August 9, 2012

Provence- a Week in Pictures

Posted in Uncategorized at 10:40 pm by newsurroundings

Provence- say the word and it conjures up images of lavender and poppy fields, vineyards, markets, and hilltop villages.  Bryan and I spent a week in the Luberon area of Provence in June.  We had so much fun driving around in the countryside and visiting the different villages.  Usually one village a day was enough for us, but they are small and close together, so you can see several in one day if you want.  We met a very nice couple from California at our inn and they gave us the CD, “A Year in Provence”, to listen to as we drove around.  I had read the book, but Bryan hadn’t, and we both enjoyed this witty, warm story narrated by Peter Mayle himself.

This is the picture you see in all the books on Provence:

Abbaye Senanque near Gordes

Wheat, lavender, vineyards, mountains, and the mistral (wind)- this picture has it all.

Quintessential Provence.

Provence is known for its markets.  Almost every village has a weekly market.

The market in Roussillon.

There are so many hilltop villages to visit.  Gordes is one of the most popular.

The medieval village of Gordes.

We stayed in the Bastide Cassiopee  near Roussillon.  The owner, Jean-Pierre, made all our dinner reservations and sent us to the most beautiful settings in places we would have never found on our own.

Dinner here lasted 4 hours! Every meal is an event.

The village of Roussillon was our favorite, mainly because it is so different from the others.  Its red cliffs and ochre quarries make it a very unique place.  There is a trail on the edge of town that takes you into one of the former ochre quarries.  It costs a few euros to go on the trail and then you can choose the long or short path.  The long path took us about 45 minutes.

Is this really France??

Provence is supposedly a great place for biking.  It was very hot in late June, so we only went on one short bike ride.  The best thing about being on our bikes was the sound of the wheat fields in the wind.  You can’t appreciate that from your car.

Can you hear it?

We stopped at a couple of wineries in the area for tastings.  We especially liked this one and went back later with our car to purchase a few bottles.

Just look for the “degustation” signs.

Another one of our favorite villages was Oppede le Vieux.  It has a lot of interesting old ruins and we found a really nice shop owned by a husband and wife who are both potters.  She makes whimsical creatures and he makes really beautiful ceramic tableware.

The church dates back to the 12th century!  There are chateau ruins from the 15th-16th century.

Oppede le Vieux

The landscape is so varied.  You can drive a few miles and go from this:

The cliffs in Lioux.

to this:

The beautiful countryside.

to this:

Roussillon

Provence is indeed a special place.

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