Friday, September 26, 2014
26.09.2014 - 27.09.2014
Our last day in the Luberon. We left early for Paradou and, after passing Les Baux de Provence high on a hill, had no trouble finding it or finding parking. We set off on foot following signs to the santon museum, La Petite Provence du Paradou. We walked until we ran out of sidewalk and then walked some more but there were no more signs and no museum. Back to the car! Following the same signs we drove on and out of town, and there was the museum so we parked under a plane tree and entered. It is a truly fun museum that seems to be based on a prophecy by Nostradamus that the people of Paradou would preserve the life of Provence as it was then, and they have done an admirable job. There are several sections and all are identified. Life in Old Provence has been created with models of buildings, tools, some working, and the tiny, well-dressed and painted clay figures called Santons. Some moved such as a man turning wood on a lathe, an organ grinder, a woman ironing clothes and dancers at a wedding by the church. There are more than 400 figures involved in cutting lavender, tending sheep, carding wool, etc. There was a movie all in French but the exhibit cards have English on them. It was great fun. We exited through the boutique where I got colorful paper napkins and soaps. [La Petite Provence du Paradou; 75 ave. de la Vallée des Baux 18520 Le Paradou; tel: +33 (0)4 9054-3575; fax: +33 (0)4 9054-3567; e-mail: email@example.com; web site: http://www.lapetiteprovenceduparadou.com/]
Next we drove to Château d’Estoublon to see what we could see and to check their restaurant menu. We parked and walked toward the château. The first thing we saw was the Chapelle Saint-Hubert so we stopped in to see the inside. It’s very interesting because the stained glass windows are scenes of hunting and nature since St. Hubert is the patron saint of hunters. The glass is modern and created by a Swiss artist. There is also a marvelous Nativity Scene under the balcony that is featured at Christmas. There are murals on the stairwell walls and around the entry door.
Leaving the chapel, we walked to the Bistrot Mogador and were cheerfully greeted by a young lady who showed us the various menus. She disappeared with a delivery and we discovered no price on the menu du jour so when a man walked by, we asked him and it was 23 euros. Sounded good to us so we reserved a table and set out to explore. It’s harvest time so the vineyards were cordoned off, and they are renovating the château under copious scaffolding so we walked around the front garden, took duck photos and that was it. Thence to the boutique which was fun because it was inside the château so we saw three rooms and a stairway with lovely ironwork banisters.
We returned to the bistrot and got a lovely table under a huge umbrella with views of château, chapel, fountains and garden on a picture perfect day. We ordered kirs since it was our last day in the Luberon and then ordered the menu du jour of gardienne de taureau which was fork tender and delicious. We were served the estate olives and wine and enjoyed both. After a delicious baba au rum dessert, we went back to the boutique and bought a bottle of their wine for our last picnic of the trip tonight. The château and its bistrot made for a great last day. Tomorrow we’ll be eating in Nice. [Château d’Estoublon, Bistrot Mogador, Route de Maussane (D17) 13990 Fontvieille; tel: +33 (0)4 9054-6400; booking: +33 (0)4 9043-8255; GPS Lat. 43.735; Long. 4.742; http://www.estoublon.com]
Drove back to Paradou with the thought of taking pictures but we’d pretty much covered it earlier. Drove on to Mausanne-les-Alpilles but couldn’t find parking so we took the long scenic route home where we found Claude cleaning the gite next to us. They’ve left already . . . short stay.
We have to pack and clean tonight and are checking out in the morning. We did drive into town for a baguette and flan for supper. Sorry to leave our nice little gite.