I left St Maires de la Mer and Antoine after lunch and drove north to Dieulefit. On the way, I stopped in Vaison La Romaine. Here is a little tip. Taking the Autoroute is not always the shortest way. I drove via Arles and Avignon (and no, I did not dance on the bridge). But, I did take a short break near the Palais des Papes. My Pink Lady was pleased to be on display and be admired by the locals.
I wanted to continue and drove on to Vaison. I was curious to find out if the Roman ruins are as spectacular as people say they are.
Sitting in the Roman ruins was an experience. I couldn’t help thinking of the old classic films Ben Hur and of course, Russel Crowe in the Gladiator and that wonderful film, The Last Days of Pompeii. The women in their flowing white dresses, the orgies, the men in their tunics, showing their muscles, makes me melt…ah well!
Geneviève had told me about potteries in Dieulefit, and even the name is strange. God fits it. What? The town or beautiful pottery? There was only one thing to do, explore. I pushed on and finally arrived in the late afternoon.
My hotel room was a little on the small side, but comfortable. It was modern and offered me a pleasant view of the village. For one night it was OK.
But the magic was in the Spa area. It had the usual, a sauna, a swimming pool, but what got me excited was the Hammam. While I love my car and driving it on scenic routes through beautiful countryside, it does take a toll on my back and my “bootie”. So, surrendering myself to the gentle torture of capable hands reorganizing my back was pure heaven, “God’s Fit” – Dieu Le Fit. It all made sense.
Feeling heavenly, my stomach wanted to have the same treatment, and off to the Bistro, we went.
Reading the menu, the words “Poke Bowl” poked me, or rather my stomach. It turned out to be sushi rice, spring salad and 64° eggs.
What on earth were they?
I asked the waiter for an explanation, and it goes something like this: it is an egg, cooked at precisely 64° for 45 minutes to an hour. And it is NOT a hard-boiled egg. When it arrived, the white was coagulated with the texture of a flan and the yellow had the texture of unctuous butter. Different and quite good.
A cheesecake with limes with a scoop of raspberry sorbet followed by an espresso gave me the necessary heaviness for me to sink deep in my soft pillows.
The next morning, after breakfast, I decided to explore the second part of God’s local creation here.
Strolling around town, I have to admit, there are LOTS of potteries here. But I saw one item in the window of a pottery, and I wanted it.
The shop was airy and bright. Clean lines, and not overflowing with objects. Céline was there, and she explained to me that they were a cooperative of nine individual potters, all women, and each creating their work with their own unique style.
“For example, if you look at this, what the potter has done is superimpose enamels and created a piece rich in contrasts, and raw colours and then covered it with a satiny glaze.” she explained to me.
“This one looks nice”, I said, holding up a blue and white bowl. “Reminds me a little of Delft Pottery.”
“Ah yes,” said Céline, “this is certainly a different approach. It’s one of my favourites because she really brings it to life. She aspires to make her porcelain poetic, but still reflect everyday pleasures and life. She wants to express a delightful fragrance of enchanting encounters and wonders.”
I was beginning to get confused here.
“Can you feel the dance of the waves and an invitation to travel?”, asked Céline.
I stared at the vase and decided it was time to leave. This was all getting a little too arty for my nature. But, there was quite a variety of things to look at. I had a look around and found the colours were strong and vibrant, with lots of yellows, blues, and greens in a gentle sort of way. It is kind to the eyes. This was a far cry from some of the other things I had seen here. This was not your olive-patterned tourist pottery, this was art. But they also organise exhibitions and events of other potters in the region.
Without the crazy explanations, it was actually quite impressive.
Something was beginning to stir inside me. These artists presented their work which reflected daily life and pleasure. Perhaps, I could extend that to the decorations of my buffets. Some of these objects were real eye-catchers which could help transport my clients into the sumptuous world of food. It would be different from the usual vases and flowers as a centrepiece.
Oh dear, was I becoming arty too?
I have to say, in the end, everything was pleasing to the eyes. It was with a slight tinge of sadness that I had to leave. But lunch was still 2 hours away, and I wanted to get there on time.