Sunday, 5 July 2015

Summer mini break in Provence

It was great to escape to the west for a couple of days before the catering onslaught of eight hungry mountain leaders last week!

We were tempted to Chateauvallon near to Toulon to see Alonzo King ballet - Chateauvallon is a small outdoor amphitheatre in a lovely - if difficult to find! - area above Toulon.

Their programme is already available into 2016 - best to book early - OR - if you can't get tickets on line straight away - buy a loyalty card for popular tickets and pay the same price for the card and your discounted tickets - it's great value!!!!

Back to finding the venue - my own fault entirely but I had the location in my head - and was wrong!  It was quite fun - it a bit bizarre - finding ourselves in Toulon housing estates asking where the ballet was!!

Once night falls, you are given the major treat of seeing the lights of Toulon harbour twinkling below you and having a centrally heated seat - afficiandos bring cushions! but I was so captivated I didn't even notice the hardness of the stone!!  The ballet was magic - no suprise there then!!

There wasn't much chance of grabbing anything to eat on the way back to our chambre d'hote - okay it was midnight - but a bite of something would have been very welcome.

There's not a huge amount of accommodation to the North West of Toulon - crossing Toulon was not recommended as a bright option, but we stayed in a small, friendly place in Sollies, not far from Cuers and our culinary adventure at Le Verger des Freres Kouros - where the son of the lovely Christine of the Grand Chalet  completed some of his cheffie training - now wowing them with his pastries in Melbourne!

The early morning swims were much appreciated - thanks Gina and Jacques!!!!

The resto had immediately gained brownie points in their willingness to provide a veggie menu - and is astonishingly good value with a lunchtime menu for €22.  Wines about €30 a bottle.  The outside dining area is very lovely - shame the motorway is just nearby but the racket of the cicadas, and fellow guests yapping, soon covers the traffic noise.

We were well tended by one of the brothers, with more than just a passing resemblance to a certain Rowan Atkinson and a young lad waiter who was a bit bemused by my "er sorry but I don't want ham"!!!!  Mel took the €45 menu which was excellent........very high quality food at a bargain price.

Thanks so much to the guys for posing for this photograph in the kitchen (which is absolutely SPOTLESS!)............for Charles Lemai........

In the evening - we were hardly peckish - but wished to escape the high decibel apero session of our car rally enthusiast fellow guests and fell upon a very good pizza place - the Firenze - where you can choose either small, medium and large size pizzas (read "more than enough", "huge" and "vast" into that) - wood fired oven, long established family business.........nice!!!

The area was recently described as "moche" but the upside of that "moche'ness" is good value accommodation and food, and not an ex-pat in sight - we didn't hear another English voice all weekend.

Useful information

Les chambres de Gina
Le verger des Kouros
Firenze - 0494487070 -  45 avenue de la Republique - La Farlede - closed on Wednesdays and Sunday lunchtime


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