Dinner this evening

The studio I’m renting is on Rue Saint-Sabin. it’s very residential with some offices. The only restaurant on the street is Amici Miei, an Italian restaurant that specializes in pizza. Every evening, when I walk by, there are about a dozen people waiting to get into a stuffed-to-the-gills room – I can never get in. This evening there was no one waiting outside, so I went in, and amazingly, there was a table available. The ambience is wonderful – bustling, but not too noisy, with delicious aromas (am I mixing my senses here?) emanating from the kitchen. I had the Carpaccio de pesce spada e melone (espadon et melon / swordfish with melon) as antipasti and Linguine alle vongole (palourdes / clam). It was all delicious, particularly the linguine. A 25cl carafe of red rounds everything off perfectly. it is well reviewed on the web.

Save at lunch with a sandwich, splurge at dinner.

Later I met up with my very good friend François and his god-daughter Ivana for a beer. Imagine having a Guinness in Corsican bistrot called Hall 1900.

My favourite pavement…

Rue Montorgeuil is a fantastic market street with cheese shops, bakeries, fish stores, wine shops, produce and flower shops. It’s a very hip neighbourhood. There’s a Starbucks that I hope the smart people avoid comme la peste. The area has my favourite pavement. Small, square stones are arranged in a wavy pattern – the streets are dark, the sidewalks are light.

Street walking

Dark

Light

The pavement (Taken in 2006)
Market street scene

Market street scene

Getaway to the Ardeche

The day after I arrived, I hurtled off by TGV to visit Anke and Bob in the Ardeche in the southwest. About 600 km in 2.5 hours – I’ll never see anything like this in Canada in my lifetime (I used to belong to a ‘high-speed rail in Canada’ forum, but realized the futility…)

They have a beautiful home in a 12-house hamlet called La Roche de Juvinas, which is a 2 hour drive from the TGV station of Valence. It’s a restored stone farmhouse, a very nice balance of the old and new. The hamlet is gorgeous as is the rest of the Ardeche. Very interesting scenery – remains of volcanic activity millions of years ago. All the mountains in the area were worked on by people a long time ago – they terraced the mountain sides by building stone walls so they could eke out a sustenance farming life – dead at 30 because of the backbreaking work. We went on a long hike that was a lot fun and visited a couple of small towns in the area. Feet are OK, though hiking boots are necessary in the area.

La Roche de Juvinas

La Roche (Google Maps)

La Roche pathway

La Roche pathway

A pathway in the forest (damaged by wild pigs that root for grubs)

A pathway in the forest

Almost all the trees planted in the mountains of Ardeche are châtaignier, the chestnut trees that have edible chestnuts

Edible chestnuts

Rocks – the only building material

Rocks, the only building material