Leaving our beloved Luberon–heading north part 1

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Sometimes when the end of a trip is in sight, no matter how much you have enjoyed it, you are ready to go home. And so it was for us. We still had three days of travel ahead as our last day in Saint Saturnin lès Apt drew near. I had carefully planned those days for not too many hours on the road, interesting places to visit and good places to land each night.

Café/croissant au Platane, Saint Saturnin lès Apt

So on our last day in Saint Sat, as it is affectionately called, we put away all the dishes, stripped the beds and put all the linens in the laundry room. Elisabeth and Jurgen arrived promptly at 9 to pick up the keys and say good bye. We decided, since we had an entire day before us, to have one last petit déjeuner in our local café – Bar le Platane. The coffee was rich and dark with a beautiful crêma. The croissant and pain au chocolat were buttery and flaky. We lingered a bit, savoring each last moment.

Then off we went, winding up the narrow country roads above Saint Sat and across the plateau of Ventoux. We know the region well, but we found ourselves on sections of road that we had never seen! Pine, cedar and cypress trees pushed their way up through the rocky terrain and along steep gorges. It turns out we were on one of the famous, sinewy “Balcony Roads” of France.

We were planning to reach the tiny hamlet of Bourdeaux (sic) for lunch since we had eaten there last year on our way south from Lyon. The restaurant, La Table d’Aimer, was run by a small wine producer and his wife with only one menu offering. It was closed! So sad! We had really been looking forward to it. Oh well! It didn’t keep us down for long.

So we headed on to a place called Crest. We had never heard of it, but it was a bustling market town on a river and huddled below a giant but not beautiful chateau-fort. Street musicians competed as diners headed to local restaurants. Alas, no table for us this time! Instead we found a pizza place not far from where we parked and I finally had my French pizza. La Reine, as it is called has emmental and ham and it is my favorite, although there were disappointingly no mushrooms. Ray had a tartiflette–a white pizza with onions, bacon and potatoes. Yum! This wasn’t so bad!

Our destination was Grenoble. Not our first time, but we know a lot of people who have lived there and who love it so we needed a second taste. Parking the car in the central Lafayette garage was an adventure, but we survived. Our hotel “Le Grand Hotel Best Western” was great and our room had a balcony above one of the main pedestrian streets.

The weather was not perfect, but we walked along the Isère and through the lush parks. We stopped for a little last minute shopping and landed at a great place for dinner, La Table des Gordes. I had one of my newly discovered Elderflower spritzes (move over Aperol!) the food was creative and the service was fantastic! Wish we had more time (and more money)! A last glass of Armagnac was a perfect end to a pretty great day.