May 19 - Avignon
Whenever I go to a city that is new to me, it takes me a day or two to get oriented. I keep telling myself to take a designed walking tour or a guided one on the first full day. And if I take a guided tour, it should have a theme and fill one of my major touring objectives. So today I signed us up for the Avignon Gourmet Tours. Most of you know that food is an important focus in my travels and this tour was perfect. The tour wasn't offered on our first day in Avignon. If it were, we would have discovered more secrets while we were here.
Our guide, Aurelie, is a local resident. She speaks perfect English which she immersed herself in during a four-year stay in Ireland. It was an overcast and sometimes rainy morning in our three-hour walk. Our tour mates were a couple from Scotland, a woman from France, a woman from Toronto/Hong Kong and a woman from England. We not only learned some history of Avignon and Provence, but we visited several artisan shops in the narrow winding streets of the old part of town. We visited and sampled products from Aline Gehant, a chocolate maker; Cafes Au Bresil, a coffee seller; La Pause Gourmande, a bakery specializing in sweet fougasse; Patisserie Mallard, a patisserie for croissants; Les Halle, an indoor market where we sampled olives, cheese, tomatoes, breads, a pork spread and strawberries; and Liquid, a wine and beer shop. It was a fantastic tour and it filled us enough so that we didn't need lunch.
Around mid-afternoon, Ann and I needed a snack. We wandered into the narrow streets again and found a creperie where we had some decadent sweet crepes.
After that we had some downtime at the hotel.
Dinner was at a restaurant recommended by our guide. At Le 46, Ann had grilled duck while I had pasta with shellfish. I am not sure what shellfish I had, but they might have been cockles. Not only was the food excellent but the table where we sat had very comfortable stuffed chairs. The staff was young and very friendly. I highly recommend this restaurant.
Closing in on 10:00, it looked like a rare early bedtime for this trip.