The PEYTAVINS Homeland

Trip Start Apr 03, 2009
Trip End Apr 14, 2009

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Flag of France  , Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur,
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Renting a car in the States is easy enough, and we were hoping the same would be true of renting a car overseas. Thank goodness for our friends/family, the Gignouxs. We drove out to the Marseille airport and rented a very, very small car for a few days to get us around to all of the places Michael wants to see while we're in the South. It was just big enough to fit four people. Even if we wanted to, we couldn't have put our luggage in the small hatch-back area of the car. No problem, no luggage needed for the next few days. 

On the ride back to Jean's home in Coudoux to return his car, Michael did well driving the streets of Marseille and Coudoux. He hasn't driven a car with a standard transmission in years, but it's just like riding a bicycle -- you never forget. However, without Dominique's expert navigation, I'm not sure we wouldn't have made it back to the house as quickly as we did. After returning Jean's car, we headed in the direction of St. Martin Castillon, Vaucluse. This is where Michael's and Jean's ancestors, the PEYTAVINS.  

The narrow, winding road meandered through tiny villages and past grape vineyards, cherry orchards and flower fields, giving us a view of the lovely countryside. Today, our driving music is trumpeteer Chris Botti, whose jazzy tunes serenaded us into a small town for lunch. Le Chat Qui Peche (The Fishing Cat) Restaurant had a good menu selection (a little pricey, but the food was good), and we all enjoyed a hearty lunch before driving the remaining distance to St. Martin Castillon. The closer we got, the more excited Michael became to be able to walk the grounds that his ancestors once owned. 

Castillon is a beautiful hillside area with small villages built into the mountains, and sprawling green acres for miles and miles. One thing I have found peculiar, yet enjoyable, is the constant aroma of mesquite that seems to waft through the air in these villages. Most likely the result of the burning of olive, grape or other trees in a controlled burn, the smell is intoxicating to my nose and is very calming.  It adds a somewhat sleepy, calm, cozy feel to the experience of being in the country. 

With that aroma surrounding us, we drove up one hillside and discovered a small village in which is located the Castillon Biblioteca (library)? Michael and Jean had hoped to do some research on the family there. Unfortunately, it was closed for the afternoon, so instead we walked around the area, took some photos, then went back to the car as the rain began to fall.

From there, we drove through the mountains and eventually found ourselves in Aix en Provence. We made a quick stop at the Casino Supermarche to purchase vittles for dinner, and then back to Coudoux we went.

  Whenever we can, Michael and I enjoy gifting our hosts with a homemade meal. There's nothing like fresh food, prepared carefully and served with joy in the comfort of one's own home.  It was our pleasure to do this for the Gignouxs as an expression of our gratitude for their hospitality. Our meal consisted of tomato consume, broiled salmon and steamed vegetables.  Delicious! A perfect way to end a day of discovery.
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