Dinner at the Duke’s house
Cruise lines all sail up and down the same waterways, so they compete to have the most interesting tours and excursions. Tauck hit the jackpot last night, when we went to dinner in the private garden of the Jacques de Crussol, 17th Duke of Uzès. For an added bonus, the Duke himself was in attendance early in the evening.
We knew the Duke was home (instead of Paris) because his flag was flying over the building:
Uzès is a small city south of Avingnon, where we are docked. The castle we visited has been there since the 11th century, and the Duchy of Uzès is France’s oldest ducal peerage, since 1572.
The courtyard is somewhat more modern, with a new-ish facade on the old walls. Notice that the columns are Doric on the first floor, Ionic on the second and Corinthian on the third.
The adjoining wing
We got to tour some rooms, full of period furniture and art, but not exciting. When the Duke himself showed up, he took people up to his favorite room, where he has a large, elaborate model train system.
This is the garden where we would enjoy our supper:
We had enjoyed champagne and some excellent canapes in the front courtyard, now we settled in for a gourmet feast. The Duke is a graduate of MIT and has an MBA from Columbia–which explains the professional way this operation is run. Owning a castle is exceedingly expensive, and there is constant need of cash for repairs and remodeling.
We began with salad and mille feuille, sort of a cold eggplant lasagna.
The second course was either a tender cut of veal:
Or a bouillabaisse of John Dory, served in a pot.
The entree was followed by a brief concert. Two violins and a guitar provided modern and classical music in the warm evening air. As the shadows lengthened:
The music played:
Following the concert, a dessert of Lavender creme bruleé was served.
With the sun setting over the fallen ramparts of the building, we shuffled back to the buses and headed home. At least I’ve lived like nobility for an evening.