Romanesque Church Hunt Looking for churches and other France adventures.

May 28, 2007

To Market, To Market

There’s nothing like starting out a church hunt with a stop at a market for lunch supplies and shopping therapy. But it’s also possible to miss out on markets when combining unfamiliarity with an area and a propensity to sleep late (but of course you are on vacation!)

Here’s my list for our area of the Drome. I tried checking the tourist offices as well and have noted a couple of markets that are the don’t-miss ones.

Montelimar seems to have a market everyday, but I’m not sure on the details of that.

Tulette (cute little town with a cute church)

Vaison-La-Romaine (8-2–provencale market – this is a big market)



Nyons (This is a very famous large market — a don’t-miss!)
Montségur-sur-Lauzon <>



Nyons (this market is a ‘marche provencale’)



May 23, 2007

Dining at the Chapel

I found this list of interesting nice restaurants, in case we decide to venture out for some local dining. There’s some lovely options, but in the spirit of this blog I must note in particular this one:–note the “small vaulted dining room” –perhaps a little more than we like to spend but 3 courses plus “vault” might be worth a splurge! Or maybe we could sample a lunch there (for research purposes of course.)

La Chapelle, Saint Paul Trois Ch̢teaux, a busy town (pop. approx 31,000) in the Rh̫ne Valley, but the historic part will enchant you. Ever wondered what a real tiny restaurant located in a former chapel looks like? Try this one; small vaulted dining room inside, tiny shaded terrace outside. But Chef Eric Rolland knows his business. Lovingly prepared dishes, Southern flavor with innovative touch. Prices: Euro 32 Р48. Impasse Ludovic de Bimard, 26130 St.Paul Trois Ch̢teau, Tel: 04 75 96 60 88.

More Restaurants:

Le Clair de la Plume, Grignan, the tea room of this charming boutique hotel near the famous lavoir in Grignan. They offer during lunch time a limited menu of light meals, salads, quiches. Great place to have your afternoon tea, enjoy an ice cream or fruit juice. Wonderful inner courtyard. Prices: Euro 12 – 20. Place du Mail, 26320 Grignan, Tel: +33 (0)4 75 91 81 30.

l’Eau à la Bouche, Grignan, a tiny restaurant in what looks like a doll house with its blue rimmed windows, flowers and all. They serve wonderful Provençal food; charming service. Prices: Euro 24 – 38, Rue St. Louis, 26230 Grignan, Tel: 04 75 46 57 37.

Le Probus, Grignan, another favorite in Grignan; a clear, precise concept of Southern cooking using products in season. The restaurant is named after the Roman Emperor Probus who chased the Teutonic tribes out of the Provence. The decor tries to fit the name. Prices: Euro 18 Р35, Espace la Tuili̬re, 26230 Grignan, Tel: 04 75 46 13 34.

Relais de Grignan, Grignan on the road to Mont̩limar, the restaurant of the Hotel Bastide de Grignan. Traditional regional cooking, nice outside terrace. An excellent price/quality relationship and friendly service. Prices: Euro 25 Р40, Rte. de Mont̩limar 26230 Grignan, Tel: 04 75 46 57 22.

Une Autre Maison, Nyons, a charming boutique hotel, which offers dinner for non-residents (reservations a must). Creative regional dishes lovingly prepared. Prices: Euro 35 (dinner only). Place de la République, 26110 Nyons, Tel : 04 75 26 43 09.

Le Petit Caveau, Nyons, intimate restaurant in the historic center behind the Place des Arcades. Creative cuisine with a Southern touch, carefully prepared by Chef Laurent Lecompte and served by charming Laure. Good wine list. Prices: Euro 25 – 50. 9 Rue Victor Hugo, 26110 Nyons, Tel: 04 75 26 20 21.

La Fleur de Thym, les Pilles a small place in a tiny village not far from Nyons offers a great dining experience in a very charming setting. Creative dishes rooted in local traditions combined with a welcoming service. The restaurant is located one the right side 100m after the tunnel, turn right to park the car. Prices: Euro 38 -50. Le Village, 26110 Les Pilles, Tel : 04 75 27 77 91
Domaine Les M̩j̩onnes, Valaurie restaurant of a small hotel located in an old farmhouse in Valaurie on the road from Grignan to Mont̩limar. Charming dining room and shaded outside terrace. Creative regional cooking, highly appreciated by locals and visitors alike. The place is always full. Prices: Euro 22 Р30. 26230 Valaurie, Tel: 04 75 98 60 60.

Le Moulin de Valaurie, Valaurie, the restaurant of this tranquil and luxurious hotel in a lovingly restored old mill outside of Valaurie is a sure bet. Elegant dining room, shaded outside terrace. Classic and regional cuisine carefully prepared, a well chosen wine cellar with Southern vintages. Balance, taste, dedication … a peaceful place. Prices: Euro 30 – 45. Le Foulon, 26230 Valaurie, Tel: 04 75 97 21 90.

Au D̩lice de Provence, Valr̩as a long time favorite of locals. Valr̩as is the largest town in the Enclave des Papes. Located in a historic townhouse in the center of Valr̩as. They offer Proven̤al cooking you have seen many times, but well made. Prices: Euro 18 Р42. 6, la Placette, 84600 Valreas, Tel: 04 90 28 16 91.

May 21, 2007

Truffle Headquarters

Filed under: Dining Delights From All Over — Karen @ 1:00 am


I went looking for a truffle picture and the first one that came up was this sample from a truffle store in our neighborhood, St Paul Trois Chateaux. Drome Provencale is one of the main truffle- producing areas in France, along with the Perigord.

It’s nice to think of tripping over one of these $500 a pound nuggets, but the truffle season is from November to March. Right now, these types of mushrooms are just beginning to form under their truffle oaks (common in the woods around our rental house.) The truffle grows beneath the soil and it’s only by scent that they can be found.


Although it has been tried to standardize the cultivation of truffles, they resist standardization. Most of the harvest is still done by a lone truffle-hunter with his dog or pig. Pigs have a natural love of truffles and a keen-scented hound can be taught to find the truffle for rewards and his master’s approval. Taking out your trusty pig means watching him carefully so he does’t gobble the truffle once he has found it.

At left is St Antoine and his truffle pig.

May 18, 2007

The Chicken Hunt

Filed under: Dining Delights From All Over — Karen @ 2:47 pm


After all the hard work of hunting down a particularly toothsome spectacle of Romanesque churchdom, nothing satisfies quite like a rotisserie chicken brought home fresh from the market, perhaps accompanied by some crispy bread and fragrant fresh cherries and peaches.

As all Francophiles know, everything tastes better in France and chickens are almost a different species over there. They have an essence of intense ‘chickenness’ that can only be guessed at here. There is even a type of chicken in France that is awarded a special ‘appellation’ like wine. These chickens, in Bourg-en-Bresse, are the only ones that can be marketed as chickens from that particular area.


But back to our rotisserie topic: the rotisserie birds generally come in two varieties–the regular bird and the farm-raised bird. The regular is great, but the farm-raised, usually a big beefy bird, is a cosmic experience.

Occasionally there will also be tiny wild birds for sale–that’s a future adventure for us.

May 15, 2007

Castle & University of Wine

Today, let’s look at a castle, not a church.

In nearby Suze-la-Rousse, the 12th-14th century Chateau de Suze-la-Rousse towers over the village. The chateau has tall windows, thick buttresses, and storybook crenelated toweres. There is also an interesting park just adjacent to the chateau.

On the grounds of the chateau is a internationally recognized University of Wine. The university was created in 1978, and is a private school giving professional education in the different domains of wine, including growing, commercial management and marketing. It also includes a seminar center, a large documentation center, a specialized library, and, of course, wine tasting facilities.

Perhaps one of our group, who is an avid wine fan, will want to stop by.

Below, entering town with chateau up above.


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