Sunday, April 26, 2015

Last Day In Marseille

We are spending this final Sunday in Marseille before we fly home tomorrow.
Marseille is France's premier port and oldest major city. The Vieux Port is beautiful with ancient guardian forts on each side of the harbor entrance. The views were gorgeous from the giant farris wheel.

On the north side are the commercial docks and the old town, and people have lived here for 26 centuries. High up on the hill is the Basilica of Nortre-Dame-de-la-Garde.

A one-person car....should get great gas mileage.....


Goodbye Provence, See You Soon

Our last day at Maries Le Refuge was bittersweet. We started our morning with a good coffee at a favorite café. I asked for a large coffee and this is what they gave me.....a bowl of coffee....

We then took in a final marche at one of our favorite towns of Lurmarin and it was a beautiful day.

Then lunch at a favorite outdoor café in the village of Bonnieux which has one of the nicest views ever....

The hard part was saying good bye to Marie, truly a special friend.
So once again, good bye to Provence....a bientot....

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Our Quintesential Provence

In Provence, the small pleasures receive their due with an absence of rush. There is room to breathe and the air is clean. The texture of our daily life here has shown us the true character of Provence.....

The outdoor French café culture is wonderful. We love just sitting for awhile with a cup of coffee for the chance to people watch.

The Boulangerie is enticing with its warm, buttery smells....nothing beats the daily fresh baguette.
The markets have visual charm, color, noises and unique smells. There is no such thing as a non market day in Provence.

Taste test the cheeses, sausage, jams, honey....

Biking appears to be a way of life. They are everywhere...the countryside, hill town villages, even Mont Ventoux--perhaps training for the Tour de France.

Everywhere you go, there are fields, on trees, window boxes, at the markets....
And of course, Lavender

Our favorite little French Citroen that just has Provence written all over it.
I think here, there is a strong importance attached to just enjoying life. To take time for oneself, indulge and relax has been our motto for this trip and this is truly the place to achieve that.


Wednesday, April 22, 2015

"Le Refuge", Home Away From Home

Our home "Le Refuge" is located in the little valley right below the hill town village of Menerbes.

Village of Menerbes

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, it feels 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 and serves as a wind break during the mistrals.
We arrived at Le Refuge after walking past Maries house, then through an arch into a beautiful little courtyard.
Downstairs is the living area with kitchen, fireplace, internet and bath, and the bedroom is upstairs.

Her main house and barn were built in 1769. When the owner Marie, bought the property nearly 40 years ago, it was little more than an old stone shell in ruins, having been abandoned for 100 years. Our little refuge was added about 15 years ago. The photo above shows it to the left of the barn.
A view of Maries house from ours

Maries home from the back. She's a fabulous gardener and all her flowers are ready to bloom.
It's been fun playing catch up with Marie and she enjoys practicing her English.


Small Car Traffic Shock

The cars are small....thankfully. But once we pulled out of the airport in our little Fiat Panda, traffic shock set in.

We experienced high speed chaos as we were surrounded on all sides by a sea of small cars. It appears the local driver sees any car in front of him as a challenge. Road signs advertising one way, narrow road, winding road, or speed limits are merely a suggestion. Little baby cars would scream by going faster than the posted 70 km, sometimes on a blind bend only to tailgate the next poor tourist driver not going fast enough.

For us, it's all about the gorgeous scenery, which we'd never enjoy if we were blowing by every car in our way!

Monday, April 20, 2015

Hill Towns Of The Luberon

Today we visited three of the Luberon regions Hill Towns. These towns are incredible with so much rich history, personality and views.

  Lacoste lies in the shadow of its looming castle. As we climbed through this photogenic village of narrow cobblestone roads and arches, we made it to the base of the castle of the Marquis de Sade (1740-1814) He was notorious for hosting orgies behind the walls and for kidnapping peasants for scandalous purposes......

Bonnieux is a smaller town with not a lot of activity, however the views were spectacular!
Siagnon sits up high on a rocky spur overlooking the valley below, as most hill towns do.

It was here that we stumbled upon a wonderful little deli that served the most fabulous omelet I've ever eaten. And of course, you can't leave town without your daily baguette!!



Thursday, April 16, 2015


Roussillon....the deep ochers used in the construction of this hilltop village are stunning.


No other village looks so warm and rich because its hues come from at least 17 shades of ocher discovered in and around the village, notably in the dramatic quarries. We took a 50 minute hike to experience the breathtaking cliffs, panoramas and formations.

We loved this town and found photogenic Roussillon required some serious camera and café time to take it all in.

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