‘I am on a lonely road and I am traveling,
traveling, traveling, traveling.
Looking for something.
What can it be?’
(Joni Mitchell—‘All I Want’)
Bienvenue voyageurs. What follows is both leeeengthy and jUmbLed. It serves as a trip-report-plus-tips-list based upon our recent return to Provence (and Gard). My wife and I had been there a couple of times before, but 25 years had passed since we’d last visited this area which the Romans once called Provencia. And so, a Provencal echo.
This recit de voyage has been re-read many times by the Department of Redundancy Dept. to ensure that there was no undue repetition, incorekt speling or grammar badly. This recit de voyage has been re-read many times by the Department of Redundancy Dept. to ensure that there was no undue repetition, incorekt speling or grammar badly.
Some elements from our previous reports, such as headings, have been reprised. Eclectic musical interludes will again be included in an attempt to convey something of the character throughout this part of southern France. Hungry readers will discover a special Camargue Fougasse recipe towards the end. We hope that somehow, these facts and opinions may prove useful to travelers who are Provence-bound.
Tres etrange pre-trip coincidence: around the time that we booked our flight, I noticed a hidden cache of dusty old posters in our attic. Unraveling them, we discovered that they were from our aforementioned previous Provencal trip all those years ago. A Parisian art gallery had then been about to toss the lot into the trash, but we’d intervened. The posters were prints of Provencal scenery, promo for art shows. I had the best one plaque-mounted.
Suggested pre-trip activity: try playing French Scrabble, with a French Dictionary within reach.
The Mustique Wars: my wife, Mrs Z, is allergic to mosquito (mustique) bites and for some weird reason, I too was inundated with them in the immediate weeks prior to our departure. God’s sense of humour: after all my research on Mrs Z’s behalf about the prevalence of Provence’s dreaded new tiger mozzies, my spouse eventually suffered only 3 bites. This time, they preferred me. This report will include running totals for ‘how many mozzies bit me versus how many I killed’.
Aix: Mustiques 6 vs Myself 2.
Playing House in Provence:
Once again, we eschewed hotels for private vacation rentals. Our view is that rentals are better value. We went high-end during our month in Provence and Gard, with the exception of the apartment that we rented in Avignon. Our strategy resulted in some dream rentals. Mon dieu, it was hard to leave some of them.
Lourmarin- is a small but active tourist town in the southern Luberon, yet with our rental house’s private courtyard, we felt as though we were in a semi-rural setting. Grass and vines everywhere plus 8 types of trees and a unique seating area beneath an overhang—you’d never guess that just outside the bucolic complex’s old stone walls were smart boutiques and strolling tour groups. At night, a trillion silver stars shone overhead. This rental was comprised of 2 separate buildings. Very arcadian and blissful, Le Maison du Grand Pre. Incidentally, our gestionaire (property manager) had the same surname as the main character in our fave French TV series about the war, ‘Un Village Francais’.
Stay here if: you want your own homey slice of quiet rusticity in a beguiling green space.
End part one.