Sunday, April 20, 2014

Final Day in Paris

Today is our final day in Paris and it was a beautiful April day....Happy Easter!
We are staying in the Montmartre district so we spent the day in the area.....

Built in 1885, the Moulin Rouge was turned into a dance hall as early as 1900. The wild and colorful can-can revues still go on today and tonight we will see one as our final farewell to a wonderful vacation and city.

 Sacre-Coeur Basilica at the Montmartre
So we fly home to reality tomorrow. It's been a fabulous vacation, as all our trips are. See you on the next trip.....


Friday, April 18, 2014

Provence Will Forever Be In Our Hearts

So our week in Provence has come to an end. Tomorrow morning we fly back to Paris for our final two days. The owner of this lovely property, Marie invited us to sip champaigne with her after dinner to re-cap our week and share stories.
She is an incredibly gracious and intelligent woman and we have truely made a new friend for life.

Marie with her 24 year old cat, Mitseux
The following are some random, beautiful pictures depicting this area, villiages, markets, homes that we have come across and fallen in love with.
This is truely a special place that we hope to return to some day. 
   Au Revoir
A typical street in the village of Lumarin

Grapevines growing on the front of this house
The Luberon Valley




Thursday, April 17, 2014

Menerbes is Our Village

Our home "Le Refuge" is located in the little valley right below the hill town village of Menerbes.
This is the village Peter Mayle lived in and referred to in his book "A Year in Provence".

Our view as we drive down the road from our place.

At one of the high points of the village where this picture was taken is the Citadel, built in 1584.

Pictures hardly do these towns justice. Their charm, age and amazing ability to withstand the test of time make them so special. 
Friday is our last day here is Provence. We are going back into the village that evening for a nice dinner before heading back to Paris Saturday.


A Visit to the Port Town of Cassis

Cassis has been called the poor man's St-Tropez. Hunkered below impossibly high cliffs, Cassis is an unpretentious port town that gave us a sunny time-out for the day.

A busy, prosperous fishing center in the 19th century, Cassis is still known for its excellent seafood. Outdoor cafes line the small port on three sides. We had a delicious lunch while we watched the boaters come and go from this sleepy and charming little port.
Cassis was born more than 2500 years ago. Some of the the castle ruins on the hill date from the 8th century. While foreigners may overwhelm the pretty beaches of the Mediterranean, Cassis is popular mostly with the French and still feels unspoiled.


Tuesday, April 15, 2014

It's Market Day At The Village Hill Town of Gordes

We visited the most picturesque hill town village of Gordes today. This village spills down the mountain in terraces from a Renaissance Chateau. The charming atmosphere and incredible views made this a must-see.
Tuesday is market day, so we had fun strolling through the various stalls of antiques, foods and goods. I saw so many things I could totally buy. It's a lucky thing, or unlucky, depending on how you look at it, that I can't just load up my car with all these fabulous vintage French wares......sigh.


Monday, April 14, 2014

Oppede-le-Vieux, the Old Village

Perched on a rocky spur, the hill town of Oppede dates back to post Roman time, the 12th century. At the top of the hill are the medieval fortress ruins and the church, Notre Dame d'Alidon, which was partially rebuilt in the 16th century.

The old village of Oppede is the result of over a thousand years of history followed by a century of abandonment.

As we hiked amongst the village's buildings and network of streets, we came upon whole rooms built into the rock. It's amazing how intact some of them still are. The newer section--16th, 17th, 18th centuries--still stand with some buildings refurbished.

Once we made it to the church summit, we were rewarded with a spectacular view of the entire valley and the Luberon mountains.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

"Le Refuge" in Provence

Yesterday (day 5), we flew from Paris to Marseille, where we picked up our rental car. My, how we love our large cars, but it's rare to see anything but small cars here. The small towns have very narrow streets and the cost of fuel is very high--almost double our cost. We love our little car with its manual shift, another norm.
We drove straight to our cottage in the lovely hill town of Menerbes. It took some effort to find the place, as the owner, Marie's instructions were in pretty broken English.
Marie is from Paris, got a divorce, then moved to Provence, where she found this property in 1994. It was little more than an old stone shell in ruins, built in 1769 and over the course of 20 years, she has transformed it into her refuge, thus the name "Le Refuge".


This house served as a refuge for the French resistance, and even though it is only a 5 minute drive from the beautiful village of Menerbes, I feel like I am in a lost valley and the cares of the world are far away.
The house is literally built into the the rock and faces south to the sun. The extraordinary overhang of the rock is quite impressive.
We arrived at the house through an arch into a beautiful little courtyard.
Downstairs is the living area with kitchen, fireplace, internet and bath and the bedroom is upstairs.
When we arrived, we got to know Marie over a glass of wine. She speaks limited English but speaks better English than I speak French. But that didn't matter. She was a delight to visit with. Today she took us all around the property and showed us all the amazing thing she has done over the years.
We love this place!!
Marie's house

Friday, April 11, 2014

Pont de L'Archeveche--Bridge of Locks

There are several bridges with locks, but Pont de L'Archeveche is a beautiful bridge that crosses over from Notre-Dame Cathedral to the Latin Quarter. Both sides are completely covered with padlocks.

So the tradition goes that you and your love bring a lock with something written on it, find a spot to attach it, then throw the key in the river.


It was amazing to see all sizes, shapes, colors of locks, bike locks, railroad locks, you name it. Locks were locked to locks, forming lock chains because it was so full.

Tour Eiffel

No building better symbolizes Paris than the Tour Eiffel. Originally meant to be a temporary structure, the Eiffel Tower was built for the 1889 Worlds Fair. It stands 984 feet tall and was once the worlds tallest building until overtaken by New York's Empire State Building in the 1930's.
It was a beautiful day, perfect for our picnic lunch on the lawn in front of the tower.
Scaffolding up the center was being used for some sort of maintenance.
On Friday evening, we headed back to see the Eiffel at night and it didn't disappoint.
These past four days in Paris have been busy and wonderful. Tomorrow is another new adventure....on to Provence for a week. See you there......


Thursday, April 10, 2014

Crepes For Lunch

They're so French and oh, so yummy. As Mike and I were strolling down the Champs Elysees, we came across this Crepes cart, one of several we had seen. As it was lunch guessed it, that's what we had for lunch. Yes, ham and cheese crepes. I could eat them all day.




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