Monday, March 16, 2009
ALAIN'S OLIVE MILL
Monday, March 16, 2009 Alain’s Olive Mill
What a day we had. We were out the door by 8 am and headed north. Took about an hour and half to get to Vaison la Romaine where we found bathrooms and then headed north to Mirabel-aux-Baronnie to see if we could find Alain, the Olive Mill fellow from our wine tour in 2007 with our friends Linda & Terry. He was visiting a friend in the California and they were taking a tour of the wine country. We accidentally met at a winery in Paseo Robles. With the help of the friend and Terry (who spoke some French) I had explained that I would be visiting France with my twin sister in 2008…yes we were a year late…he gave me his telephone number and address and invited us to visit his Olive Mill when we were there. We took a photo together before leaving.
We found the shop very easily as it was in the center of the old village; we were very fortunate that the bookkeeper/clerk had gone down to check on something in the store and most importantly SHE SPOKE ENGLISH!!!! Language skills were learned when she lived in Paris; she was very good and easy to understand. When we showed her the photo and brochure that I'd brought with me she became very excited and called the house for Mr. Alain. She located him and said he'd be there shortly. Meanwhile she gave us the complete tour and all kinds of information. When I asked to purchase a small bowl with olives painted on it she insisted on giving it to me. Later, Mr. Alain insisted that Mary be given one also.
I don't know who was more excited that we'd come to visit...Alain, his friend who’d arrived with him (whose name we never learned) or us. They insisted that we follow them out to the new place where they are building a new plant, store and a couple of rental chambers on the second floor. To meet the health standards for shipping to the USA they had to upgrade their facilities to meet a certain standard. The old mill in town was just too ancient to qualify.
Best of all he brought out his shirt & hat that he'd received as a gift from Lance Armstrong when he was racing in the tour. See the photos in the slideshow that tells about Lance's visit to the Alain's Olive Mill. They also wanted us to drive to the chateaux where Lance stays with Alain's friend when racing in the area. He gave us a note to give to the owner, his friend, who would show us around. But, that's another two hour drive so I don't think we're going. I told him that I’d return again with my husband in a few years. Maybe we’ll also visit Saint-Paul-Trois-Chateaux then.
What a morning. We spent about two hours with them and then we also drove up Mt. Ventoux as far as we could...only got to the ski slopes and the rest was closed because of snow. Couldn’t wait for another blog to share these so thought I’d make a special one just for Alain’s Olive Mill.