Second question about France, after “eat any good food?”, is typically “drink any good wine?”
Yes. Every glass of it was from the local region, Domaine Ventoux, which I’m assured we won’t be able to find in the US. But it wasn’t anything crazy anyway. Just pleasant.
Now I did have a particularly agonizing wine experience. With two kids in the car, I set off for the Theatre Antique in Orange. (The theater is, oh, maybe 1,900 years old. Cool. See pic, taken on my iPhone. They still perform opera there, but mostly it’s a museum. – We have a corner cupboard in our house that’s called an ‘antique’ because it’s 100 years old. Yeesh.)
Anyhoo, the drive from Sault to Orange was both amazing and harrowing. We drove along the back side of Mont Ventoux on twisty roads cut into the steep hillside, with little or no protective railing. Went through several picturesque villages. Then out of the mountains and down into what turned out to be the Rhone river valley. Vineyards on both sides, far as the eye could see.
I’m still largely an ignoramous about French wine, but I do recognize Cote du Rhone as a famous wine region. And now that I’m back and looking through a wine atlas, I see that Orange is maybe 15 minutes north of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, an area that gained international appeal due to the influence of Robert Parker. You can almost definitely find Chateauneuf-du-Pape in your local wine store (and probably pay a good bit for the privilege).
So there I was, driving past sign after sign for “Degustation” — free tastings at each local vineyard’s shop.
If ever I get back to the Cote du Rhone and Chateauneuf-du-Pape, there will be no children in the car!