Thursday, September 25, 2014
25.09.2014 - 26.09.2014
Woke to sunshine but very windy and cool enough for jackets . . . a pleasant change. I phoned Renault to make an appointment to return our car Saturday. We ate and started for Boulbon. Had no trouble getting there except for the D35 out of Tarascon being closed. We took the scenic route past Frigolet Abbey, a lovely drive. Arrived at the road into Boulbon and it was closed for construction . . . no signs, no detours, and folks along the road no help. We went further down the D35 and took another entrance into the very neat but not very welcoming town. We parked on the main square and tried to walk around dodging aggressive drivers on narrow streets. We did get in the church (Eglise St. Joseph) but signage in town was spare to nonexistent and we couldn’t find anything. We walked partway up a cobbled street and found the wall around the château but no entrance. We found a nice viewpoint and got some photos and started back down. We finally gave up the château search on foot and got the car in hopes road signs to either the château or the moulin we had spotted would appear. You could see the hilltop windmill from the highway but no signs or entrance. Later discovered the windmill is Moulin Bonnet and is the only working windmill in the Bouches-de-Rhone district. We found one sign to the château and it didn’t lead anywhere so we gave up and retreated to the D35 north to Barbentane that we hoped would be an improvement. It definitely was . . .
We walked to the tourist office and got a map and a restaurant recommendation from a very pleasant young woman. Then walked a block to Le Romarin, a quaint and friendly restaurant. The 13.50 euro menu looked a little overwhelming so we spent more to get less. Ed got Blanc de poulet en croûte de jambon cru, chicken wrapped in ham in a crust, and I got the souris d’agneau. We both opted for potatoes Dauphinoise instead of frites and were very glad because it was delicious. It also came with haricots verts. Both meals were wonderful and the restaurant quickly filled with townsfolk eating lunch. No one spoke English and there was no English menu but he did ask if we could read the French menu. We assured him we could, but I’m sure he would have found someone to help us if we couldn’t, possibly his daughter, the chef, as we later discovered. He had one daughter who was chef at the restaurant and the other daughter was a doctor in town. He said both daughters spoke English but he had never learned it. It was a delightful experience, good food, good service. [Le Romarin, 11 Avenue Bertherigues, 13570 Barbentane; +33 (0)4 9095-5843; http://romarins.e-monsite.com/#]
After lunch we set off on a town walk we’d gotten from the tourist office. That was great fun and we found almost all of the historic plaques throughout the old town. We started through the Porte Calendrale, up rue Grande to the Maison de Ville, Maison des Chevaliers, Notre Dame de Grace and on through the Old Town and various gates to the Tour Anglica and followed the path down through a tunnel that brought us out very near our restaurant. The château has recently been closed to visitors so we didn’t get to see that, just shot a photo through the gate as we left.
Back on the road we headed toward Châteaurenard where we planned to head toward Noves and home. Alas, our road was closed so we were detoured onto the D570n south and finally came to the 99 to St. Remy. Then in St. Remy, Ed mistakenly took the D30 north so we ended up on the D31 into our gite the back way. The nice part is we passed a field with at least a dozen grey herons posing for us. That was spectacular.