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Saturday, June 30, 2012

The Honeymoon: Chateauneuf de pape

May 14 & 15

We found a great inn near Orange called Bastide des Princes that is run by a master chef and his wife. We’d hoped to stay two nights but they only had availability for one night so we decided to take it anyway.

Door knocker
The door knocker

The inn is along a lovely country road and in the middle of fields. It’s charming to say the least, just like the owners.

Bastide des Princes, near Chateauneuf du pape

Bastide des Princes, near Chateauneuf du pape

Bastide des Princes, near Chateauneuf du pape

While James and I were having a small picnic in the garden, Annie came out and let us know that the couple set to arrive the following day had some misfortune and were no longer able to come so if we still wanted the room for two nights, she’d be happy to accommodate us. Hooray!

Bastide des Princes

This was wonderful news for us because the kitchen is closed on Monday, which meant that if we weren’t staying the extra night on Tuesday, we’d be unable to enjoy the fantastic creations of her husband. The menu is set each day depending on what is fresh and available in the garden and from the market.

Vines near Bastide des Princes
Check out these old vines.


For our first night we asked them to recommend a good foodie place for us to have dinner, and we had a fantastic recommendation, which did require a bit of scouting! Fido can thank Google maps for that $50 data checkin.

I’ll have to update this post with the name of the other restaurant when I find the business card because it was James’ favourite meal.

The following day we borrowed a map from our hosts and did another excellent loop drive, where we stopped and wandered through several little villages.

Loop drive from Chateauneuf du pape

Vines

Vaison-la-Romaine (maybe)

In Vaison-la-Romaine or Séguret (maybe), we walked up to some ruins at the top of a hill and enjoyed a beautiful view of the countryside.

Vaison-la-Romaine or Séguret (maybe)

Vaison-la-Romaine or Séguret (maybe)

Vaison-la-Romaine or Séguret (maybe)

Vaison-la-Romaine

The route from Vaison to Suzette is a little climb, which means that the viewpoints are even more frequent and spectacular than the loop route near Grasse. In addition there are caves for wine tasting everywhere, and everything tastes amazing.

Route de Vaison to Suzette

Route de Vaison to Suzette
That night we had dinner in the restaurant, which was magical and my favourite meal of our entire trip.

Nighttime at Bastide des Princes, near Chateauneuf du pape

We started with a glass of sparkling wine, then moved on to this bottle of red, which I’d happily have again and again.

Bastide des Princes amazing dinner

I really should have taken a photo of each course because the next dish was always trumping the last. This is my favourite way to eat, small plates throughout the evening with a great bottle(s) of wine.

Bastides des Princes - appetizer with scallop, salmon, asperagus

Bastide des Princes amazing dinner

I can still taste this dessert. The fruite mousse was delightful, but the white chocolate cheesecake with the whipped mint-chocolate hardened around it was the ultimate taste combo for me.

Bastides des Prince -- master chef dessert

Bastide des Princes

It was sad to leave our little kitchen breakfast table the next morning, but also happy because we were on our way to see Darren and Julie in Argeliers.

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