les Goats N’ Roses (part 2)

Abbaye de Valsaintes
View large
Left: Le Berger; top right: small section of the rose path; bottom right: hummingbird moth

Moth is an aficionado of roses, so when I learned that the Abbaye de Valsaintes cultivated several HUNDRED varieties to admire and perhaps even purchase, I didn’t even bother asking if he wanted to have a look. Situated just southeast of Simiane-la-Rotonde on the D18, it’s about another 2.5 km inland on a narrow access road. Dogs allowed (on leash) and the price for the entrance fee is only 6.50€ for adults.

Abbaye de Valsaintes lavender
Lavender?!? – view large | Top left: the abbey’s 17th century church.

Most likely due to its warmer and drier climate (the abbey sits in a natural “bowl”), this was the only place where we saw lavender in bloom. Ok just patches of it, but finally, lavande! On the other hand, many of the rose blossoms seemed to have succumbed to the heat, so it wasn’t as lush and vibrant as we had expected. A good thing we could retreat into the cool interior of the church, where a collection of present-day stained glass windows added a touch of color to the walls. Upon admission at the garden entrance, you receive a pamphlet that tells a bit more about Valsaintes history, like the fact that monks once called this place home until the French Revolution in 1789!

Les vitraux
Les vitraux – view large

Leaving Valsaintes smelling like roses (quite literally!), we headed out to find a picnic spot. Nailed all the essentials: wine, cheese, a baguette, sweets and something that I had never tried before – brindille, a very long and thin dried sausage from Melchio’s charcuterie in Banon. We always plan ahead, from the folding picnic table and chairs to the cheese knife, but everyone knows that the french are the true picnic pros, n’est-ce pas?

A birthday picnic in France

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well.”
~ Virginia Woolf

Have you had your banon today?

Made from unpasteurized goat’s milk and wrapped in chestnut leaves, banon is pungent and deliciously creamy. It is one of our favorite french cheeses, and come to think of it, we really should’ve bought more than just seven.

6 thoughts on “les Goats N’ Roses (part 2)

  1. Barb

    Hi Rowena,
    Long time no see, sistah! (It is the same for me on your blog).
    Your vacation sounds great. I love your picnic spead!!!
    Enjoy to da max.
    I got back last week from HNL…
    It is good to return to my home.Then again, it is hard to leave the islands. I had many pleasures but serious challenges this time around.

    Bye for now. 🙂


    1. Rowena Post author

      I hope’ll you share a tiny bit about the islands? I knew that you were sort of taking a little breather from blogging, but I just took a look at your last post on Sceaux (so gorgeous) and am already wishing we could holiday in France again. At least the cheese stash should keep us happy for a while!



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