Saturday, July 28, 2012

Valence, France

Heading 60 miles south of Lyon (France's second largest city) brings me to Valence, population 65,000. Situated in a narrow valley, this is a view from the town center toward a large park and the Rhone river (hidden behind the trees).
I think you know by now that I have a severe sweet tooth and will go to great lengths to satisfy it. Relais Desserts International is an association of pastry chefs. Let me rephrase that--Relais Desserts International is a clickish club of superb high-end pastry makers. With roughly 100 members (majority of them in France) and membership highly restricted, this prestigious sign outside posted outside a store should make your heart start to flutter because you KNOW you are about to enter a place overflowing with a multitude of delectable delights.
Daniel Guillet, chocolatier, was creating tasty sweets 40 years ago and now his son, Luc, is continuing the tradition.
Macaroons set the bar. If these delicate and fragile treats are subpar then I don't even bother with the other pastries.
Holy moly! the pistachio cherry as well as the caramel macarooons are fantastic! We have ourselves a winner!

 This is the 20th member of the Relais Desserts International visited.

It took a few minutes to figure out what was going on here at a stoplight in downtown Valence.
The woman approaching the red car was getting married and her women friends were taking her around town having her do strange things such as asking cars at the stoplight if she can wash their windows and then actually washing them. About half an hour earlier I saw a young man dressed in a parrot costume being led around town on a rope by half a dozen laughing similar age men.
Leaving town at six in the morning I cycled passed the park and snapped this shot of the sun coming up with the 150 year-old kiosque and it's famous heart. Never mind the two guys asleep underneath.

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