Rest Day: Lourmarin

Saturday, 27 May 2023

We opened our eyes on a lovely summer morning, neither too hot nor too cold, and as we had awarded ourselves a day of rest, it looked even lovelier. Leaving our tent and all our gear standing, we strolled down, crossed the ring road, and arrived at the tree-shaded square where we had dined last night.

Back in Place Henri Barthélémy for breakfast

It was 9 o’clock and the Office of Tourism was just opening, so we went across and asked where the nearest boulangerie was. The girl at the desk produced a map and marked the place, which looked rather distant (but actually wasn’t).

Setting off, we had only gone a few metres when we came to a Vival shop, at which we were able to get four different kinds of pastries to have with our coffee.

We went back to the dappled shade of the same table that we had eaten at last night, with its great guardian plane tree whose branches spread out to mingle with those of its neighbours.

Some white market tents were being set up, with a jumble of clothes and knick-knacks, but it was far from the full-scale, street-blocking market that we had encountered when we first arrived yesterday.

Fountains of Lourmarin #1

We took our time with our breakfast, and then Keith said that he felt a bit tired and disinclined to move, so I left him sitting comfortably there, and did a little tour of the village by myself, with the help of a leaflet that we had picked up at the Office of Tourism.

The centre of Lourmarin was, like Cucuron, a steep little rocky knoll, probably a volcanic core, completely covered in steep lanes, churches, pretty little houses and the like, including a great many fountains.

Fountains of Lourmarin #2

On our previous visit to this village, which was long ago in 2007, we had dined at a restaurant next to a fountain, and I photographed each fountain that I passed in the hope of remembering which one it had been.

Fountains of Lourmarin #3

Not having any recollection of our earlier route, I went up one crooked lane to the top of the knoll and down another, taking photos as I went.

(It was only after we got home that we worked out that I had missed the fountain that I was seeking by not continuing along the street that circled around the base.)

Fountains of Lourmarin #4

After descending, I found myself near the château, which was in spacious grounds on the flat land at the foot of the knoll.

By that time I felt far from my starting point and I was amazed to find that the Place Henri Barthélémy was just along the street, with Keith still sitting at his ease under the tree.

Château de Lourmarin
Camping at its finest

He now felt much restored so we went for another brief tour of the village and then took ourselves off to the camping ground.

This ascent was easy for him, unlike last night’s, so he took that as a hopeful sign for tomorrow.

We had showers in the ultra-modern sanitaires, washed our clothes and draped them over some bushes, then lay down for a sleep.

There was hardly any grass on our emplacement, only a few weeds straggling out of bare dirt (all the emplacements were like that), but we had our mattresses so we did not care.

Back to our favourite restaurant in our favourite square in Lourmarin

Later, resplendent in our evening clothes and sandals, we went to the bar near the swimming pool, where the chatty waiter from Réunion was again on duty, and we ordered a half-litre of rosé, most of which ended up in the trusty little flask which I carry in my shoulder bag. The shrieking of the kids in the water was a cheerful accompaniment to our apéritifs.

Having strolled down the now familiar steep road to the village, we installed ourselves once again at le Comptoir.

The reason for our failure to try a different restaurant was that we had not seen a pleasanter-looking one in all our rambles around the town. Probably it was the plane trees that did it for us.

Our dinners

Keith had an omelette complète and I had a côte de porc. Both dishes were accompanied by masses of salad and other vegetables that looked as if they had just been plucked from the ground that afternoon.

We ordered a single glass of rosé, which I surreptitiously refilled several times from my secret store.

The warmth of the evening, the beautiful leafy surroundings, the other people dining and chatting around us, not to mention the food itself, made for a delightful meal.

Previous day: Cucuron to Lourmarin

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