Monday, May 19, 2014

Missing You! Missing France! 2

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A week from today, we leave our apartment to go to Marseille. Our flight to Lansing is at 0 dark thirty on Tuesday morning and it is a whole lot easier to deal with the early departure from a hotel at the airport.

Given our departure, we are working on turning our apartment into a rental property for the summer/fall. The focus on work helps me not think about leaving here but I nonetheless do think about leaving and what I will miss most. (I looked back through my old blogs to the one I wrote as we prepared to leave in 2009 after our first six months here. My list of things I will miss has not changed a lot. For the sake of redundancy, I offer my 2014 edition of “Missing You! Missing France!)

·         FRIENDS! We have developed wonderful friendships here in Vaison la Romaine. The village is ‘just the right size’ for encountering friends on a regular basis. I realize that the village is also large enough that it could feel isolating without friends.
·         The “Bonjour, monsieur” greeting as I walk into almost any store (followed by: “Au revoir, monsieur. Bonne journée” as I leave a store – even if I didn’t buy anything.
·         The plethora of wineries and all of the wonderful wines of the Rhone Valley. We are fortunate to live amongst some of the best wine-producing villages of the southern Rhone Valley: Cairanne, Chateauneuf du Papes, Gigondas, Rasteau, Roaix, Sablet, Vacqueyras, Vinsobres, Visan. An American friend once asked if one could drink the water in France. I replied: “Of course! But wine is cheaper!”
·         The emphasis that the French put on good (and fresh!) produce, meat and fish. Barbara Kingsolver’s book, Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, underscored the importance of buying fresh/buying locally produced. Right now, asparagus, strawberries (from the next big town – Carpentras), spring melons make shopping more fun and cooking easier. I learned from the fish monger that the best mussels are from Brittany but the ‘moules de Bouchot’ have a season – July to March.

French grocery stores and shops as well as the Tuesday market vendors always display the country of origin of the produce, meat, fish and cheese they are selling. As I have tried to become more of a “locavore”, I have started paying careful attention to the country of origin of my foods.

·         Our world-class cheese store and the choices of cheeses. I am pleased that our market in Lansing has a very good cheese shop but in Lansing, the choice is usually binary: ‘Do you have Roquefort?’ Yes! (or no!) Here in our village, if I ask for Roquefort, I have to clarify what style of Roquefort I want. The same is true for Gruyere, goat cheese, brie, etc…
·         The varieties of meats and poultries
·         The View! from our small but viewalicious balcony on the 3ème étage (4th floor) The spectacular views as one drives/walks around the area.
·         Our daily bread (baguette)
·         Being able to clean the WHOLE apartment while standing in one spot (almost) – in about 12 minutes
·         Leaving the apartment at 5:25 for a 5:30 movie and being on time
·         Playing with the kids at the crèche.

Luckily, the sadness of leaving here is replaced by the joy of returning to Lansing and our wonderful friends there. Life is good!


  1. And we are happily awaiting your return! However, we understand your a piece of your heart remains in Vaison.
    Traveling mercies,
    Dusty and Tim

  2. I have actually heard good things about wines in Oregon, Washington, and California - maybe even a few other states - some even beating out French wines in competitions. If I am not mistaken it seems that a recent report even suggested cheese in the states is moving up in quality. And I have always been taken by how friendly folks at the Lansing Market have been, sharing things from their gardens as you do with yours. But yes, when I Google Roguefort it only provides for French Roguefort at the top of the list. It is surely always a hard fall in the states. So bourgeois, we Americans.

  3. So much of what you wrote in this post rings so true with me too. I hope you have your apartment rented for throughout the summer and fall. I know spring and summer arrived late in Michigan but hope it has caught up by now. We were in the Lansing area for a wedding Memorial Day weekend and thought of you there in Vaison.