The Daily Diary of a Wandering Restaurateur
May 10 - Once More Around the Luberon

The Fontaine de Vaucluse is one of the most powerful resurgent springs in the world. It is the outlet of an important underwater river fed by rainwater draining through the Vaucluse plateau pitted with numerous chasms. Despite extensive exploration, no one has been able to locate its exact source.

The cave from which the River Sorgue emerges is at the foot of a rocky canyon formed by high gray stone cliffs. In front of the cave is a jumble of giant boulders through which the river filters during peak flow. Peak flow happens during the winter and spring floods and pumps out water at the amazing rate of 33,000 cubic feet per second! At this time of year the river emerges from various spots in the side of the mountain farther downstream at the relatively wimpy rate of around 160 cubic feet per second.

There are ATC members in the neigboring hill town of Vaucluse. We might have stayed with them on this leg of the trip but they were on vacation themselves. Still, we thought it might be a good spot for lunch. The town was tiny but with a pocket-sized charm. There was only one choice for lunch (talk about competitive advantage!) Where shall we eat? Hey, how about lunch at the Terrasse de la Fontaine?

Then it was on to the ochre-colored town of Rousillon. IT stands on the highest of the hills in the region which are composed of ochre rock in over a dozen different shades. The rock and therefore the color are featured in the local houses and paint the countryside in warm tones.

The town itself was mainly a tourist magnet and we heard far too much American English being spoken for our tastes. Are we getting snobbish? Perhaps, but I find that people in groups -- any people -- can be annoying. One-on-one, people -- any people -- are often quite interesting. In my experience, this is certainly true for groups of men, groups of women and groups of teenagers. Groups of the same nationality, particularly when they are away from home, often exhibit the same annoying tendencies.

One of the things we like about traveling alone is that it forces you to try to connect more with the locals and their culture. In a group you can just steamroll your way over the local sensibilities.




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