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From Rosy to Pale in the South of France

From Rosy to Pale in the South of France

Sunday, August 18, 2013 
Provençal Villages, France

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After our colorful morning in Roussillon, we’re surrounded by the stark contrast of pale, pale stone in the village of Ménerbes. The use of local materials determines the hue of the buildings…  as does the pale golden stone used in our beloved Aix en Provence or the Cotswolds, the brick of Siena, or the pietra serena (a gray stone) in Florence. I love how the construction is so linked to the earth in each place – it adds depth to the beauty.
A playful weather forecast is chalked outside a boutique: Sun – alot!, Wind and clouds – once in a while, Rain – rarely, Snow- are you kidding? True to form it’s a bright sunny day, and we find a shaded table for lunch at Café Veranda.
The melons from nearby Cavaillon are luscious – we’ve been enjoying them all week at home in Aix, and have to have just ONE more before we head back to the States tomorrow.

Ménerbes has been compared to a ship above the vineyards, and we walk the gentle slope up,

noting the touches of color in shutters and flowers,

to the top, crowned by a lacey belltower.

At the end of town, the rounded “bow” of the ship, is a museum and café with a table full of diners out in the beautiful courtyard overlooking the vines far below.

A quirky sculpture surveys the vines on one side,

and on the other arched stone lookouts shelter a vista of fertile fields.


One more Luberon stop before we head for the coast – the evocative ruins of Oppéde le Vieux, slowly being brought back to life after destruction in religious wars centuries ago.
It’s been decades since we were here, and although there are a few more signs of life than then, it’s still a peaceful and somewhat eerie place above this square, with tumbled stones all that’s left in many places.
We hike up to the lower church, then back down to relax in the square with an ice cream.
What better way to complete a summer sojourn in the south of France than dinner by the Mediterranean?

We find a table-with-a-view in the lively town of Sausset-les-Pins and say goodbye…. we’ll be back as soon as possible!