://www.buttercraftpdx.com/   Also had one of our favs for dinner –  Garden Burger’s Chipotle Black Bean burger with Sriracha cheddar melted on top!

Started watching a new series, Nurse Jackie.  Edie Falco is amazing in this role.  Scary for sure, but what an amazing character!  Looking forward to how it develops over the next 7 seasons.  http://www.sho.com/nurse-jackie  Another week + a day and we can start season 4 of Orange is the new Black – yea!