missing france_Provence Roadtrip 3

Our B&B L’Aubergine Rouge in Arles has only 2 rooms with an interesting owner Eric. He was a professional cook who loves india and spends his winter months there. A free spirit whose mantra is to have the freedom to leave whenever and do as he wish. Brave. This was a stark contrast to the final B&B we stayed in, where the owner is burdened by his chateau and struggling to make ends meet.

We arrived in Arles on a sunday so most shops are closed. But Arles is a really old place with the UNESCO Roman Arena. The deserted streets and grey skies added a special haunting touch to the place. Although Van Gogh had loved the color of the sunlight in Arles. Yes. This was the place where Vincent Van Gogh produced some of his best works in the year he was there (visited the cafe that he painted!), before he was turned away by the residents. They thought he was crazy.

After Arles, we took a drive further south to Camargue where we saw wild horses and pink flamingoes in the lakes. I never knew they grew rice too! It was a nice change of scenery after all the cities that we had been to.

We ate in a town near Camargue. Couldn’t remember what they were (or the restaurant name, whoops) but they tasted fantastic. Eric from the B&B recommended it. It was delicious!

After the meal, it was a long way back north to Fontainebleau. Instead of doing 7 hours of driving, we decided to stop for a night in this chateau near Buxy (will try to recall the name) which we found off Alastair Sawdays.

The lovely owner recommended a michelin star restaurant Aux Annees Vins and the food was amazing (another blog post). We had asked for recommendations and the owner told us he would make dinner arrangements so we had no idea a delicious dinner was lined up.

The B&B was interesting. We stayed in a huge pigeon house. The holes used to house pigeons. In the past, royal families owned them to fertilize the soil. Eco friendly indeed. Since it is not relevant these days, they converted it into a B&B to raise money for conservation of the vast chateau and its grounds. The owner lamented that it had belonged to their family for generations and it was his duty to keep it going. He showed us a chart of his family tree too! Due to the financial crisis in 2009, the government had stopped funding conservation projects and they are left on their own. It sure is a huge burden. Also, they purchase up to 600 bottles of wine each year. 300 to keep and the other 300 to drink. The 300 kept would be passed down to the next generation. Wow.

The stay at the B&B and the delicious meal was indeed a nice end to our Provence Roadtrip.

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