By Maggie LaCoste
Monday in France. A day when about a lot of restaurants and food stores in France are closed. I know this, having bicycled many Mondays in France, and I should have known better. But we were rushed to get on the road for Vaison la Romaine, so only picked up water for the road. Bad mistake. While we had one terrific day of cycling, surrounded by grape vines burgeoning with ripe red grapes and the sight of the incredible Dentelles de Mirail, it wasn’t a day with many choices for food. So day one of bicycling in Provence was a cruel reminder of my “always be prepared on Mondays” rule. Hopefully you will heed this advice better than I do!
Other than the food thing, this day was a spectacular one of bicycling in Provence, despite my fears about the terrain. The Dentelles de Mirail were pretty intimidating, looking in parts like a Razorback dinosaur ‘s tail.
The towns along the way were each prettier than the next: Violes, Gigondas, Sablet, Seguret, just to name a few.
By the time we climbed the hill to the famous wine village of Gigondas, I was starving. Certainly there would be a market to buy cheese, ham and bread. We could have sampled enough wine to incapacitate us, but the only choices for lunch were several lovely restaurants, full of others like us in search of food on this glorious day!
Not knowing what the rest of the itinerary to Vaison la Romaine held, we made the decision not to spend two hours over lunch in one of the crowded restaurants. Bring out the emergency food: a bag of nuts, a Kind bar, two bags of crisps courtesy of British Airways, and of course a bottle of Cotes du Rhone wine. Perfect, but unfortunately not a lot for a starving cyclist.
Fortunately the route out of Gigondas was all downhill, and the only hill of the afternoon was the giant one to our hotel in the medieval part of Vaison la Romaine. Fortunately, Tuesday is market day in town, so we will be able to replenish our emergency supplies. As far as dinner on Monday night, we opted to forego the hand full of nicer restaurants open for the pizza place very close to our hotel! Pizza never tasted so good!