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Friday, November 27, 2009


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To Portia, from Judith in Greensboro, NC. So glad you are up for trips like this where serendipty happens and makes the best memories. My husband and I had a similar experience with s'egarer driving over 300 miles in France with only three difficulties. One occurred when trying to find a castle near Tour in time for the dinner reservation at their 5 star restaurant. ( Our first and only of this kind ) At dusk in November, but with very clear directions, we kept passing the turn we needed. The next day we learned that someone had removed a key street sign. All's well that end's well and it did.

In a much less scenic area, immediately upon our arrival, we spent an hour trying to exit the airport with our rental car and negotiate the freeways to get onto the highway we needed. It is very annoying to realize that you are driving in circles! Worse still to be the only French speaking person in the couple and therefore to be in the role of "navigator at fault". Wine and puppies would have been welcome after that frustration! But somehow we did it and our 30th wedding anniversary was our most memorable ever.

Thanks to your daughter for sharing.

Candy Witt

Someday I plan to write a book about my life which I shall entitle, "Getting Lost at Home." some of the best things happen while you're "lost"! And then how much sweeter it is to be "found". My, I'm philosphical this morning :) Hope all are enjoying a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend with friends, family, and, bien sure, dogs! (Although they would certainly fit into either of the other categories) Thank you again, Kristin, for your blog and the opportunity it affords to all of us to share our thoughts and experiences as well.



Thank you for posting this. Our afternoon visiting with you and sitting under the tress tasting wine and cuddling puppies was a wonderful end to our vacation. The "adventure" of getting there was a test of nerves and the strength of the friendship my sister Suzanne and I share! We have such fond memories of our visit and thanks to the blog, we revisit it "thrice weekly."

Watching the news of people rushing to the malls at 4 am this morning to buy Christmas gifts makes me very thankful that the gift Suzanne, Portia, and I give ourselves is an annual vacation where we visit magical places like Provence and enjoy the gift we cherish the most -- wonderful adventures with family.

My cold is in its last phase so I am now up to writing my short bio -- Margaret was born and raised in Southern California. She moved to Durham, NC in 1997 to take a position at Duke University. On the side, she sells antiques in Hillsborough, NC. Yes, her luggage was filled with "finds" from brocantes and puces in Paris and Provence!

Margaret (enjoying a lovely fall day -50f- in Durham, NC.


Margaret, So good to know you are feeling better. Thank you for the bio.

Candy, "Getting Lost at Home" will be a great read and, meantime, it's a wonderful philosophy.

Judith, Aha! The "Removing of sey (Road, Street) sign indications" explains a lot! I think the Italians are guilty of this as well. Rascals.


Whoops! I meant "key" sign indications, key as in VITAL!


Merci, mesdames! I love this story. I sometimes imagine myself making that same trip, including the "s'égarer" part. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Jacqui McCargar

I love the "Réserve de Chasse" picture and the ones from Wednesday's blog. They have great color and composition. My only trip to Provence this late in the year gave me some wonderful photos of the fall colors. We had a nice,quiet Thanksgiving Day and ate too much as usual. I'm glad it's only once a year! Todays weather in Northern California is cool, 48 degrees and slightly rainy. Wish I was in Provence sitting under the tree eating lunch!

Suzanne Dennis

Thanks for posting our story. Your are so right about having a sister who will push you when you want to give up. Margaret and I are very much alike in some ways but very different in others. I think the differences are what make for a strong and enduring friendship.

Having enjoyed all of the wonderful food and wine during our vacation en Provence, we decided to have a different Thanksgiving meal this year. Grilled duck legs confit, sweet potato/yam galette, carmelized leek and sage dressing, cranberry/organe relish served with a lovely sancerre. After we had cheese, fresh pears and sauterne. The cheese were Pere Joseph (sp?), chaubier, and a peccornio for eating, "Not for the kitchen" as Michel Lemmerling our local cheese expert at Bon Appetit in Princeton advised.

And like you, we are nursing a sick dog. Our Shi-Tzu, Boomerang is going back to the vet today because of a reaction either to a vaccination or to an anti-histimine! Little sleep for me last night.

Last Christmas when planning our trip to Provence and looking at the map trying to decide where to have our base for our travels, I remembered your descriptions of the Vaucluse and Mont Ventoux. How glad I am that we chose to stay near you in Sablet and were finally able to meet you and Jean-Marc. If the Fowlers are reading this, I hope they had a wonderful Thanksgiving in Monterey Park!

Jules Greer

Such a lovely story - I think we are all blessed by experiencing their vacation and visit to Kristi's. I especially loved the photo of Portia sipping a glass of wine next to beautiful Jean-Marc. I felt such a connection to lovely Portia. Thank you all.



Bob Haine

I too envy Suzanne, Margaret, and Portia and their little adventure in Provence. For me, Provence will always be connected with Marcel Pagnol and his beautiful stories of "Jean de Florette" and "Manon des sources", as well as his "Souvenirs d'enfance", "La gloire de mon pere" and "Le chateau de ma mere", etc.
Likewise, the word "s'egarer" is connected to Saint-Exupery's "Le Petit Prince", where in Chapter 2 the narrator describes his first meeting with his little friend:
"...mon petit bonhomme ne me semblait ni égaré, ni mort de fatigue, ni mort de faim, ni mort de soif, ni mort de peur...un enfant perdu au milieu du desert." One could do much worse than "s'egarer" in the middle of Provence!

Ophelia Paine

I, too, love the brilliant colors of the photo above and also the story. Brings back memories of our own sunny, late-afternoon visit around the same table, looking out at the vineyard and sipping and sampling your superb wine. I think we bought a case...

We are in SF with both our sons and new daughter-in-law this weekend and are planning a road trip to Carmel today. S'egarer un peu en Californie may be the order of the day.

Bon weekend to all of you.

Robert, Christine and Robbie Jones

Dear All, It was so nice to read this charming story, and it brought back wonderful memories of our own journey to Domaine Rouge-Bleu this past June. My wife--a high school French teacher--has followed Kristin's French Word-A-Day for years and when we were planning to travel to Provence this summer, she quickly made arrangements to visit Kristin. We too had quite an adventure getting to the vineyard. Thank goodness that our rental car had a GPS. My son decided to set the unit for the "shortest route" option and we ended up driving many dusty roads that seemed little more than paths going right through people's fields. I too kept expecting someone to chase us off their land. However, the GPS did not fail us and we ended up at Domaine Rouge-Bleu. Kristin was remarkably gracious, welcoming three strangers into her kitchen to taste wines and treating us like longtime friends. We had a great afternoon of conversation, sharing, and stories. (Btw, the wines were also fabulous.) All in all, it was a wonderful adventure, a highlight during our time in Provence. I am glad that the magic of Domaine Rouge-Bleu continues on. My new hope is to one day come work the harvest...

All the best to everyone,

Robert, Christine and Robbie Jones
Philadelphia, PA USA


What a lovely story. My collection of perfect moments includes not knowing which way to turn somewhere in rural central France 20 years ago.
Jules, I saw your note to me a few newsletters ago. Thanks.
'The first great gift we can bestow on others is a good example.'


Oh what a great roll in the grass!
That we may all be puppies one day...

Pat Cargill

Today's post is the story I, too, hope to experience one day...sipping Domaine Rouge Bleu at the big table under les arbes chez Espinasse. Windy, 40's and sunny weather today in Roanoke, Va. Enjoyed the photo of Smoky rolling in the grass.


It will take days to recover from the wonderful feast we had yesterday. The high point was the Dentelle- Domaine Rouge-Bleu. Merci Jean-Marc for the wine suggestion!. It was a winner!.

Angela and Bob Fowler

Hi Suzanne ~

Yes, we are here! We, too, got lost that afternoon trying to find Domaine Rouge-Bleu. Fortunately, while driving home after picking up her children at school, Kristin spotted us parked at the side of a country road (trying to interpret that infamous map!) and led us the rest of the way, getting there just a few minutes before your arrival.

But the frustration was well worth it -- such a warm, friendly welcome by Kristin and Jean-Marc -- and such great wine (and adorable little puppy!) It's not often that tourists have an opportunity to experience even a little slice of real life in France.

Our bottles of Rouge-Bleu didn't make it past our next stop, near Lyon, visiting the family of a high school girl who stayed with us two summers ago to work on her English. (Fortunately, we have a source at a wine store a half-hour drive from our home -- how lucky can one be!) As we told Kristin, we thought it might be a faux pas to give a gift of wine from one region to those in another (they live in the heart of the Beaujolais), but they said absolutely not -- they loved it.

We enjoyed meeting you, your sister and mother -- and Bob especially enjoyed chatting and sipping wine with Portia!

We thank you and Kristin for posting this little story as a reminder of our visit. And we wish you, Margaret and Portia many more years of such wonderful family vacations.

Angela and Bob Fowler
Monterey Park, California


Thanks Suzanne for your story. We've also made that journey, reading the map on the little iPhone screen, getting lost, and then suddenly all is well with peaceful tranquility, meeting new friends, sipping delightful wines, and gazing out over vines to Les Dentelles and Le Mount Ventoux. Alas, we were pre-puppies so didn't get that wonderful experience.

And I have a case of Domaine Rouge-Bleu happily resting in my cellar

Suzanne Dennis

Angela and Bob,
So glad to hear you are well and shared the wines you bought that day. I have already shared the Dentelle and am saving the Mistral for Christmas Day when Margaret and Portia will be in New Jersey to celebrate the holidays.

I am fortunate too that there is a wine shop an hour away in Martinsville, NJ to keep me supplied with Domaine Rouge-Bleu wines.

Betty Bailey

I loved reading about Smokey's antics and am so happy he's continuing to heal. His activities reminded me of a dog named "Shredder," a name that seems to fit most puppies!

Jens Hork

Hi Suzanne,
Fine story and photos. My wife and I and our 7 years old son made the same visit to Kristin's and Jean-Marc's house in June. Your story brought back fine memories.

Hi Gary,
I was so happy reading your comment, specially the "meeting new friends", since we arrived just 10 minutes before the four of you. We also had problems finding the way to Domaine Rouge-Bleu, by the way...

I can tell you that I met Jean-Marc this Monday here in Copenhagen. We had lunch together and in the evening he hosted a 'winemaker's dinner' in a restaurant where he got around 40 new Danish fans.

The Danish importer of Domaine Rouge-Bleu is only 10 minutes away from here so I will not run out of 'Mistral' 2007!

Will you be going back to Vaucluse next summer?

JacquelineBrisbane (Oz)

Hi Kristin, just one little typo: s'égarer droit chemine should be 'droit chemin'. :)

Suzanne, Monroe Twp., NJ

Follow-up to this story. Margaret, Portia and I returned to Provence in September 2010 and to Domaine Rouge-Bleu. This time we stayed in Vaison. We got lost again but that was due to detours in Ste. Cecile. When going back to return Jean-Marc's valise we found an easier route via Cairanne. But more about that if Kristin wants a story to post about our dinner at the Vaison farmhouse.

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