"" Writer's Wanderings: France - Tain l'Hermitage

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

France - Tain l'Hermitage

Our stop in Touron found us deep in the wine country of Burgundy in southern France. While the weather may not cooperate fully in late fall, this time of the year the countryside is painted with vibrant colors of red, yellow, orange and brown mostly from the vast acres of vineyards.

Across the river from Touron is the town of Tain L’Hermitage where we spent our morning. It was quite a tour beginning with a trip to one of the wine producers in the area. The vineyards in this area sit mostly on the hills facing south and large signs exclaim the name of the owners. Wine is known by the name of the grower here not by the type of wine it is.

We were led through the area where the grapes are pressed and then stored in large fiberglass vats and in oak barrels. This was a family operation that dated back several generations. The wine aficionados in the group tossed questions out about the aging, the best years, etc. and our host graciously answered all of them. We moved into another room that was set up for wine tasting and, of course, the opportunity for purchase. The best part was the wonderful orange-flavored bread that was passed around between tastes.

From the winery we traveled back into town to a private residence that has been turned into an art gallery. The name of the artist was Pierre Paule (1920-2005). The house was purchased by his daughter who inherited a good portion of his work but, as it was my understanding, there is some restriction on her being able to sell it. So she has this wonderful old house that she has opened up into a gallery featuring her father’s work as well as some of his students (whose paintings are for sale).

The house had small rooms that we wandered through. The main room where Paule’s paintings were displayed had a huge fireplace that his daughter and our tour guide actually stood in. A winding staircase took you upstairs to several other rooms full of paintings.

Since moving in, Mary, his daughter, has found that there is a secret passageway at one end of the fireplace. She hopes to explore it further and plans to have a construction crew open it up. Sounds like the beginning of a novel plot, doesn’t it? Hmmm.

While the artwork was wonderful and exploring the old house exciting, the best was last—the chocolate store! A huge Valrhona store was in town and we were privileged to be able to wander through the store sampling all of the chocolates starting with a little sample of hot chocolate which was like drinking melted dark chocolate. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside so I’m afraid you will just have to imagine a bit more sophisticated version of Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Besides, I’d be afraid of causing you to drool on your computer screen.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...