NO 4th of July fireworks here!!!

July 5, 2014 – No 4th of July Fireworks in France….

Today is our 63rd day in France. Having a great time. Yesterday was July 4th in the U.S. with hotdogs, barbeques, and fireworks.   In St. Leon, well actually Thursday, was the first night market of the season, which starts in July.   There was lots of beer, French music, vendors of foie gras, fresh legumes, French creole food and other food and drinks. The population of St. Leon probably had an additional 200 visitors for the night market.   The “tourist season” is in high swing here right now. Tourists are starting to flock to St. Leon. We get new campers every night. This Sunday, there is a festival in our little town and it is rumored to have a lot of activity that day. We were warned to move our car to the entrance of the city if we want to drive it that day, as the streets are blocked off and no cars can get in or out.

Of course, France has a 4th of July also. It is called Bastille Day and will be held on Monday, July 14th. Everything closes down. There is dancing in the streets, lots of food music and fireworks. We are looking for to celebrating Bastille Day in France.

We are also looking forward to new visitors. My daughter, Angela, and Rita’s sister-in-law, Mary Adams Thompson, will be coming in the week of July 10th and staying until July 18th. We are soooo excited to see them.

The past week has been busy. No new births to report this week. But, we did take a road trip. We left on Monday to avoid some rainy weather and drove 4 hours south to the coastal city of Biarritz, which is on the Atlantic Ocean about a half hour from Spain. The weather on the coast was lovely the first day. But, the second day it turned on us and became rainy and foggy. Nevertheless, it was a good visit. Biarritz has a wonderful sand beach that is rare as far as we can tell for France. The entire beach stretches out before a beautiful lighthouse. It also has the Hotel du Palais that was built by Napoleon for his wife Eugenie around 1854. We did not stay there. It was a little rich for my blood. But, we did stay next door to it. The sunset the first night was beautiful.

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But by the next morning, there was roaring surf pounding the rocks in front of our hotel. The first night we got a chance to catch up on Cosmopolitans at the hotel bar. Then, we dressed up and went out to dinner. After dinner we watched the world cup football matches in a bar full of French and German spectators. They are really rabid fans. I guess similar to our Colts’ fans.

Biaritz reminded us of an old beach town in Florida or California. It was rather small, with nice neighborhoods, beautiful churches, narrow streets, markets and lots of outdoor dining choices.

 

Eglise Alexandre Newsky - Russian Orthoodox Church in Biarritz.

Eglise Alexandre Newsky – Russian Orthoodox Church in Biarritz.

 

From Biarritz, we headed toward home and away from the rain and stormy weather in Biarritz. But, when we arrived in Bordeaux, two hours later, the sun was shining so we decided to head north to the Margaux, Pauillac, and the St. Estephe wine region of Bordeaux. We took the La Route des Chateaux and photographed all of the best Vineyards along the Route. We saw Chateau Margaux, Chateau Lafite Rothschild, Chateau Mouton Rothschild, Chateau LaTour and Chateau Haut-Brion. All of these Chateaux are known for producing the best red wines since 1855. Of course, the prices of these wines are astronomical and beyond the reach of most mortals. We saw many of bottles of wines priced at $1,500.00 to $18,000.00! We are pleased with our photos as our souvenirs instead of bottles of wine.

From Bordeaux, we turned east and headed toward St. Leon, but, not without stopping for the night at St. Emilion. We went to St. Emilion last year and loved it. Like Bordeaux, St. Emilion is another wine producing area of France. It is a lovely village of 2000 people and dates back to pre-historic times. It is much smaller than the vineyards we visited in Bordeaux. But, it does have some fantastic red wines.   Some of them are also priced above the reach of mere mortals, but there are some that are quite reasonable. For example, the Chateau Ausone and Chateau Cheval Blanc, which sell for an average price of $837 and $689 respectively per bottle, fall into the best of the best. But, good everyday St. Emilion red wines can be had for under $10 per bottle although good ones go for $30 to $50 a bottle.

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While walking around St. Emilion taking photographs, we saw lots of people touring the wine country by bicycle. They average about 80 kilometers a day and ride in groups of 10 to 20. We also take photos by accident whenever we travel. A perfect example is the photo of my leg accidently taken while removing my iPhone from my pocket.

One of numerous selfies I have taken while retrieving my Iphone from my pocket.

One of numerous selfies I have taken while retrieving my iphone from my pocket.

On the final leg of our return trip to St. Leon, we stumbled upon Chateau Monbazillac, just south of Bergerac in the Dordogne, near to where we are staying. It produces all “sweet” dessert wines. So, we have to stop, taste, take photos and buy some wine to take home.

Chateau Monbazillac in the Dordogne area of France where we are staying specializes in sweet dessert wines. So, you start a meal with champagne, move to white wine with your shrimp appetizer, and proceed tothe main course of red wine with your steak, and you can finish off your creme brulee with sweet dessert wine. Did I mention that you cannot drink and drive in France. Don't know how you would get home from the restaurant

Chateau Monbazillac in the Dordogne area of France where we are staying specializes in sweet dessert wines. So, you start a meal with champagne, move to white wine with your shrimp appetizer, and proceed tothe main course of red wine with your steak, and you can finish off your creme brulee with sweet dessert wine. Did I mention that you cannot drink and drive in France. Don’t know how you would get home from the restaurant

In closing, the final photograph on our website should come as no surprise to those of you who know us well. We have decided to stay in France and have started a meal on wheels business. It will be called “Norm’s Cuisine”. Our first delivery truck has been purchased and our logo placed on it. We are checking out French law to see if our truck needs any operating authority. If it does, I will be calling Andy Light for authority advice and Greg Feary for insurance advice. International transportation law is really exciting!

Ah, yes, I have found a new business to keep me busy in St. Emilion. Meal on wheels by Norm Cuisines.

Ah, yes, I have found a new business to keep me busy in St. Emilion. Meals on wheels by Norm Cuisines.

Have a safe week. Next week, we will report on our two visitors Angela and Mary, Bastille Day, Rita’s “first” trip to Paris for her visa interview and my second “trip” to Paris for my interview. Stay tuned. (She’s not going to like the weighing in and eye exam either!!! How do you explain (a/ka/a translate) mono-vision lasik surgery to the French!!)

 

Dinner the night before we left on our adventure to Biarritz.

Dinner the night before we left on our adventure to Biarritz.

Fish?

Fish?

Lamb with truffles

Lamb with truffles

Dessert...

Dessert…

 

And the "After Dessert" !! Who knew??

And the “After Dessert” !! Who knew??

 

I'm not sure I can get this into my mouth!!! It's a really big bite!

I’m not sure I can get this into my mouth!!! It’s a really big bite!

 

 

Our hotel in Biarritz is the one that looks like a ship jutting out at the beach.

Our hotel in Biarritz is the one that looks like a ship jutting out at the beach.

First view of the lighthouse

First view of the lighthouse

Lighthouse overlooking Biarritz Beach.

Lighthouse overlooking Biarritz Beach.

 

 

Hotel de Palais built by Napoleon for his wife Eugenie. Now a very expensive hotel on the beach at Biarritz.

Hotel de Palais built by Napoleon for his wife Eugenie. Now a very expensive hotel on the beach at Biarritz.

Rocky shoreline in Biarritz with St. Eugenie church in background.

Rocky shoreline in Biarritz with St. Eugenie church in background.

St. Eugenie gothic church Biarritz.

St. Eugenie gothic church Biarritz.

The old port in Biarritz, now lined with seafood restaurants.

The old port in Biarritz, now lined with seafood restaurants.

Craggy archway with Atlantic Ocean underneath in Biarritz.

Craggy archway with Atlantic Ocean underneath in Biarritz.

Statute of the Virgin Mary at the entrance to the harbor at Biarritz.

Statute of the Virgin Mary at the entrance to the harbor at Biarritz.

Outdoor cafe/restaurant in Biarritz in the market area.

Outdoor cafe/restaurant in Biarritz in the market area.

Biarritz casino from outdoor cafe on La Grande Plage.

Biarritz casino from outdoor cafe on La Grande Plage.

Eglise Alexandre Newsky - Russian Orthoodox Church in Biarritz.

Eglise Alexandre Newsky – Russian Orthoodox Church in Biarritz.

Nice little swim cove in Biarritz.

Nice little swim cove in Biarritz.

 

Happy hour or so..... at the Sofitel in Biarritz! Let's get this evening started!

Happy hour or so….. at the Sofitel in Biarritz! Let’s get this evening started!

Chateau Pichon-Longueville

Chateau Pichon-Longueville

 

Wow!

Wow! Chateau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

 

Chateau Pichon-Longueville

Chateau Pichon-Longueville Comtesse de Lalande

The other Pichon Longueville Chateau...on the opposite side of the street.

Chateau Pichon Baron Longueville                                   Grand Cru Classe en 1855

Chateau Margaux in the Medoc area of Bordeaux. One of five premier grand cru vineyards recognized since 1855.

Chateau Margaux in the Medoc area of Bordeaux. One of five premier grand cru vineyards recognized since 1855.

Sauvignon grapes in the Medoc. We were impressed with the quantity of grapes on the vines and the rocky soil in which they grow.

Cabernet Sauvignon grapes in the Medoc. We were impressed with the quantity of grapes on the vines and the rocky soil in which they grow.

 

A small little church in the middle of Margaux's winery.

A small little church in the middle of Margaux’s winery.

Entrance way to Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Entrance way to Chateau Mouton Rothschild

A lot of work was done here for this.

A lot of work was done here for this.

Grapes from Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Don't look any different to us from the last Chateau... uhm...

Grapes from Chateau Mouton Rothschild. Don’t look any different to us from the last Chateau… uhm…

 

Chateau Latour

Chateau Latour

What a beautiful site driving up to Chateau Latour

What a beautiful site driving up to Chateau Latour

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The central "place" in St. Emilion, another wine area of Bordeaux is dotted with outdoor restaurants serving good food and wine.

The central “place” in St. Emilion, another wine area of Bordeaux is dotted with outdoor restaurants serving good food and wine.

Monolithic Church of St. Emilion from the 11th century.

Monolithic Church of St. Emilion from the 11th century.

Cute store front of one of many wine merchants in St. Emilion willing to trade wine for your money.

Cute store front of one of many wine merchants in St. Emilion willing to trade wine for your money.

View beyond St. Emilion

View beyond St. Emilion

Bicyclists at their morning briefing in St. Emilion before taking off on their 49.709 mile ride. My partners Craig Helmreich and David Robinson should check this out for future vacation plans.

Bicyclists at their morning briefing in St. Emilion before taking off on their 49.709 mile ride. My partners Craig Helmreich and David Robinson should check this out for future vacation plans.

Another great dinner Rita ordered, at least they cut the head off!!

Another great dinner Rita ordered, at least they cut the head off!!

 A photo of the Church of St. Emilion from the town "place".

A photo of the Church of St. Emilion from the town “place”.

Whoah... we took a wrong turn, (not using GPS) and stumbled upon this...

Whoah… we took a wrong turn, (not using GPS) and stumbled upon this…

 

We discovered Chateau Monbazillac. Cool place!

We discovered Chateau Monbazillac. Cool place!

Angle View

Angle View

 

Close up back view!

Close up back view!

And look at their back yard view!

And look at their back yard view!

I know you can see Bergerac from here! Gorgeous Views!

I know you can see Bergerac from here! Gorgeous Views!

Up close and personal.

Up close and personal.

Side building where they store the wine.

Side building where they store the wine.

 

And, we see a crucifix on every road, no matter where we are, as you enter or leave a city, in a vineyard, out on an old road that is only one lane, and in cemeteries, as you see here.

 

Is this solid silver?

Is this solid silver?

 

Chateau Lafite Rothschild vineyards in the Medoc. Another one of the premier grand cru red wines recognized since 1855.

Chateau Lafite Rothschild vineyards in the Medoc. Another one of the premier grand cru red wines recognized since 1855.

 

Again, just driving home and saw this one. Probably privately owned, but it didn't stop Rita from driving right into the driveway close enough to take this picture!!

Again, just driving home and saw this one. Probably privately owned, but it didn’t stop Rita from driving right into the driveway close enough to take this picture!!

5 thoughts on “NO 4th of July fireworks here!!!

  1. Lovely Rita Meter Maid…..
    Since your staying I am hopeful that I will get to see you next year.
    Tom and I are planning our Rome visit next May/June.
    It will be our first spring break not doing the florida gig, Lauren and Paige will both be on their college spring break schedules.
    Tom and I will be starting our new journeys, we will keep you posted.
    It looks like you and Norm are having an amazing journey, God Bless you both and thanks for all the posts.

    Like

  2. This was a great report!!! Looked forward to each new turn in the road…Shot seven BR 2:30 a.m..None dead….BR Ave still blocked with yellow tape… General Jody still shouting orders about pack and ship…. Jim told her to stick it and get her ass to work… Gotta love that kid..

    Sent from my iPad

    >

    Like

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