Our last day in Provence!! 😥 😥 😥
The plan was to re-visit Villeneuve-les-Avignon, as we only managed to go up Tour Phillipe last year. However, we made a last minute decision to just remain in Avignon as there is the problem of having to check out of Le Colbert. So if we were to go Villeneuve-les-Avignon, it would be a mad rush as it was about 9 plus by the time we were up and about.
So I’ve been dying to visit a market in Provence. Sadly, we missed the market in Sault. Hence our only option then was the market in Avignon. This market is open daily (not sure about Sundays though).
The market was easy to find. Markets in western countries are vastly different from those in Singapore! The first western market I had visited was the one in Vancouver and I totally loved it! The markets are much cleaner than the wet markets we have in Singapore.
So I was looking forward to visiting the market in Avignon alot as it has been a long time since I’ve visited one.
Lots of cherries!!!
Why is a market interesting? Because I’ll see vegetables we don’t have in Singapore. We don’t have such gigantic vegetables in Singapore!
Stall selling a wide variety of spices and salt.
Of course, we bought some spices and salt. It was impossible to resist the temptation of the lovely salt on sale.
After grabbing breakfast, we headed back to the hotel to do some final packing and proceeded to checkout. We decided to put our luggage into the boot of the car which was parked at the underground garage. Although the car pack is secured, I was still worried about the car being broken into and luggage being stolen. Luckily, my worries were unfounded. So we shopped around in Avignon. Yes, there are actually quite a number of shops in Avignon. And being French, the clothes on display were well designed.
Our train was at around 1415hrs. By 12 plus, we felt hungry. I thought of having dinner at Fou de Fa Fa but it is only open for dinner. When we passed by a sushi place, we decided to have our lunch there. The set meal was about under 10 euros, so we both got the set lunch.
Oh, its called Sushi Shop. 🙂
As part of the meal, we both got rice and cucumber.
I don’t believe this is Japanese food as I’ve never had cucumber with sour cream before. 😕
I had salmon. I must say, for the amount of salmon, the price of the meal was quite worth it. The salmon was rather fresh BUT I think the quality was quite bad. Why? If you know a bit about sashimi in Jap cuisine, then you would know that the cut of the fish is very important. The orientation of the cuts makes a big difference in the quality of the fish. The cut of the salmon in Sushi Shop was horrible!! Some cuts were fine but some were totally totally wrong. I think some of the staff behind the sushi counter are Japanese but they are still not getting it right.
The husband got sushi and in his case, it was a case of way too much rice. 😯
The husband then decided we should leave for the TGV early. Am I glad he suggested that because we had a tough time locating Europcar at the TGV! The fault was totally ours. Somehow, we didn’t believe that the car rentals are located inside the car park at the TGV and we kept going round and round trying to find it. In the end, common sense hit us and we headed to the car park and viola, we finally located Europcar after like 25 mins of searching!!! Imagine if we had not left Avignon way ahead of time? We would have missed our train back to Paris!
Or maybe, what had transpired was a sign that things were not going to go smoothly on this day. I had arranged for us to meet a friend for some shopping at Galeries Lafayette followed by a dinner for which reservations were made at 9 pm. We were scheduled to arrive in Paris about 5.30pm. About 1-1.5 hours into the journey, the train stopped. It stopped for a longgggggg time!! Then a long message was broadcasted….in French. Only in French! 😯 We didn’t understand anything! And I suppose the broadcasted message stated how late the train was going to be because there were groans from the other passengers.
We decided to be patient and I started playing with my iPad. After like 15 mins, we were still stationary. So I decided to play with the French word app I had downloaded to see if I could find something in there to help in translation from English to French so that I could ask the other passengers how long we would be delayed for. But there was nothing in the app I could use and I had no wifi. And along the way, I accidentally pressed a translation for ‘Excuse me, how long would the next train arrive?’ And the volume was pretty loud and the French nearby laughed. Hmmmm 😳 I knew with our train being stalled on the track, no other trains could proceed too. Oh well, I just smiled sheepishly and placed an apologetic expression on my face for having a high volume on my iPad. FYI, the French don’t answer their phones within the confines of the carriages, they do it at the area connecting the carriages. All so that they won’t disturb other passengers.
I then made a trip to the toilet and when I emerged from the toilet, there were two men outside chatting. I couldn’t bear being in suspense and decided to interrupt them.
‘Excusez moi, parlez vous anglais?’
One guy shook his head and the other guy said ‘A little.’ 😉 Never happier to hear that!
‘Do you know what time we would reach Paris?’
‘Pffft. I don’t know.’ (Didn’t he listen to the broadcast???!! Then again, not everyone was pressed for time). Then he said ‘But wait a moment’. Then he spoke the the other French. The other French looked at his watch and replied him. ‘About 6.30pm.’ Ahhh, it was so good to have a timing! So then ‘Thank you! Merci beaucoup’. I hurried back and passed the information to the husband.
So now, having an idea of our estimated arrival time in Paris, I proceeded to text my friend on how we could meet at 7pm at the earliest. And I texted the owner of the apartment we were renting. I really didn’t want him to be waiting for us without any news from us at all. Luckily, he wasn’t in a hurry and he said he would be there waiting for us until we turn up. Phew! That was a relief! I’m glad he wasn’t offended and was generous with his timing.
So eventually the train started moving and we did reach Paris at around 6.30pm. We hailed a taxi from the taxi rank and had hoped we could reach the apartment ASAP. BUT there was the rush hour traffic! 🙄
About 25 mins later, we reached the apartment. And our host was so welcoming and was watching tennis! His place was different from last year’s! He had renovated parts of the apartment which was looking really good. He mentioned the crazy weather in Paris, said that it was raining cats and dogs for a few hours about 2 hours prior to our arrival. It was really hard to believe because the sky was blue and the pavements dry.
So after giving us an update on the apartment, we were left to our own device. We hurriedly got ready to go meet our friend.
And our meeting point? Galeries Lafayette of course!!! At the entrance of Louis Vuitton no less!! The only issue was there was a long long long queue at Louis Vuitton! And our friend was not there!!! 😕
When we eventually found each other, we only had 45 mins to walk around. So we headed to the shoe level (yes, its a shoe level, not a department!), and did some window shopping.
We took the metro to the restaurant where I had made reservations. We were going to Les Bistrot des Comperes. The metro exit brought us to a place whereby the Seine was on our right. I had marked the location of the restaurant on our book of Paris map and our smart friend then said we should use the Seine to orientate ourselves. I think my husband and I had spent too much time on the TGV which killed our brain cells. We found the restaurant easily.
Again, we decided to go for a 3 course meal. The waiter brought us the menu as follows:
Menu on a blackboard!!
I’m not an adventurous eater and I love salmon, so I got salmon again! 😳 Husband got some cheese salad (He’s so smart! where else to start the love affair with cheese than in France?) and Friend got some foie gras.
We all liked our starters alot!!! There was a side of caramelised onions on Friend’s plate and that was heavenly delicious! Whoever knew onions could be made that way to taste like that!
The reviews on Tripadvisor praised the duck confit, so I decided to have that. Friend decided on lamb chops while husband decided on steak.
The mains were not too bad but they didn’t blow us away as the starters did. And Friend who is an air stewardess and hence well travelled said the best lamb chops she has ever had so far was in Australia. Husband agreed totally.
The waiter then asked if we still had the space for dessert as he didn’t want to take orders for desserts earlier in case we were too full. Truth be told, I was really quite full. But when the company is good, and with peer pressure (since they were both game for desserts), we all ordered desserts.
I had profiteroles! I was dying to try profiteroles in France and so far, this was the only restaurant we have been to that serves it! Friend got a some coffee themed dessert while Husband got a cheesecake. I heard the cheesecake was good. I liked the profiteroles. Cleaned my plate sans the whipped cream, which I don’t take at all.
By the time we left, it was about 11pm and freezing cold!! However, the friend was fine with a thin chiffon top while I was already shivering with cold. She’s probably a more savvy traveller than me! 😛
We said goodbye at the metro and I was really happy to meet up with her and the three of us had a really enjoyable dinner and night! We don’t only meet friends at home but all over the world! How small the world has become these days! 😀
And I loved being in Paris. Again!! 🙂