• Bill and Nancy

February 2001

Updated: Mar 17




Julia Child said that eating is France's national sport, and we feel like major league players when we visit our favorite country restaurant, Le Petit Prince.




Many Sunday afternoons have disappeared in this charming country restaurant, while enjoying a delicious meal with friends.


The restaurant has been in the same family for generations and has a long and interesting history.

We love bringing friends here because everyone is constantly amazed by the food and the superb service. It is so wonderfully French to care about the quality of the food, its proper preparation, and presentation, even in a restaurant in a village as small as Saint-Alban-les-Eaux.


We have been here so often for lunch that when we recently asked to make a reservation for Easter lunch as we were leaving the restaurant, they said, "C'est noté" as they marked it in their book. They never asked our name, and we suspect that they wrote, "The Americans with a dog."


On the way home from our last leisurely lunch, we stopped by our local gym to inquire about membership. We were with neighbors from our port, and we had all been talking about joining the gym for months. Going into town, we would walk by and look, but all alone, we were a little intimidated to enter and ask about joining. We didn't know if we would feel out of place, but together, we gathered up our nerve that afternoon, and we walked in and signed up. We are glad that we did.


The first morning that we went to work out, everyone immediately made us feel welcome by introducing themselves and asking how in the world a group of Americans happened into their gym. We told them that we are wintering on our boats at the port, and a whole group of people stopped what they were doing to ask us questions about where we were from in the U.S. and what brought us to France. The members are a diverse group of fun-loving people whose desire to stay fit is somewhat challenged by their love of conversation and morning pastries.


We have noticed that there is always more conversation than exercise going on in this gym. There is quite a bit of joking going back and forth during the workouts, and then someone turns the joke into an extended conversation. It is not unusual for the only treadmill in the gym to be tied up while the person who was working out gets into a long and interesting conversation that soon attracts a crowd and keeps the equipment tied up until the story is over. No one ever seems to complain or interrupt the group; they wait until the discussion is over and everyone has stopped leaning on the treadmill and gone back to their respective exercises.

We have never belonged to a gym before where everyone greets us with kisses as soon as we walk in the door. Christian and Gisele go out of their way to make us feel welcome. They give us restaurant advice, tell us where to find the best produce markets, where they shop for wine, and we do all this while working out. Since food is what everyone else working out around us is talking about, we feel like we fit right in.

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