Tuesday, October 2, 2012

staycation {part. 2}

{Le Palais des Papes}

It happened on Rue de la République. There I was, innocently standing at the back of the rented Volkswagen Touran, when I opened the door and was assaulted by a suitcase. The minivan was so overstuffed that as soon as the door opened, a twenty pound carry-on hurled itself at me, hitting me on the shin before bouncing off down onto my foot. 

There is only word to yell when being assaulted by a twenty pound carry-on and that word is; 
aye a fuckenmuckennucken, and undoubtedly, you will get some odd stares if you yell aye a fuckenmuckennucken while standing on Rue de la République, but you won't care, not one iota, because being assaulted by a twenty pound carry-on freaking hurts.  

We had just collected Miss Vicki and JoDelle (and their impressive luggage) at the Avignon TGV station and headed into the walls of the city to check into our hotel and begin our twenty-four hours in one of my favorite places. After getting our visitors settled in for a rest, I decided a glass of Rosé was in order to help me nurse my injuries (I could have used a bucket of Rosé but that wouldn't have been very becoming), so The Husband and me headed out à deux to Avitus, my go-to wine stop in the city.  

Feeling refreshed by my glass of pain go bye bye juice, it was back to the hotel to get dressed for dinner. (Going out to dinner in the big city is always such a treat for me. My 'going out clothes' tend to scare Les Villagers, but when I'm in the city, I can let myself shine and that night in Avignon called for sparkly gold shoes on my tootsies). 

Finding a restaurant for dinner had posed a bit of a challenge (I like planning these things waaaaay in advance... no doing things on the whim for Sara Louise, no no no, whims simply won't do). I had planned on eating at Fou de Fafa (the restaurant where we had bid adieu to Bec), but when I called to book, they said that they would only have half of their kitchen staff in September and couldn't handle a party of six (I was tempted to book two tables of three but decided not to because well, that would have been weird). So then I thought of La Cour d'Honneur, where we celebrated Aidan's birthday, but since I prefer dining in their pretty fairylight lit courtyard and September evenings can be unpredictable, nixed that idea. 

And then I had a stroke of genius... I would go back to the beginning, to the first place I dined in Avignon, the place where I met Honey Bee and Mrs. Cousin for the first time, the place where I began to fall in love with the city, the gorgeous Le Bain Marie. Yes, Le Bain Marie was the answer. 

I love it when a plan comes together. 

Only it didn't .

Le Bain Marie is charming and elegant, and a wee bit quiet in that candlelit hush hush conversation kind of way. 

Would two Texans, my Irish mother, and Godmother from New Jersey be candlelit quiet on their first night of vacation together? I doubt it. (Can you just imagine the accents battling it out?!
The charming and elegant Le Bain Marie had to be scratched but I vowed that I would return for one of those hush hush candlelit conversation kind of evenings soon. Two days before dinner, the reservation was cancelled and I was on the hunt again. 

Then I found it; Restaurant Newground. It was perfect. The food was delicious (croustillant de fois gras poêle aux cheveux d'anges followed by médaillons de filet de lotte en nage d'érevisses), we were one of only three tables there (perfect for battling accents) and bonus, we were right around the corner from our hotel. This last bit was very important and I'll tell you why...

The Husband and I had a date. 

London dwelling Sarah and her husband happened to be in Avignon for the night. Total coincidence, I know! So after we deposited our guests back safely to their beds, we skipped off to the Irish pub. 

All settled in with our nightcaps, I asked Sarah how their night was, and did they go anyplace nice for dinner. 

And do you know what she said? She looked at me, told me all about this amazing restaurant that she stumbled upon, that she just knew I would absolutely love.... oh, what was it called... Le Bain Marie! 

Over two hundred restaurants in Avignon, 
and she had to stumble into mine.
P.S. Up next: more Avignon, a howling mistral, and Gordes. 


  1. Ha ha, I love that word, must train myself to say that instead of a few other words that I use ;-) Have a great week. Diane

  2. haha, i love it! great bloggers think alike, i guess! :)

  3. Damn girlie, you make me chuckle. I adore Avignon and one of my most beloved memories was being there, during Super Bowl, walking into and Irish bar, (and now of course I'm wondering if it were the same one) and having one of my travel buddies ask if they wouldn't mind changing the channel from soccer....which the on every tv in the packed joint, and was playing a match between the local team and whomever....thought we might die. After that my girlie friend and I went on a very late, and very drunk, french fry hunt and found them, warm and hot, atop gyros. Love, love, love that city.

  4. There is no problem quite like having to find a restaurant in France. Oh, the choices!

  5. Doh! I was in the middle of writing an epic and the battery on my laptop died. So, the condensed version...

    Just that you are now my official restaurant recommeder of choice. Pourquoi? Because I have always wanted to go to Newground (tried to go for my bday but they were closed--THAT is what happens when you are spontaneous) and just read about an elegant restaurant that I instantly moved to the top of my "to try for a special occasion" list: Le Bain Marie!

    Not as coinkydinky as with your friend but still...

    If you ever want to meet up in Avignon for lunch just let me know! :)

  6. the medieval historian in me is DYING to go to Avignon. I'll let you know when I show up :)

  7. Girl, the Universe has been itching to put us together, clearly. That was such a fun night. Since we both want to eat there again, I think the four of us should meet up and eat at Le Bain Marie for a double date -- without our loud Texas mothers :)

  8. We will have to try Le Bain Marie. There are several restaurants we like a lot in Avignon but always happy to try a new one since you were spot on with your Cassis recommendation.

  9. A table for six, in September - shame on you for asking!!!!

  10. Hah! I love that they ended up at the restaurant you were going to go to!!

  11. I wonder when u will start to give a damn about animals. I have read your blog because you are funny, and the setting is intriguing; bu t you eat animals constantly, you even eat foie gras, which means you are ok with animals truly suffering. all of these animals are as intelligent (if that matters) and as worthy. of living their lives without suffering and persecution as your pet dog. But you dont seem to care. What part of yourself did you have to sell off to make this moral,acceptable and ok?

    1. I didn't have to sell off any part of myself. I'm not a vegan, a vegetarian, nor have I ever pretended to be. I live in France, where I have the right to eat foie gras if I so choose, and you have the right to not read about it.
      By the way, some people in other countries wouldn't have a problem eating my pet dog, personally, I wouldn't, but that's their prerogative. If someone blogged about eating dog, I would probably choose to not read about it, because again, that would be my choice.
      I appreciate the fact that you've read my blog, find my writing to be funny and the setting intriguing, and that you've exercised your right to comment here, but the fact is, I will continue to write about meals that I eat in France, because it is a very big part of French culture, and those meals will undoubtably be full of meat and possibly more foie gras (especially come Christmas time).
      You know who I am, what I'm about, that my husband's favorite hubby is eating plate after plate of raw beef (I've never been shy about that fact), so the decision is yours to read or not to read.
      Thanks for taking the time to comment.

    2. You are right. I was way too tired and too sharp.in my comment. As someone who does work for animal rights, sometimes I find it unfathomable that sweet,funny, talented people don't want to protect them too. Not trying to bring the hammer down again, but i think that it is.my struggle as one who loves them and cannot bear their pain. So that is just the perspective of.one reader of your charming (i mean it) blog. Will keep my trap shut now, and wish you many more lovely days.

  12. Oh, you got hit by a suitcase? I am so sorry! :(( But I agree, wine always helps!
    And I love that word, I will totally use it!
    Have a great day!

  13. I still have nightmares of my dad driving out of Avignon TGV station last year *shudder* Next time I'm driving ;o)

    Anywho, sorry about the full frontal luggage assault, hope all afflicted parts have been suitably marinated in vino since ;o)

    We've only ever done lunch in Avignon, and I've not come across any of those places, may be worth hunting out next time! (with my loud Irish father and loud Scottish mother. Hmm, maybe not ;o) )

  14. LOVE that last line... love the classics. You and I are MFEO.

  15. Love it! aye a fuckenmuckennucken! I just read the post where you explained the phrase! haha I'm sorry to hear about the luggage falling out on you though! I would have said something similar to aye a fuckenmuckennucken too! ;)


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