Hello from beautiful Carpentras, France!
Sunday I left Lyon and took the train to Avignon where I was met by…my brother, Spencer, his lovely copine Camille, and Camille’s mom, Lydie. It was so good to see family and familiar faces (and to meet Camille’s family for the first time!).
We drove to the Marseille’s house in Carpentras, where I was greeted with cheers and a glass of rosé with ice.
Several people were over, watching the Coupe du Monde in the pool house, which meant a whole lot of “faire la bise” upon introductions. It’s three kisses here instead of two, one of those charming little regional differences (along with the singsong Provençal accent: “j’ai une-uh petite-uh question”).
Camille’s dad, Olivier, called me over to smell a huge truffle, which he cut into pieces and sprinkled on a pizza, the first I tried. As the evening went on, everyone watched the game and Camille, Spencer, and I chatted by the pool, trading stories of the last month as we tasted pizza after pizza, just one delicious slice of each as soon as it was pulled out of the stone oven and passed around.
We ate alfredo pizza, pizza with aubergines, pizza with olives and fresh mozzarella, pizza with anchovies, with Herbes de Provence…I ate until I was nearly stuffed, with just enough room for one perfectly-ripe nectarine for dessert.
Good food and great company, a flawless combination. Also, now that I don’t have any schoolwork to worry about, it feels 100% like vacation. It’s lovely. 🙂
The next day, Monday; Camille and her parents, Spencer, and I headed to Avignon for lunch and for le Festival d’Avignon. The festival is a really cool annual arts event which lasts for three weeks and features over 1,000 spectacles, or shows. Because there are so many things to choose from, many of the artists and performers set up mini shows and acts in the streets and on the sidewalks to try to draw a crowd for their real shows. The event also draws musicians and performers who don’t have a show at a venue (because it’s expensive to rent) but who just want to take advantage of the crowds. In short, you can see a lot of interesting things just walking around. Some of it I have absolutely no explanation for.
After several hours of walking around and shopping, we rode the Ferris wheel for an awesome view of Avignon. Later was a marvelous dinner overlooking the river to celebrate the 14th. It was a perfect first full day in Carpentras/Avignon.