Thursday, December 8, 2016

A little wine and sun

Today we had a guide take us into Provence for a little wine tasting and then down to the beaches of Saint Tropez.  While it was nice to see the places and we enjoyed our day, I would not recommend the guide so I won't be listing his name.  The day started with a pick-up at 8:30am...not sure what we were thinking starting so early while on vacation!  But in our defense, we were limited with daylight so we did have to make the most of the sunlight.

The drive out to Chateau de Saint-Martin in Taradeau was a little over an hour. The chateau sits on land that was a former Roman Villa (2nd century BC to 7th century AD) and even back in those days the land was used for wine-making.  Starting in the 5th century, monks developed more of the land and created a wine-making priorty through the 18th century.  In the 12th century, they installed stone carved tanks in the walls and then in the 16th century added Hungarian oak vats.  The tanks and vats are still in use today!

In 1740, Jean-Louis Leclearc de Juigne married Marie Anne de Villeneuve Bargemon.  Marie's father purchased the priory from the monks and built the chateau as their wedding gift. They had a son and he married his first cousin and they had a daughter.  Since then, the line and chateau has been passed from mother to daughter.

After our tour, we spent some time with Angelica in the wine shop for a little tasting.  Today's tasting included a Rose, White, Red and Vin Cuit ("cooked wine" aka port).  While all were really quite good, to my surprised I liked the Vin Cuit the best. I've never been a port drinker but the vin cuit has made me a convert.

Next stop...Saint Tropez.  It's one of those places both Julie and I have always wanted to visit so what better time than now.  A benefit of traveling during off-season is you're able to see the sites without the hassles of loads of tourists and traffic.  While some of the shops in town were closed, it was very nice to be able to walk around at our leisure.  We had a nice lunch by the water at the Bay of Ramatuelle in what turned out to be a pretty popular spot for the locals...and their dogs (the French do love taking their dogs everywhere!).

Yes, those are the alps in the background

Memorial to American, British and French Marines
who on August 15, 1944 contributed to the liberation of Saint Tropez.

After a little walk around town, we headed back to Monaco.  Dinner tonight was back at the Christmas Market as there were so many places we had wanted to try last night...and we needed more warm wine and hot chocolate!

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