La Bastide Rose

I had the pleasure of meeting the pétillante Poppy Nicole Salinger at a cocktail party at her Paris apartment several years ago but it wasn’t until now that I was able to accept her invitation to the Bastide Rose.

If the name means something to you it should for she is the widow of JFK’s press secretary Pierre Salinger. Theirs was a superb match and she has created le Musée Pierre Salinger at Le Bastide as a permanent memorial to the man and his times.

 

 

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I had the pleasure of meeting the pétillante Poppy Nicole Salinger at a cocktail party at her Paris apartment several years ago but it wasn’t until now that I was able to accept her invitation to the Bastide Rose.

If the name means something to you it should for she is the widow of JFK’s press secretary Pierre Salinger. Theirs was a superb match and she has created le Musée Pierre Salinger at Le Bastide as a permanent memorial to the man and his times.

We pointed our Fiat towards the village of Le Thor, a scant 17 miles from Avignon, and left the main highway for a narrow country lane bordered by cornfields until we found this most charming of destinations.

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We were met by her husband Aygulf who insisted on toting our bags to the main house. We insisted on mounting the staircase with our luggage to our splendid “Lavender” suite.  Decorated with 18th-century provençal furniture, it offered a living-room with a view on the sculpture park, a bedroom with a view on the river, the island and the courtyard.

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Once we were settled it was time for a vintage pastis along the ‘banks’ of Le Sorgue where we met a charming couple from Houston and old friends of Poppy who were making their annual visit–more that a third of her guests are regulars. The perfect antidote to my continuing GPS nightmares.

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Before dinner we had time to visit the Pierre Salinger Museum that is updated regularly with documents, photographs and memorabilia including Pierre’s upright piano. The San Francisco-born (Lowell HS graduate)  was emblematic of the young blood assembled by JFK to bring vigor and purpose to that New Frontier.

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Poppy’s son Emmanuel (handsome guy on the right) offers  fresh and authentic cuisine for lunch or dinner. Served on one of the two terraces or in the winter garden with his “discovery of the day” at the local farmer’s market, on small tables or on a communal table ( upon request) and completed with local and national wines: Gigondas, Vacqueyras and, of course, Châteauneuf du Pape, without forgetting the delicious country wines Luberon and Côtes du Ventoux.

We were joined by Poppy, Aygulf, Charles Pomméry of the Champagne house and his  Colette for a convivial meal that begin with tomatoes so sweet and fresh that I thought I was back in New Jersey in August where beefsteaks are king. A fresh grilled white fish with seasonal vegetables and plenty of wine–pure pleasure.

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This is a place that screams RELAX!! I could easily far niente for a week with a few books, dips in the pool, leisurely walks and conversation with the assortment of international guests in search of the same.

So, come for a few days, taste wines in nearby Chateauneuf du Pape, antique in Isle Sur La Sorgue and most of all bath in the warm hospitality of Poppy and her family.

Reserve today at La Bastide Rose

 

 

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