5/14/2008 冒險第四天: 從亞維儂搭TGV到圖爾 (Adventure 4th day: Taking TGV train from Avignon to Tours)

Today I’ll leave Provence for Loire Valley~ 
By the way, this is the website for those who need a reference about booking TGV. Remember, if you are going with 1 or more friends, make sure you all book together, because it’ll save you some bucks. Also, make sure to take advantage of the railpass if you need to take 3 or more rounds of trains.
Just some information: TGV is accronym for “Train a Grande Vitesse”–French for “high speed train,” and is the world’s highest average speed regular railroad passenger service. 
Railroad pass can only be purchased outside of France. Once you need to take the train, make sure to go to the window for signing your seat. Before you go on the train, there’s always some machines around the entrance gate for stamping the date on the ticket–make sure you do that.
在車站有一些可以自己買票的機器, 但是付錢方式只有信用卡, 不過有興趣可以玩玩看. 有英文介面, 我覺得做得還不錯.
還有~有些車站TGV站跟普通火車站是分開的, 像Avignon就是, 兩邊甚至離有點遠, 最好先問清楚.
This is waiting area for the train, on the 2nd floor. (雖然法國的樓層都是從0樓算起, 就是說他說一樓其實是我們說的二樓, 不過在這裡我還是習慣用我們自己的說法.) 雖然建築很有現代感, 在這裡太陽高照時實在蠻熱的, 沒什麼冷氣, 冷氣在樓下
在火車上常常可以看到這個標誌, 就是要你把行動電話轉無聲, 也不要講電話~
這個是要載我在羅亞河流域跟諾曼第的車, 是Citroen的, 法國人都開很小的車, 不過小車很省油. 上一部在普羅旺斯的車也是差不多大小, 是Opel的.
 It was a bit passed 7pm when I arrived at Tours. 先去旅館check in再找晚餐~ 旅館附近有幾家餐廳跟一個超大的商場, 商場裡有一個很大的超市, 叫Auchan, 什麼鬼都有~~~–>我現在才知道原來這個超市台灣也有~就是大潤發!
是McDonald’s喔~~ 很神奇吧!!!  

5/13/2008 冒險第三天: 亞維儂 (Adventure 3rd day: Avignon)

Avignon is about 70 km northwestern away from Aix-en-Provence and requires approximately 1 hour of driving. The sceneries were very pleasant to the eyes on the way to Avignon. Green fields and trees were everywhere around the road.
Avignon is a very unique city that became known as “Palais des Papes”–meaning “Palace of Popes”–since early 14th century. A palace was built for settling the first pope–Pope Clamente V and later on another 6 popes had made Avignon his residency. The city is still kept with its ancient look, with majestic city walls surrounding it and the gothic style palace standing in the center. 
A bit of information about the popes and the years they resided in Avignon:
Pope Clement V: 1305-1314
Pope John XXII: 1316-1334
Pope Benedict XII: 1332-1342
Pope Clement VI: 1342-1352
Pope Innocent VI: 1352-1362
Pope Urban V: 1362-1370
Pope Gregory XI: 1370-1378
The shops are everywhere in the city. Even these buildings and passages are full of ancient atmosphere.
Outdoor restaurants in the plaza, they start to get crowded at around 7pm.  
One thing to take heed in Avignon is that the hotels do not offer parking spaces because it’s too crowded in the city. 
Classically architectured theater besides the plaza:
The palace, gothic and very grand style:
A street that leads to a residential area at night:
The famous bridge, Pont D’Avignon (also known as Pont Saint-Benezet), connects to part of the city wall and spans a river. It originally reached out to the forest on the other side of the river, but has been broken in the middle now. It looks exceptionally beautiful at night. 
這晚上遇到的橘子貓很可愛~叫他就會打招呼, 還會走過來.
Avignon palace and old town seen in the next morning:
停在一戶人家的窗戶前, 在看什麼呢?
另一個窗台上的喵喵, 在看什麼呢?
Pont D’Avignon during daytime.
One of the bakery stores in Avignon–it has sandwiches, quich, breads, pizza, and some very interesting dessert:
The interesting-looking dessert is fruit slice or vegetable coated with suger. There are pineapples, kiwis, cherries, pears, lemons, oranges, papayas, celeries, etc.
A candy store called: La Cure Gourmande that got some very colorful and cute candy that imitates fruit.

5/12/2008 冒險第二天(之二): 歐里耶, 艾克斯 (Adventure 2nd day, part 2: Ollieres, Aix-en-Provence)

After lunch in Grasse, I headed toward west to Aix-en-Provence.

I took country roads instead of the highway, and I found that there were many “rotaries” on the way when there were any junctions. I remember that the idea of “rotary” was invented by French people, which they thought to combine crossroads into one route. I think it’s due to that the traffic flow is generally not large; if traffic flow is too heavy, cars can form several loops and some may get trapped in the inner loop and not be able to get out from the crowd and enter the intended road easily.

France has typical “continent” type of weather. It’s warm or even hot when the sun is out, but it’s cold in the morning and at night. Its dry humidity makes it chilly when it’s clouded. Due to its high altitude, the temperature is kept under 20 degree C throughout most of the year, and it snows in most of the regions during the winter.

While I was in Provence region, it was a bit over 25 degree C during the afternoon, but it could go under 15 degree C at night. 

The place I would stay for the night was at Misha‘s barony. It’s a “gite”(民宿) in Ollieres—about 12 km east from Aix-en-Provence. 

Misha’s place is called “Abbaye de St Hilaire,” and it offers a wonderful and quiet place to stay.

Misha是臺灣人 這裡有她莊園的website: http://www.domainesdeprovence.com/Default.aspx?portal=65&lang=89&tid=147

有興趣的人或有要到南法的人可以考慮住那裡, 如果你要住久一點甚至可以考慮有附廚房的套房, 可以享受到非常不一樣的莊園經驗

我的房間在最上層, “Genievre,” 還有一個天窗可以看星星~

The barony is huge~~~about 1500 hectares. Most of the land is used to grow grapes to make wine. Some parts are grown foods for animals. There are also a horse ranch and farm yard.  


看到那些紫色的東西了嗎? Misha說那些是種給動物吃的, 不是薰衣草. 不過一大片還是很美的


The “La Marotte” area. 民宿區前面:

After getting some information from Misha, I decided to head toward Aix-en-Provence and have dinner there. It’s about 20 minutes drive from the barony to Aix-en-Provence. The sky was still bright when we left–daytime starts to get longer in France during spring, so it is not dark until 9:30 pm or 10 pm–but surprisingly started to rain slightly. 


法國的高速公路也是要收費的. 有些路段是要先經過拿票的地方, 然後走了一段後付錢, 付錢時機器上會告知要多少錢, 也有人工收費的. 還有一種是直接在經過的收費機器投錢, 機器會顯示多少錢, 然後你就把錢投到一個在機器上像大袋子的容器

Aix-en-Provence is a college town, and has been made famous by the impressionist painter–Paul Cezanne.

I guess it’s the city hall or court? –>Information from Misha: It’s the court, and there’s a prison behind it.

The town has been kept with its ancient atmosphere; it has a very old church. There are also many fountains.

Oh, and a Hermes boutique:

Probably the biggest fountain and rotary in Aix-en-Provence, located in the place where most restaurants cluster. (Most shops in France close at 7pm or 8pm at night. Some grocery stores might open until later. Restaurants, however, usually start at 7pm and last until midnight, and these serve as places that most people hang out.)

This is my dinner: Smoked salmon salad. 法國的餐廳一般都會附麵包跟水, 有些還有附一些像花生或橄欖的小前菜. 所以如果不是特別餓, 一個人點一樣主菜就可以了.

隔天早上又去看 Paul Cezanne’s studio: Paul Cezanne 之前住這裡, 房子二樓是他的畫室, 其實小小的. 有介紹他的一些畫, 不過真品不在這裡, 主要是看他畫室有什麼. 裡面不能照相 庭院小小的, 房子就很一般的兩層樓建築. 

5/12/2008 冒險第二天(之一): 葛哈斯 (Adventure 2nd day, part 1: Grasse)

Grasse is a significant town for French perfume industry. Since 12th century, it was a place for tanning business. The warm weather and rich soil in southern France, especially Provence area, however also served to grow flower. Later on, perfumed leather products became a fashion and the flowers were used for extracting fragrances to scent the leather goods.
It takes about 1 hour to drive from Nice to Grasse. Grasse is a city built on hills:  
At the end of the 18th century. Grasse propered perfume business. After French revolution, leather goods were taxed heavily and local residents complained about the stench of tanning, so the industry gradually lost its charm. However, spice and essential oil businesses took over, and Grasse became known as “capital of perfume.” Many “noses,” the artists who learn the skills to differentiate more than a thousand smells and mix and match various aroma notes, are trained or working here.
Grasse is also the place where Jean-Baptiste Grenouille, the protagonist in Patrick Suskind’s novle–“Perfume,” pursued his quest of “gathering scents” from beautiful girls.
The 3 old perfume factories still exist in Grasse today–Fragonard, Galimard, and Molinard–and are still producing modern perfume. For example, the notes of luxurious “Chanel No.5” and playful “Clinique Happy” came from Fragonard lab.
I did not spend much time here because I needed to go to my next destination in the late afternoon. I wish I have another chance to visit here again; I will make sure to explore the town a bit more. I’ve heard that during the summer time when the flowers fully bloom, this town will be filled with wonderful aroma.
Fragonard serves as a factory and museum on the 1st floor and offers free guided tour. There are “noses” working in Fragonard lab to create new perfume. Fragonard make perfume notes for some well-known cosmetics brands, but it also produces and sells their own Fragonard branded perfume, soap, and skin-care products.
This is a chart showing the plants and flowers used in making perfume: (It uses “Cintronnelle” from Taiwan~~)
Some natural perfume ingredients are shown in the glass cabinets:
Fragonard offers free guides in different languages. My guide was beautiful Sandra who spoke English; there were also guides who spoke Chinese.
This is the lab inside. There are normally people working here, but the day I went was a holiday–“Labor Day.” The lab was empty and the machines that produced soap were not operating. It should have been fun to see how the soap was made~ Fragonard is very proud of its perfumed soap. Sandra proudly said that the scent of Fragonard-produced soap lasted for a long time and could certainly be used to scent your clothes in the closets and drawers.  
There are different methods to obtain perfume from different materials: extract (壓榨), distill (蒸餾), enfleurage a l’huile (油萃), enfleurage a froid (冷萃 ),  enfleurage a chaud (熱萃).
“Extract” is used mostly on orange, lemon, tangerine… for those that are only required to be sliced in thin pieces and from which extracted out the essential oil.
“Distill” is used on lavender, sandalwood…by putting these material into a special distilling machine and cooking them for a while, then cooling the vapor to obtain the scent. 
“Enfleurage a l’huile” is French, meaning to extract with ordorless fatty oil gathered from cows or pigs. First, a piece of cotton clothes is soaked in clean fatty oil. Flowers are placed on this clothes until the clothes absorbs the scent of the flowers. The oil is squeezed out of the clothes and the scent is extracted by dissolving the fatty oil into alcohol. “enfleurage a froid” is similar to “enfleurage a l’huile,” except by using a piece of clothes, the fatty oil is placed on a piece of glass. These methods are used for delicate flowers like violets and jasmines.
“Enfleurage a chaud” is mixing flowers into warm fatty oil, and the fatty oil is also disolved into alcohol to obtain the fragrance. This is often used on mimosa.
Grenouille 在小說”香水”中就是用”enfleurage a l’huile” (油萃法) 來得到美麗女生的香氣…(看過電影或小說的人應該知道我在說什麼…)  (電影是2006年上映的, 英文叫: Perfume: The Story of a Murderer. 演員有Ben Whishaw, Dustin Hoffman. The movie was really well-made.)
Fragonard’s shop is on the 2nd floor; it sells pure perfume, bath/body care products, solid perfume, perfumed soap, lotion, etc.
其實Fragonard很利害的, 參觀跟guide是免費的, 可是它知道你最後一定也會買些東西. 不過它的東西還不錯, 價錢也公道, 而且就是自己工廠的新鮮貨. 還有我注意到了, 你買東西的業績就算你guide的喔, 嘿嘿!
這是我的午餐, 是一家小餐廳. 它叫pizza喔, 可是跟我們一般吃的pizza不太一樣. 那個一大片的硬麵包上有蕃茄, cheese, 鮪魚(?)醬, 葡萄乾, 燻鮭魚. 右上角有一塊小小的麵包上好像是鴨肝醬. 配菜有olive, 蕃茄, 甜菜, 綠綠的一堆菜, 中間好像是小米做的不知名東西, 還有一片超甜的cantaloupe. 很奇妙的組合.