Tag Archives: vacation 2013

Russell Crowe was here…

Place de l'Etang

…which is why I put Place de L’Etang, Cucuron on the must-do list. Remember the romantic comedy A Good Year? This is where Crowe and Cotillard shot the dinner date scene. Cute, sappy, but who cares when you’re gallivanting in Provence?

Pique-nique, Sénanque, and westie in a lavender field

Westie in the LuberonSpontaneous outdoor meals isn’t an activity that italians have learned to fully embrace (yet) without a religious or national holiday attached to it, so an impromptu picnic is like icing on the cake whenever we vacation in France. The country was made for picnics, and I am just sorry that we weren’t able to do more than a paltry two. Every day felt like a hundred degrees in the shade, and it dictated what we wanted to eat even if that didn’t matter much as the simplest foods are perfectly suited for dining en plein air. A baguette, cheese, salad, fresh fruit, plus a bottle of wine and we’re happy to set up camp wherever there’s a spot to park the car. We’ve even seen people stopped on the side of the road having a picnic breakfast! Maybe for next time?

une pique-nique
Cheap, good eats

Polynesian paralysis
Polynesian paralysis – check my reading material!

Senanque Abbey
The beautiful Sénanque Abbey

Westie in lavender field
Maddie in the lavender fields

A ‘full’ day of lavender in Provence

Lavender field after the rain
Valensole

Goodbye Liguria, hello Provence! With 6 days based in Vinon-sur-Verdon, we figured we had plenty of time to see lavender, meet up with Meredith of Talking Story in Provence, shop at open-air markets, go picnicking every day, and visit many of les plus beaux villages de France. What we didn’t figure in was the heat – it was SO HOT! With daily temps hovering at the mid 30°C range, it put the brakes on how much running around we could do before heading back to home base for a cold shower and a siesta.

Harvested and unharvested
Valensole

Despite this unexpected setback (even our b&b host noted that it was exceptionally hot this year), we made 1 day a ‘full’ day of lavender in every sense of the word. The 2 images above were taken on different outings but here on after, all photos are from a scenic drive through Aubenas-les-Alpes (A), Simiane-la-Rotonde (B), Sault (C), Banon (D) and Lardiers (E). It is so very beautiful in this area, and if we ever return to Provence, anywhere near Sault is going to be where we’ll stay.

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Driving route through lavender fields in Provence.

Driving route through lavender fields in Provence.

Simiane-la-Rotonde
Simiane-la-Rotonde

Le Moulin Brun
Gite rurale: Le Moulin Brun in Aubenas-les-Alpes

Harvesting lavender
Machine harvest

Banon village central
Banon village central, home of the famous Banon cheese!

Cafe de la Lavande

Bistrot de Pays: Cafe de la Lavande in Lardiers. Best meal EVER in Provence on this trip. We each ordered the menu complet (28€) and were wow’d with the assortment of entrees. Cod brandade, zucchini cooked with mint, eggplant sicilian-style, and roasted bell peppers with herbs. SCRUMPTIOUS! The main plates of braised wild duck and stewed mutton were also delicious, and the home-style trio of desserts put a a sweet end to the enormous meal.

L'Art Glacier

Ice cream parlor not far from Ansouis. Some people have complained that this place is too expensive, but we thought the whole experience was worth the price. Spectacular panorama as the sun slowly dips into the horizon, and tiny lights in the trees make it extra special. We went here later in the evening when it was much cooler. Excellent regular and floral flavors (lavender included), and the thyme sorbet was very refreshing. L’Art Glacier