Monday, February 17, 2014

Lingering over lunch at Terroirs in Uzes



It was a Sunday and we all knew it and needed it. Remi and I had picked up our hard-working friends Marc and Bettina in Nimes and then headed up through the winding hills to Uzès. Uzès, how I love thee! Ben knows. He loves it too. But it is in Winter when I prefer it as the town, one of the most beautiful in the South of France, is positively empty. 


Ah, save for at Terroirs, where we grabbed the last outdoor table on the terrace. The gentlemen gave the ladies the view on the Place aux Herbes and backs against the (very much needed) space heaters. We did our best to settle in the dogs and then it was time to consider with anticipation how to give ourselves over to a similarly floppy relaxed abandon.


We puzzled and bantered over the simple yet tempting menu with the charming waiter who leaned on our table and wished that he could join us for a glass of the very nice local wine that he had just poured into our ready glasses. Decisions were made, then changed until promises of shared bites were offered.


I was tired, coming off of a week of not sleeping well. But one of the many aspects of being with our long-time friends is that they take us as we are. There is no need to put on a show or to pretend to be other. So I felt free to be quiet. 


The conversation burbled on around me like little musical notes dancing off the staff. I let my eyes do the talking, taking little snapshots of the view from our table, my camera resting otherwise in my lap. Our food arrived just as my stomach was starting to rumble and I enjoyed my delicious gratin du jour, the cheese bubbling over smoky eggplant to warm me up from the inside so that I no longer needed the polar fleece blanket placed with consideration on the arm of my chair.


We all knew our good fortune at being able to eat outside in February and so we stayed. A second bottle of wine was ordered as it was sold à la ficelle, literally by the string so that you paid only for the level of how much you drank. Because honestly, we just wanted to linger, to pull the moment like the sweet taffy it was.


We were amongst the very last to leave (that was our table at far left) and certainly no one rushed us to go. How quiet the Place was now. Full of Winter.


All the better to take a post-dining stroll, an institution in France.


And when that perambulation happens to be in Uzes...


...well, your eyes will feast as well as your belly has.


Sunday, sweet Sunday...


...I always find a home in you.


Terroirs Restaurant
5 Place aux Herbes
30700 Uzès
Tel. : 04 66 03 41 90


PS. Thank you to everyone from Remi (and me too of course) over the many, many congratulatory comments and emails about the publication of "his" French stamp! You are a lovely group of people, I have to say...

57 comments:

  1. We like Uzès too. The Saturday morning market there on Place aux Herbes is one of our favorites in the South of France. We sat at one of those tables at Terroirs Restaurant (one of quite a few times) with my cousins Jean Marc and Christine as we debated the pros and cons of Sablet versus several small villages near Uzès. The next day we signed the purchase agreement for our home in Sablet.

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    1. So close and yet so far, Michel! But I know how happy you are in Sablet. I think your village is quite the find...

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  2. How beautiful. I can taste the food and wine in the crisp air. Your descriptions are delectable! Merci :)

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    1. Doesn't everything taste better when eating outside? Especially when you are chilly? I think so!

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  3. What good boys, tous les deux! Uzes now on the (growing) list!

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    1. Ah, Uzes-like Aix-is a must, must see! And we were especially proud of Kipling. This is the second time he has been taken to a terrace and was pretty good!

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  4. As always, another beautiful posting. I'm left smiling this morning in Kauai because food seems to be on everyone's mind. After looking at the blogs I enjoy following, I noticed that "Sara in le petit Village" also spoke about her "foodie" experience, and I must have been somehow magically linked to both of you because my on post late last night was bemoaning the loss of a favorite dining establishment here on Kauai (Kauai-to-Paris.com). Leaves me pondering the fact that Love and Food are the great "Connectors" for everyone to discover one another. Mahalo for another great post! Aloha

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    1. Thank you Bill, as always such a pitch perfect perspective. I really enjoyed your post too.

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  5. We have spent many wonderful times in Uzes and in fact have driven up from Nimes through the very hilly countryside you mentioned. And isn't the old Roman one arch bridge on that road? Uzes is a delightful place year round. Thanks for reminding us.

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    1. It is! We always slow down while we cross it (much to the annoyance of our fellow drivers) as it is just so spectacular. I love that whole area actually.

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  6. Why are you NOT sleeping???Perhaps, more wine will do the trick!
    Lovely photos…………..LOVELY!
    XOXO

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    1. More wine is not a good idea. It is just a phase and will pass. I have had insomnia troubles since my early 20s and am fairly used to it.
      Bisous.

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  7. Hey, Miss Heather,

    Perhaps you already know my favorite Uzes fact:

    As is well-known, the de Crussol's (surname of the current, 17th Duc d'Uzes, who's only about 57) revolutionarily-ruined tails were saved in the late 19th century by dint of their snagging the fortune (by way of a respectable, if transparently money-grubbing marriage, of course) of "La Marquise Rouge" (less dramatically known as "La Grande Duchesse" and, prior to her marriage, as plain "Anne de Rochechouart"....but she WAS the sole heiress to the Veuve Cliquot champage fortune).

    She bears the distinctions (among many honors; she was also a deservedly-known poet, sculptor, and a great pal of Malraux's....the lady was no slacker) of being: (1) The First Woman to get a driver's license in France, and (2) The First Woman to get a speeding ticket in France. I find that combination infinitely amusing.....she must have been a hoot to know. Oh....she was also the first Frenchwoman to fly in an airplane (I can't recall if she actually operated the thing or just sat in it)

    Otherwise (and, yes, I do happen to have an eidetic memory, which is why I can rattle off facts like this), did you know that, by dint of some tortuously complex historical twists(never try to explain this sort of thing to an American) the current, mild-mannered and apparently quite affable duke is the premier duke and first peer of France? Of course (and as is the case with England's Duke of Norfolk), a lot of this is the result of several other, contending families' dying or being killed-off over the course of 25 generations of de Crussols.....all of whom seem to have done their job of producing a direct heir before dying or being killed-off themselves.

    SO??????.....the current Duc de Uzes gets to carry the crown and sceptre (and to pronounce the accession of the new king) at the coronation,.....the moment you folks get around to deciding to have a king again.

    And thereby endeth the Lesson for Today. Thanks be to God.

    "Le Roi est Mort! Vive le Roi!"

    ----David "La Marquise d'Ici" Terry
    www.davidterryart.com

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    1. P.S. to answer the question so thoroughly begged by that entire, previous posting?......Yes, these are, indeed, the sort of facts that only gay, aristo-philic, bourgeoise American men with useless Humanities graduate degrees, French boyfriends, and eidetic memories bother with.

      Guilty as charged, as usual------

      David Terry

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    2. Ah but I am so glad for your eidetic memory, the polar opposite to my Emmenthal one! Most certainly as I did not know any of the above and am most interested to learn. I have always wondered if the French wouldn't be happier if they had a king...more of a figure than a ruler...

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  8. By the last day of our trip to Provence last spring (we had met you early in our two week stay for our walking tour of Arles) we had not been to Pont du Gard so we had lunch in our favorite restaurant in Isle-sur-le-Sorgue (The Table) and drove to Uzes for exploration and an early dinner at Terroirs (we sat one table to the right). Then we made it to see the Pont du Gard in the most incredible light ever. Always think of it as the most perfect day we could have had to end our trip. Thank you for the beautiful pictures jolting my memory.

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    1. That does sound like a perfect day! Lovely to hear from you...

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  9. "So I felt free to be quiet"....love this Heather! Lingering, second bottle of wine, good friends, perambulating and lingering on...to pull the moment like the sweet taffy it was. Wonderful..thank you! xx

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    1. Something tells me that you know very well how to make the most of such moments yourself, dear Jeanne.
      xo

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  10. but on a show, pretention...so tired of that. But be as you are is not very accepted by most of the people (at least to my experience) and you can feel so lucky to have these friends where you can "feel free to be quiet" (love that too)

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    1. Yes. I feel like that with age, I am less interested in putting on any type of show unless I really have to (say if under the weather when meeting a business associate of Remi's)...makes things easier too.

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  11. Beautiful beautiful Heather!!! I love Uzes! Your darling doggies look so very happy!
    If I read your blogposts it feels as I am on a trip for a few moments!
    Thank you so much for your fabulous posts again and again!
    xx
    Greet

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    1. You are welcome Greet but how easily I say the same to you!
      I would love it if you travel our way one of these days...
      Bisous.

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  12. I found your blog recently and cannot tell you what pleasure you give me every day. I grew up in Nimes and have lived half my life in Provence and half in Britain, where I am now. Looking at your offerings every day brings back floods of memories, and you seem uncannily to see beauty exactly where we found it too, in little architectural details, ruined buildings and pure skies! You capture the light so beautifully, like in the blog by the Vaccares, or dusk in Gordes, and we too have been in Uzes in winter, with a deserted Place aux Herbes, so magical.
    We too have seen a number of old houses where we have dreamt of how we could restore them and live happily everafter, or tried to imagine what it had been like to live there, and the Cevennes that you pictured so poetically.
    You are such GOOD people, rescuing Kipling, your posts on adopting him, then one year on, brought a lump in my throat (we do the same with cats!). I can't stop being amazed at every new offering from you, here we are, totally different background, age group, life stories, and yet we are absolutely on the same "wavelength"!
    A thousand thank yous and please carry on enchanting us!

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    1. Chere Jacqueline,

      Merci pour votre remarquablement articulé (en ce qui concerne les forces artistiques de Heather) annonce. Est-ce que le terme correct pour «posting» en français?

      Voulez-vous s'il vous plaît joindre à ceux d'entre nous qui ont été encourageant Heather à écrire, dans sa voix unique et sa sensibilité très distinctifs, de simplement s'asseoir et d'écrire le livre qu'elle a évidemment besoin d'écrire pour ses admirateurs?

      Très sincèrement,

      David Terry (big fan of Heather's writing and photography, obviously)
      www.davidterryart.com

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    2. Jaqueline, I was so touched by your generous and thoughtful response that it took me a day to try and find the proper reply, which is finally, only "thank you." One of the most interesting aspects about doing this blog is how certain like-minded (or like-hearted :) souls find their way here and then stay to be a part of a little community. I admit that I added the "Live Traffic Feed" to the sidebar on the right hand side just for me as I get such a kick out of seeing where people are visiting from. Sharing with people from all over the world is quite something. And while I was able to do so with a far greater audience as a travel writer, here I am able to have exchanges that mean so very much to me...like this one!

      And David, merci encore. Your belief in what I do here keeps me going! I am working on it...slowly...but I am.

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  13. Ah, the Bliss and Ease of a true Sunday. Lovely.

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    1. It was a lovely day, G and much-needed too...

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  14. lingering and pulling the afternoon hours like taffy - very nice.
    another place to add to my list of must see.
    XXX

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    1. George! You have so many already! Although Uzes makes for a lovely day out combined with the Pont du Gard...
      xo

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  15. Just today, a friend from Berlin who came to visit (actually she's a real red head... in mind and hair colour!) and surprisingly she talked about the idea of being taken as we are and of how important it is to relax in the comany of friends...I very much liked this aspect in your post!

    Concerning Uzès, I am sure you know Josephine Ryan, antiques dealer and author of many interior design books. She bought a little house in Uzès and renovated it during a long time. ( I think it is now available for rent in season)

    In one of her books she told the anecdote of how she decided for this house in Uzès: The old Waterboiler in the utility room had a brandname on it. It was the same as her french mothers family name: "Le Mercier". She said: "Mothers can't be wrong" and bought the house.

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    1. Ahhh...a good reminder during our house-hunting, Silke! To keep it simple and listen to our instincts!! And although I have heard of Josephine Ryan, I do not know of her books. Should I?

      And bravo to you for being brave enough to be friends with a "true" redhead! ;) We can be made of fiery stuff that is for sure...I certainly was quite, how shall we say, expansive when I was in my 20s and 30s...a bit calmer now but if anyone threatens my dogs in anyway, look out!!

      You know, for so many years here I was never relaxed as I wasn't confident in my French and self-conscious about my accent. And now I am starting to just go "Ok, it is what it is!" and let it be.

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    2. Threatening your dogs??? Oh I tell you I would be out of my mind! And in fact I am if I see anybody threatening a dog.
      Don't be insecure about an accent, it is the attitude which counts! And you are doing so very much for the south of France in this blog. You are opening up a window to France. A very nice one!
      Though I hate to state common places, "the/some French" can be sometimes contradictory when it comes to their language. Exclusive if you don't speak it but very appreciative if you do.
      And I am pretty sure you speak very, very well french and therefore you have all reasons to be confident and relax!
      The book of Josefine Ryan is called Essentially French. Well, I don't know if one has to know it. It is not a wild one , just a little book that presents the homes of antiquities dealers in the south of france.

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  16. "Full of Winter." How I love that phrase and the olive(?) branches against the red shutter. Quiet colors made peaceful rather than melancholy by your words. Merci beaucoup.

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    1. Thank you so much for your beautiful post that was spun off of this one Judith!
      http://judithaross.com/2014/02/18/full-of-winter/
      It is just gorgeous.

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  17. "Full of winter". I loved that. I can relate to it. I did not have time to comment about Remi's stamp but please tell him congratulations from me. I am sure it warms your heart when his wonderful work is acknowledged. On a different note, thank you for the link. I did enjoy seeing Malta through a stranger's eyes.

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    1. And how gorgeous it looks, Loree! I really would love to get there and meet you one day.
      I will pass on your kind congratulations...

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  18. I love that you take the dogs everywhere with you. But, that is so European isn't it? I take mine too and have to explain that they are my children and must be allowed inside. What gorgeous photos, Heather. Even in February it is glorious. much love, darling...

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    1. Thank you, Marsha. And to you! It is a little different now that we have two big dogs. Ben was allowed everywhere, especially as he is so well-behaved but we will have to stick to outdoor terraces which is fine by me!
      xo

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  19. I loved this post Heather….because it was a "review of the moment" rather than a "restaurant review" of a specific restaurant…meaning it is as delicious/applicable to read for those of us not living there as for those who do and could go there if they wished…i love that it is more of a reminder to stop and appreciate the simple joys of friendship, cosiness and company.

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    1. Ah, if only we lived in the same town we would experience such moments often together my friend, I am sure of it! But I love your perspective on this, as always...gros Bisous!

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  20. It is a beautiful friendship when you are free to be sincere, including silent when the need is there. :)

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    1. Sometimes silence is the kindest gift but as for sincerity. I happen to know someone wonderful with that exact trait...and it is truly appreciated...

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  21. Thank you for such a lovely post and "review" of Uzes; we are thinking of staying there in the fall, and after reading this we just may do it! But,of course, there will be the crowds….

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    1. Libby, go! Trust me! In the fall there will only really be crowds on the weekends and it is so very, very beautiful. You will love it. My photos don't begin to do it justice...

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  22. A beautiful post, as always - looks like it was a wonderful lazy Sunday with the puppers and friends! I can't get over the greenery that makes a few appearances and that you ate OUTSIDE!!! We are buried in snow and cold - I'm so glad that you're having a milder winter! Thank you for sharing it all with us!

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    1. I know what a terrible winter you are having Sister...stay strong and warm and know that I love you soooo much!!!

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  23. Someone used the word "enchanting", and I can't think of a better word to describe your post. Uzes is a magical place and I loved our time there. Now if they could only synchronize the bell towers, and maybe start chiming at 8:30 ish.....

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  24. What a perfect Sunday afternoon. The luxury of a long leisurely lunch outdoors, followed by a walk on such beautiful streets. I feel more relaxed just reading about it. Wish I could have been there for reals. Uzes looks like my kind of place! XOXO

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    1. It is! Lots of amazing stores too. On the list for next time! :)

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  25. Your days always sound so glorious Heather...even when you are feeling a little quiet...lovely photos, as always xx

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    1. Thank you Catherine but today is not glorious at all! Cleaning and laundry... :)
      Bisous.

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  26. It sounds to me like a perfect Sunday afternoon. Thank you for sharing it with us! Leslie in Portland, Oregon

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  27. To be with friends, with time to spend, not hurriedly and place to stroll, there is no better time, which you illustrated delicately.
    Terroirs knows how to express its name.

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  28. Hello Heather:

    What absolute bliss, what unqualified joy this all sounds to have been. And how lovely the town looks and how deliciously wonderful 'Terroirs' appears to be especially in the company of good, understanding friends. We so love unpretentious restaurants where quality food and wine are for the taking without fuss or bother and where, as you did, one may linger undisturbed. Perfection.

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  29. My friend R from Tasmania who I did my UK garden tour with me last year lived for about 5 months in Uzes last year with her family of 6. I loved her photos and so want to visit. x

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