When I was a kid and before the motorways existed, the only way to get from Paris to the South of France was via the National Roads and the well known and dreaded N7.
What an experience that was. I discovered a few months ago a comic strip from Thierry Dubois which depicts in great details how it was there and then in the 60’s. The drawings are perfect and bring back a lot of nostalgia.
Anyway the point of this is that one of the obligatory stop when reaching the south )(i.e anything south of Lyon) was in Montélimar the capital of nougat and this is where I am off to for 3 days to attend one of our yearly friend’s reunion. The interesting bit is that I am actually coming from the south on this trip and I am using the motorways.
Day 1 – Wednesday October 2nd
Mid morning departure withthe objective to reach the town of Orange in time for lunch. This we did in a couple of hours.
We immediately found a pleasant restaurant Restaurant à la Maison next to the old city walls where we had a plesant lunch sitting outside.
A couple of minutes walk across the street and we were in the Antic Theatre. We had first a virtual tour showing how it was when it was built then we could walk and see for ourseleves. The theatre is still used for concerts mainly classical.
It is actually quite amazing to see how many Roman remains are still standing in France.
All this was followed by a walk in town and Orange appears to be
A mere 45kms further up north and we reached Montelimar and our friends’ house.
The rest of the gang arrived one by one (couple by couple) during the afternoon and in time for the apéritif and dinner. Needless to say it was a fairly loud affair and many bottles were emptied.
Day 2 – Thursday October 3rd
The theme of the day was pottery
We started fairly early and picked those who were staying in town in a hotel (Hotel du Parc to be recommended by the way). Next on the list was to pick up our guide Pablo.
Destinations for the day were:
The village of Cliousclat
I must mention that the Mistral wind was blowing as it often does. The big advantage is a clear blue sky, not so pleasant is the fact it is cold.
It turned out that our guide Pablo was a bit of an expert on the subject of potteries and actually did a few years apprenticeship in the place we visited.
The village of Mirmande
We came to see this lady’s workshop
The village of Marsanne for lunch in the restaurant called “La Côte D 1000”
For a lovely lunch
We then went to La Poët-Laval in the afternoon.
I cannot say we were too impressed with someof the stuff on offer and in particular the astronomical high prices.
Some cared more than others…
Back home for a rest and nap for some followed by a quick aperitif and departure for a restaurant in Savasse called “Les Monts de Savasse” where on Thursday evening the menu is “All you can eat – Frogs’ legs”. Delicious unless you are allergic to garlic which is the case for one of the gang who shall remain nameless.
It turned out to be quite a late evening back home for a couple of us due to a bottle of Génépi… which begged to be drunk.
Day 3 – Friday October 4th
Another interesting day. A visit to the Nuclear Plant at “Cruas-Meysse” was scheduled in the morning. The plant located 15 kms north of Montelimar is 35 years old and has 4 reactors.
We were extremely well looked after and the 2 ladies who presented the plant and who took us around were extremely professional and knowledgeable.
Basically I learned a lot.
We were suitably equiped with basic safety equipement, shoes, helmet, glasses. The instructions were that one had to wear long sleeves and long trousers & socks.
It was a happy and satisfied lot who left the place around lunch time.
Lunch was at our friend’s house after which we all split up for different activities and the drives homes.
I went to the European War Planes museum. They had a couple of interesting exhibits, mainly French Mirages and this magnificent DC3.
The others went to a nougat factory.
The journey back home was quick and under 3 hours and that included a quick stop to buy some of the local speciality:
Next reunion in 2020 will be in Brittany.
More photos in the cloud here