Sunday, October 23, 2011

Trip Report - France 2011 - October 4th - Viviers to Tain L'Hermitage

Last sight of Viviers
We had an early breakfast and boarded the bus around 8am for a trip through the French countryside. I took a last photo of Viviers through the bus window.

 In the Garden of the Bees

Our first stop was Le Jardin Aux Abeilles (The Garden With Bees?).  The farmhouse and garden are usually closed at this time of year, but Marie-Paule, the owner, is a friend of our co-guide, Laurence, and has taken time off to show us around.  Surrounding the converted farmhouse and outbuildings Marie-Paule has done extensive planting, and created winding paths leading to lovely small gardens. It is a work in progress. She provided information, in english to explain how the French farm gardens have changed over time.
Old farmbuilding

A garden path

Reproduction of antique watering pot

Cat by a farmhouse window
After the tour, Marie-Paule offered us walnut wine, bissap, and chocolate cake. I was sorry to leave because the house and garden were so lovely and peaceful. The bees were no problem.


The next stop was the tiny village of Cliousclat. We first visited The Poterie of Cliousclat (I'm sorry, Google won't translate this page into English for me).
In through an obscure entrance
To the sunny courtyard:
The courtyard
A young potter at work:
A young potter at work

Grapes on the wall

A stroll through the village:
A doorway

We rode back to the ship, which was now docked at La Voulte,  and had lunch. After lunch, while the boat sailed towards Tain l'Hermitage, our guide Cherifa gave a lecture on the wine of the region.

Tain L'Hermitage

In Tain L'Hermitage (the ship's home port) we had a wine-tasting at a cellar next to one of the Valrhona Chocolate Factories. The chocolate factory was closed, but they had free samples in the wine cellar's gift shop.
Wine-tasting in Tain L'Hermitage

We took a foot-bridge from Tain L'Hermitage across to Tournon-sur-Rhone.  In the dark I did not at first realize that the outside of the bridge was covered with spider webs. 
Spider on the bridge, captured by flash
Perhaps it was appropriate that an art installation, les peuple des ondes, on the bridge, consisted of life-sized figures that looked as if they had been wrapped in spider webs.

Top part of an art figure from "People of the Waves"
After our walk, we went to an entertainment in the lounge area of the ship. It was a long day, but the crew members who participated seemed as peppy as ever.

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