Years ago when we first moved to Provence I bought a map book with very detailed information on highways, cities and villages in France. I did a lot of investigating of lavender routes which I highlighted in the book and if I read about an interesting city or village I highlighted it too. We had some extra time before heading to our B&B and I looked in my map book which I always keep in the car and saw several villages underlined so we picked one and headed there. The name was La Roque sur CÄ—ze, the CÄ—ze being a small river.
Near the Pon’t d’Arc is a famouse cavern called the Pont d’Arc cavern. Ardeche is full of caves in fact and we could have seen several large ones but just did this one. What we saw was a replica as they don’t want to damage the many wall drawings that are 36,000 years old when too many peole enter as happened at Lascaux, so four years of work and something like 36 million euros later and it feels like you are in the real thing. The cavern was once full of bears at one time and still has skeleton heads and other bones there. I’m not sure if they had departed once man arrived. No photos were allowed but it was so dark that they probably wouldn’t have turned out anyway. The cavern was just discovered in 1994 by three French explorers. They felt some cool air blowing out of a crevace and tunneled in to find it. Would’t it be incredible to be the first people to see it?
There was a museum too showing how the area changed over millions of years including the prehistoric animals living then. The entrance to the cavern was blocked by a landslide for millioms of years which preserved the interior.
After the wedding we stayed at a five star camping ground in the area of France known as Ardeche. This camping ground, unlike others we’ve been to, didn’t have any RVs or tents, only little cabins made of double wide trailers. I don’t know if they have similar camping facilities in the States but they are very common in France. We really enjoyed our time there and Ardeche turned out to be very interesting and beautiful and we did a bit of exploring.
We went kayaking one day. I have never done it before. It was a lot of fun except for the rapids which were probably at a very beginning level but I got stick on some rocks once and once my kayak turned sideways but I didn’t, thank God, fall over.
Maurice and I were married in a small village near Annecy so I always love to revisit. Maurice’s aunt and uncle live there too so we always go and see them.
I had this, tarteflette, made of potatoes, onions, bacon and cheese. It wasn’t very good as it was sort of premade with everything just dumped on the potatoes, not baked all together, plus, they forgot the onions. I ate it anyway.
So we finally went to the wedding. It was in Lyon. Maurice’s cousin and his wife actually came to our wedding. I have to say that it seemed to be a bit strange to me and I thought it might be typical for a French wedding but I guess it isn’t. In France, if you are Catholic, you have a civil ceremony with the mayor and then a religious cereminy in a church. Since both Maurice and I were divorced we couldn’t be married in the Catholic church (plus, I’m not Catholic) so we just had a civil ceremony. This couple had already had the civil ceremony and we were there for the church ceremony. We arrived about in the afternoon and there were some other people there. We all stood in the parking lot in the blazing sun. I have no idea why we didn’t go into the church. Soon, the groom arrived and then the car with the bride arrived wearing her wedding gown. The groom went and helped her out of the car. I was shocked. You know how in America, the bride is hidden away and no one sees her until she walks down the aisle. Maybe it was because they had the civil ceremon before. We didn’t go into the church for almost 30 minutes. We were all huddled under a tree for relief from the sun. Finaaly, we went in for the ceremony. I was surprised to find that the music was a man with a guitar and a woman with an electric piano and their music sounded like something right out of a Baptist church. I expected just organ music I guess. The rest of the ceremony was as I expected. I asked a couple of French women if it was normal to stand outside until the actual ceremony and they said no.
The wedding cake is a mountain of custard filled cream puffs with melted sugar cascading down the sides. A sort of fire works were lit before serving.
The party was a sit down dinner. It started at 6pm with champagne and hors d’ouvres of which I ate too many because there was a six course meal afterwards. We finally left at 2am. When we got to bed it was almost three and that’s when I discovered we were next to a church that chimed the time twice every hour. Due to eating so late we didn’t sleep well at all.
We stayed in a small village not far from Lyon or from the after wedding party. Actually, we stayed in two places. The first place messed up our reservation so we had to find a second place. They were close together but, still, a pain to have to pack up and move.
We were Beaujolais country, wine country, but it is considered an inferior wine by the French who know wine. I never had any and have only had Beaujolais Nouveau, a really young wine so I don’t know enough to have an opinion. I really liked the hills covered in vineyards.