Camping in the Côtes du Rhône region

Spring is here in the south of France. There is always someone out on hole 9 (we can see it from our backyard) and the vide greniers have been making a comeback. In fact I went this morning and scored a bunch of fun things! I got a couple of nice summer dresses for Kinnerly, a huge stash of chapter books for Brannan, some cool water glasses for me and an even cooler copper pot!

I haven’t written in ages and it seems like so much has happened. We have moved into our new house, we went on holiday down to Umbria, Tuscany and the Amalfi Coast with our Colorado friends (that post is to follow, I have a TON of pictures that I need to sort out), then the next week we went on a camping trip to the Côtes du Rhône region of France. It seems like Instagram and Facebook are so much easier than this blogging thing but I know I will regret not having this blog when we are back in the states for years and years and I’ve forgotten what we did here in France. 

I’ll backtrack a little to our little camping trip to the Côtes du Rhône region. 

It was SUPER windy the whole time we were there! I mean like fierce crazy winds. Like people had to post signs on their doors to be careful because the winds will slam the doors shut. We cooked at our camp one night and we all had to sit and eat in the tiny vestibule of our tent or else everything would’ve blown off the table. It was really nice though. We went to the Sablet region, the Gigondas region and the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape region. We sampled quite a bit of wine and the kids got some special chocolates to appease them through all of the wine tasting stops. 

 

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I was quite timid going into the tasting areas. Although I know enough French to get me through a tasting, I am definitely NOT a connoisseur of wine, so I didn’t want to look like an idiot. I was sick for the days before we left and I think my taste buds were quite off, but I still tried my best and actually did find a couple of wines that I liked. Byron is more of a wine drinker than I am, and he actually liked quite a few of them. One of the last vineyards we visited was in the Châteauneuf-du-Pape region and it was a small vineyard off the main road. It was literally someone’s house with a basement full of wine. The proprietor was so nice and she spoke perfect English. We came to find out that she lived in Oregon for a little bit and had visited Napa and most of California tasting their wines, of course. She schooled us on the different varietals (yeah, see, I’m getting there!) and which wines are good for which situation. She also gave us a free wine opener which was even cooler so in the end we bought about 7 bottles from her! Ha! 

We never really learned why the Châteauneuf-du-Pape moniker is so popular in the US, but she did tell us that she was treated like royalty when other winemakers learned where she was from. It is funny, it is a tiny little region in the South of France but EVERYONE knows the Châteauneuf-du-Pape name. It’s not the grape – it’s the region! 

Anyway, I learned a lot more than I was expecting to on that quick little trip. It was nice because there weren’t a ton of people out and about – I’m sure come summertime, it will get crazy there. Our campground was empty but there were just enough kids and activities to keep Brannan and Kinnerly occupied during the time we did spend there. 

These are our souvenirs: 

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Finally, we had lunch in the town of Châteauneuf-du-Pape and after a really good lunch, we had to order dessert. The ile flottante was the special dessert of the day and Byron said he really liked it and ordered it every now and then at work. I’ve never had it and honestly, never really had the desire to order it, but since Byron said he liked it and he was willing to share dessert with me, we ordered it. It was my first, and probably my last. I think I’d rather have creme brûlée! Sorry ile flottante!

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