Travel Blog: Day One

DAY ONE  |  Boston, Paris, Avignon, Courthezon

A delayed flight produced an exciting connection this morning between tarmac and TGV. With one in two SNCF trains cancelled by striking rail workers, the margin for error was nil, and with heavy fog and teeming terminals we feared the worst. But the luggage belts were in our favor, and we even managed to grab two double espressos before boarding the packed train.

The three hour ride from Paris to Avignon runs nearly due South, and slices through dense green fields speckled with charolais and windmills, and past unnumbered ancient towns with varyingly decrepit stone steeples. The gently rocking traincar and mid-day warmth are catalysts for jetlag, and require all manor of resistance available — coffee, chocolate, conversation, podcasts, etc. Some work better than others; all exhaust themselves in time.

The Avignon train station welcomed us with dry sunny weather and piercing blue skies. Though we’ve made the trip several times, the temporal and cultural transition is still arresting — depart Boston in the evening, and you’re sitting in a café in Avignon by lunch the next day. Today’s café produced salads and steak, with cold rosé and colder beer to match; we finished with more coffees, and set off to the north.

A half hour later we arrived in Courthezon, where we’ve rented an AirBnB for the next few days. It’s a lovely spot, with a classically Provençal courtyard, tiny bathrooms, and quick internet. We nipped up to Séguret for dinner — foie gras salad and steak au poivre vert, with a cool refreshing Séguret red for wine — and enjoyed a sleepy but pleasant evening on an outdoor terrace. Three tastings tomorrow in Chateauneuf-du-Pape and Gigondas.

We’re experimenting with video this trip — we’re still learning the ropes, so you’ll have to forgive us the audio levels and odd cuts — but we hope it provides an enhanced look at our trip for the next few weeks.