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boblerm

Trip Report- Uniworld's Grand France

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2 hours ago, boblerm said:

JP, interesting that you should ask about "Fourvière".  I distinctly remember our tour guide telling us that people often ask about it and as far as she knows....."it doesn't mean anything!"

 

That is really funny. I'm still chuckling about it. They may well be right and what I've read could be just made up by some French internet propagandist who wants to confuse Americans. 🤣

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1 hour ago, jpalbny said:

 

That is really funny. I'm still chuckling about it. They may well be right and what I've read could be just made up by some French internet propagandist who wants to confuse Americans. 🤣

 

"information fallacieuse"

https://www.thelocal.fr/20181005/fake-news-gets-official-french-translation-infox

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Posted (edited)

Day 13   May 29     Tain L'Hermitage,  Tournon

 

Today we are in the twin villages of Tain L'Hermitage and  Tournon, 2 towns across the Rhone from each other.  We are docked on the Hermitage side, which is on the left bank.  The towns are connected by a wooden pedestrian suspension bridge.

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Jeannie felt quite a bit better this morning, not quite 100%, but our scheduled tour was a morning walking tour starting right off the pier.  So we felt comfortable taking the tour, knowing that if she didn't feel well enough to complete it, we could just walk back to the ship.  As it turned out, she had no problem completing the tour.

 

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We started with a brief walk in L'Hermitage

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Then walked over the bridge to Tournon.

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14th century church- St Julien (!)

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Chateau Tournon

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In the courtyard of the castle, a local wine guild performed an ceremony in which 2 of our group were "knighted".

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After the ceremony we had a wine tasting

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and enjoyed some nice views

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We walked back over the bridge to the ship.

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We had a little time before setting sail, so Jeannie stayed on the ship to rest, and I walked around L'Hermitage for a bit. 

 

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One of the things that Tain L'Hermitage is noted for is Valhrona chocolate.  There is a large boutique called "Cite du Chocolat", where there is a chocolate museum (no time for that) and a shop that offers samples 😋 .  I resisted the temptation to make a lunch of it here😊.

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On the way back to the ship, I noticed a church, which, as it turns out, was appropriately named!   I was getting a little concerned about that.

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If I may humbly offer some advice - if you are strolling around a French village and come upon a church, and if you are wondering whether or not to peek inside-.........do.

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The afternoon was spent in "scenic" cruising.  The reason for the quotation marks is that when I think of scenic cruising, I picture going down the Danube, Rhine, or Moselle.  This is nothing like that.  Pleasant, but no breathtaking sights.

 

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We went through several locks, some of them quite large.  It never ceases to fascinate me.

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Dinner menu

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Salmon

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There was entertainment in the lounge after dinner, "Dancing with Pierre", but we passed and decided to turn in early.

 

Edited by boblerm

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I'm noticing that every evening Bea Tollman's chicken noodle soup is on the menu.  I've taken 3 Uniworld cruises, and don't recall it being offered every night.

 

Roz

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2 minutes ago, Roz said:

I'm noticing that every evening Bea Tollman's chicken noodle soup is on the menu.  I've taken 3 Uniworld cruises, and don't recall it being offered every night.

 

Maybe it isn't moving as fast as it used to? Or they made a really big batch? 😉

 

***

 

Bob, I'm glad you made it to the Valrhona factory. I was getting worried, as I read through your latest installment, that you didn't leave yourself enough time to get there.

 

Your weather looked a lot nicer than ours in Tain/Tournon. We had spitting rain all morning, and chilly weather. We hiked uphill into the vineyards for a while before crossing over into Tournon for the wine tasting. We were in an exposed area right on the hill by the castle. It was so cold that the reds were overly chilled. Oh well. C'est la vie - it still beat being at work!

 

Speaking of walking by a church and just popping in, I'm eager to hear about what you did in Viviers. But I'll wait patiently. 

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7 minutes ago, Roz said:

I'm noticing that every evening Bea Tollman's chicken noodle soup is on the menu.  I've taken 3 Uniworld cruises, and don't recall it being offered every night.

 

Roz

 

7 cruises with Uniworld and it wasn't offered so often.

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After visiting the chocolate factory, we still buy Valrhona chocolate if we see it for sale. Last time was at Harrod's in London last spring.

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1 hour ago, jklc123 said:

After visiting the chocolate factory, we still buy Valrhona chocolate if we see it for sale. Last time was at Harrod's in London last spring.

 

amazon is your friend

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8 minutes ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

amazon is your friend

 

Very true -- but enemy to the diet!

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2 hours ago, Roz said:

I'm noticing that every evening Bea Tollman's chicken noodle soup is on the menu.  I've taken 3 Uniworld cruises, and don't recall it being offered every night.

 

Roz

It is a little odd that they offer it so often.  I had it once or twice, it was ok, nothing special.

The Bea Tollman salad dressing at the lunch buffet, on the other hand was great, I had it pretty much every time.

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2 hours ago, jpalbny said:

Your weather looked a lot nicer than ours in Tain/Tournon. We had spitting rain all morning, and chilly weather. We hiked uphill into the vineyards for a while before crossing over into Tournon for the wine tasting. We were in an exposed area right on the hill by the castle. It was so cold that the reds were overly chilled. Oh well. C'est la vie - it still beat being at work

We didn't have rain, but it was pretty chilly and windy.  Our tour guide told us that the wind was good for the vineyards.

2 hours ago, jpalbny said:

Speaking of walking by a church and just popping in, I'm eager to hear about what you did in Viviers. But I'll wait patiently.

Viviers is next, and it was a very special day!

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21 minutes ago, boblerm said:

It is a little odd that they offer it so often.  I had it once or twice, it was ok, nothing special.

The Bea Tollman salad dressing at the lunch buffet, on the other hand was great, I had it pretty much every time.

 

I agree on both recipes.

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Day 14  May 30   Viviers

 

Of all of the locales that I can remember visiting, whether on ocean cruises, river cruises, or land vacations, Viviers is arguably the place that appears to be the least spoiled by tourism.  I saw no designer clothing stores, fancy jewelry stores, no bazaars where merchants are hawking their goods.  I did not see a souvenir shop where you can buy a magnet or a postcard or a T-shirt that says "my grandpa went to Viviers and all he brought me back was this crappy shirt".  Just a beautiful, scenic, atmospheric place where people live.

 

As we came off the ship, the local tour guides were gathered, as they are every day, holding their numbered signs.  We noticed  Frances, who was our tour guide yesterday in Tournon.  She was a fantastic guide, informative, interesting, and an absolute hoot.  We wanted to make sure that we were in her group today as well.  This turned out to be a mega great decision, and not just because Frances was every bit as informative and entertaining as she was yesterday- but more about that shortly.

 

We started our tour by walking from our docking location down a tree lined street to the Place de la Plaine.

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We walked up to the top of this hill.

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No, really, we did.  But it was a slow stroll over gradual inclines, not problem at all.

 

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We came to the cathedral which is called St Vincent's.  Note: try as I might, I was unable to identify a single church called "Notre Dame de Viviers" or "Notre Dame de AnythingElse"!

 

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We were told that this was the smallest cathedral in France, but it looked pretty big to me.

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Here we had the first of our 2 surprises- we were treated to an organ recital by a local gentleman, he did 5 pieces.  It was a very special experience.

 

My very clumsy attempt at videography

 

 

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Afterward we took in some views from the top

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Poppy fields

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We wandered around a bit more

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And then we had our second surprise.  All of the tour groups had a local visit of some kind.  One group visited a potter, others a baker, a bar, a dance class.  I am certain that all of these visitations were just lovely.  Our group got to visit.....Frances' home!  It turns out that she has been living in Viviers for 26 years in a house that was built in 1640.  She had inherited the house from her Great Aunt.

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She opened the door with an old fashioned skeleton key, and invited us all to just poke around anywhere we would like.  And we did!

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The house had "secret passageways"

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At the top level was a beautiful terrace garden where a small buffet was set up for us of cheese, sausage, olives, bread and very good homemade rose wine.

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Frances told us that her Great Aunt was active in the French Resistance.  She said that her aunt was always reluctant to discuss her wartime activities, but she had heard from neighbors that this house was used to hide Jews from the Nazis, and at one point there were 29 souls being sheltered there while safe transport out of France was arranged for them.  And so for the second time on this trip, (the first, of course, being the landing beaches in Normandy), I felt like I was standing on hallowed ground.

 

Jeannie and me with Frances

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On the way out, we passed by the Maison de Cheveliers (House of Knights)

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There was an afternoon excursion of a truffle farm visit in the village of Grignan, but given that Jeannie is just getting over her illness, we thought that discretion is the better part of valor, and chose to stay on board for another afternoon of "scenic cruising".  Those that took the excursion rejoined the ship in Roquemaure.

 

Here is the dinner menu, and Roz will be pleased to see that Bea's soup is still here😉

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Frog's Legs and Cream of Mushroom Soup 

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The Frog's Legs were good, if you could find any meat on them.

 

Lamb Rack, Grilled Prawns and Scallops.  Excellent.

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There was no entertainment last night, so turned in early.

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Wow! We so enjoyed our time in Viviers, even returning in early morning on our own before proceeding onward the next day, but your visit to Frances' home -- what a wonderful memory. I agree, Viviers seems a medieval village, almost untouched by time. 

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Posted (edited)

Viviers! It's certainly an amazing place. On our cruise in 2015, we arrived there after dinner, at about 9:00PM. Chris and I went out in the evening on our own, with nothing but a cell phone and Google Maps to guide us. We wandered down that dark alley of trees in the inky darkness with absolutely nothing and nobody else around. It was a bit spooky! Especially since there was a sign warning us about a vicious dog...


We found our way up the maze of streets to the cathedral and to our surprise, the door was open and the lights were on. So we went in, and found another ship's tour group. We joined in and looked around like we belonged there, and nobody was the wiser. After leaving the church we walked around the upper plateau upon which it stands, watching the wind drive the clouds across the sky, and the full moon intermittently illuminating the deserted cathedral and churchyard.

 

We returned home through another part of the village, enchanted by our evening stroll through a place which time had seemingly forgotten. The visit the next day was fun too, but nothing beat the magic of wandering through what seemed like a slice of the Middle Ages at night.

 

On our day tour, we visited the pottery shop. Your experience with la maison de Frances - c'est magnifique! Thanks for a vivid description and great pictures of Viviers. And I hope you didn't mind my intrusion into your trip report.

Edited by jpalbny

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4 minutes ago, jpalbny said:

Viviers! It's certainly an amazing place. On our cruise in 2015, we arrived there after dinner, at about 9:00PM. Chris and I went out in the evening on our own, with nothing but a cell phone and Google Maps to guide us. We wandered down that dark alley of trees in the inky darkness with absolutely nothing and nobody else around. It was a bit spooky! Especially since there was a sign warning us about a vicious dog...


We found our way up the maze of streets to the cathedral and to our surprise, the door was open and the lights were on. So we went in, and found another ship's tour group. We joined in and looked around like we belonged there, and nobody was the wiser.

 

That might have been from AMA.  A Viviers 'ghost tour' is one of their after-dinner options at that stop.  We took the other one, a 'limited edition' experience baking bread at a boulangerie – that was a hoot!

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18 minutes ago, jpalbny said:

Viviers! It's certainly an amazing place. On our cruise in 2015, we arrived there after dinner, at about 9:00PM. Chris and I went out in the evening on our own, with nothing but a cell phone and Google Maps to guide us. We wandered down that dark alley of trees in the inky darkness with absolutely nothing and nobody else around. It was a bit spooky! Especially since there was a sign warning us about a vicious dog...


We found our way up the maze of streets to the cathedral and to our surprise, the door was open and the lights were on. So we went in, and found another ship's tour group. We joined in and looked around like we belonged there, and nobody was the wiser. After leaving the church we walked around the upper plateau upon which it stands, watching the wind drive the clouds across the sky, and the full moon intermittently illuminating the deserted cathedral and churchyard.

 

We returned home through another part of the village, enchanted by our evening stroll through a place which time had seemingly forgotten. The visit the next day was fun too, but nothing beat the magic of wandering through what seemed like a slice of the Middle Ages at night.

 

On our day tour, we visited the pottery shop. Your experience with la maison de Frances - c'est magnifique! Thanks for a vivid description and great pictures of Viviers. And I hope you didn't mind my intrusion into your trip report.

JP, this is anything BUT an intrusion!  I am delighted to hear about your experience in Viviers, it sounds like it was an unforgettable time.

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Bob, the pictures are so lovely...…..the house and gardens just beautiful.  And with all going on in the world today, the story Frances told you about her Aunt has made me cry (good tears). That she was part of "The Resistance"...…...how truly outstanding. And when you said there was a secret passageway? I had a feeling you were going to say that was to help the Jews escape...….and it did.

 

Thank you for telling us that story.

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I'm still fixated on the chicken noodle soup every night. 😄

 

Roz 

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1 hour ago, Roz said:

I'm still fixated on the chicken noodle soup every night. 😄

 

Roz 

 

And I can't reconcile chicken noodle soup and chicken [to which my mind adds 'pot'] pie – is that one dish?

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Wow, Bob, you hit the jackpot with Frances! What a memorable and unique experience. Great story and photos :)

 

Mary

Travel Blog: https://www.themodernpostcard.com 

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13 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

 

And I can't reconcile chicken noodle soup and chicken [to which my mind adds 'pot'] pie – is that one dish?

 

I'm thinking that possibly the soup is served with some type of biscuit or pot pie crust on top, sort of en croute?

 

Roz

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17 hours ago, Lois R said:

Bob, the pictures are so lovely...…..the house and gardens just beautiful.  And with all going on in the world today, the story Frances told you about her Aunt has made me cry (good tears). That she was part of "The Resistance"...…...how truly outstanding. And when you said there was a secret passageway? I had a feeling you were going to say that was to help the Jews escape...….and it did.

 

Thank you for telling us that story.

 

15 hours ago, maryogreen said:

Wow, Bob, you hit the jackpot with Frances! What a memorable and unique experience. Great story and photos 🙂

 

Mary

Travel Blog: https://www.themodernpostcard.com 

Lois and Mary, thank you.

It was truly an unforgettable moment, we are very fortunate to have had the opportunity to experience it.

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1 hour ago, Roz said:

 

I'm thinking that possibly the soup is served with some type of biscuit or pot pie crust on top, sort of en croute?

 

Roz

I believe you are correct, I really couldn't justify ordering chicken soup very often when there were so many other more tempting options.

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What a fantastic experience in Viviers!  It sounds like you were truly lucky to have Frances as a guide.  Thanks for sharing the story about her great aunt.  Cheers to her!

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