Visiting France

Bonjour! Its been a while.

Im now officially done with my Masters, phew. I still dont think its settled in. For a while there (i.e. this winter in the midst of moving to England, etc..) I wasnt sure Id finish. Im so glad I did it, and have some ideas for the future, but for now Im enjoying summer in England and just being a mom. I started my program in August, a month before giving birth so this summer has included the first months Ive tasted of no work and no school and just being a mama. Its an adjustment, but a good one:)

Weve been home from Provence for over a month, but I still wanted to share a bit about our trip, with pictures of course. Was planning on coming to visit, so we decided to also visit Provence. Id dreamt of the food, markets, hills and lavender ever since reading Julia Childs My Life in France. We lucked out with the weather-no mistral wind, and it was hot. Summertime hot, apparently, even though we were there end of May, beginning of June.

We first flew in and stopped for olive oil near Les Baux at Moulin Castelas. I bought their traditional olive oil, a mint+basil, and a lemon one. All in aluminum for easy transport. No pictures, unfortunately.

This is the ruins of the chateau Le Baux. It was pretty amazing to see, all carved out of the rocks.

We then drove to Pont du Gard, an ancient roman aqueduct which unfortunately we lost all of the pictures from. But it was beautiful, and refreshing to dip in the river to stare up at the huge aqueduct that was built a very long time ago.

We then headed up into the Luberon hill towns, where we spent our first part of the trip just outside of Gordes. It was a lovely place to stay with a salt pool, amazing restaurant and a poolside breakfast included. Also right in the middle of the best hill towns.

We only really visited Gordes and went to the weekly market in Lourmarin. But when I go back, I want to make sure to see Roussillon and L Isle Sur La Sorgue. Lourmarin was a picturesque village with cute cobbled streets and outdoor dining under umbrellas and amazing food and finds at the market. Market baskets, cheeses of every stinky, melty and ashy variety, nougat, produce, soaps, lavender products, clothing, breads, textiles, olives, provencal herbs and spices. Too many market stalls to see everything in our ticking toddler time bomb.

Heres dinner the first night- a white fish with provencal herbs +olives.

and dessert! A pear crumble thing with a liquor you pour on top.

The next morning we woke up to head to the market in Lourmarin, a pretty (and windy!) drive through poppy fields and hills.

Just eating strawberries on the medieval steps in Gordesbest 4 euro ever spent.

After a stop at the Abbaye de Sénanque, still occupied by a community of Cistercian monks, and where lavender was within a few weeks of blooming (sadly), we heading north to the Cotes du Rhone wine region. With the dentelles in the background and Mt. Ventoux.

The Dentelles range in the background, very windy road in the foreground.

Next we stopped by the on our way up north to the Cote du rhone wine region (also home of Mt. Ventoux, tour de france anyone?) This is the medieval city of Vaison la Romaine, where we stayed in the upper city, high up on a hill through past steep cobble stones and under ancient tunnels we found our B+B.

View into the vineyards from the top of Gigondas. Home of some of the best reds from the area.

It was hot. One afternoon we drove into the Canyon du Verdon to cool off.

Then to the beach. We had to step foot on the Mediterranean (I had never seen it before). We chose to stay in Cassis at a lovely B+B right up the hill from the old port. While definitely a sunny holiday destination, Cassis still felt charming and is an active fishing port. Also home to the Calanques, fjords jutting right into the medierranean. We hiked to explore the beaches at a few of them and play in the sand.