South of France
Yesterday we went south to the Mediterranean, today we head north to the lush Luberon area of Provence. A couple of years ago when Cassidy and Connor were with us in Virginia we watched A Good Year, so we thought it’d be fun to show her the unique village of Cucuron, with the big basin that featured in a memorable scene of the movie. As we approach we notice a lot of people with full baskets and bags walking towards us – it must be market day! Yes – an array of stalls surround the iconic basin and there’s quite a buzz as locals and tourists browse the stalls, pause for a cup of coffee, and catch up on the latest gossip.
There must be quite an abundance of water here – we notice no fewer than three open-air laundry shelters as we walk through the town. Passing an elegant clock/bell tower, we hike up to the church, telling Cassidy the tale of how we happened upon the annual May Tree celebration years ago, as the men of the town maneuvered a huge tree trunk up to the church, then set it up for the prettily garbed girls to dance around. We take in the vista from the top of town, then make our way back down to the market square and enjoy lunch by the basin. Next stop, lovely Lourmarin, where we stop by L’Apothecaire de Lourmarin – Pablo, the owner, found Kirk on Facebook through a post of a mutual friend. It’s always fun to meet social media acquaintances in person, and we certainly like his new addition to the boutiques of Lourmarin – a treasure chest of enticing things! Cassidy comes away with a couple of bracelets, and Pablo gives both of us his “it bags” – shopping bags with his logo.
We peek at charming lanes, point out the chateau and the unusual fountain, Cassidy tags it the barfing fountain 😉 and stop by Villa Saint Louis, a delightful shabby-chic B & B, where the garden is as inviting as we remember…On our first Music and Markets Tour, in 2003, we picnicked with our group by this very basin.
Then we breeze through Bonnieux, stopping just to take in the view across the valley to Lacoste, pause at Pont Julien, a Roman bridge, and pull off the road to walk among the vines, admiring the grapes nearly ready for harvest. If you’ve been reading our blog or following us on Facebook, you know we never miss a chance to stop in colorful Roussillon! Kirk drops us off and continues searching for a parking place while we walk through the village. Parking has been more of a challenge than we recall. Yes, the south of France is an ever-popular destination, and the highways and trains are jam-packed with French families heading south each August, but it’s never been this crowded since we’ve been coming. Kirk drove nearly to the next village and couldn’t find a spot!
Cassidy blends right in to the ochre colored beauty!
A day full of beauty – in all shades!