Provence – Book, TV Series, Reality

Villages are dressed in rainbows of color

Before our first trip to Provence, we were well immersed in the culture, beauty and idiosyncrasies of the area.  We had indulged ourselves with several viewings of the delightful video set of Peter Mayle’s, A Year in Provence.

A British advertising executive, Peter, his wife and two dogs, followed their dream with the purchase of a ‘mas’ or farmhouse in the heart of the Lubéron in Provence.   First, in Mayle’s book, and later in the broadcasts, the story of Provençal life flows.  His profiles of French gestures and shrugs, the rhythms of the village, the onset of the mistral winds and the ever-unreliable schedule of workers for his home re-do leave a witty trail of entertaining vignettes.   Naturally, we have the book also and agree with the late Julia Child’s comment, “I really love this book.”

With all of our pent-up anticipation, imagine how much more we enjoyed the reality of Provence.  We loved the quiet side by lazy streams and along spiraling mountain roads.  The sight and aroma of flowing fields of lavender were breathtaking.  We took in the view of the Lubéron from the hilltop village of Gordes, and walked the narrow cobblestone streets reserved for pedestrians.

Les Baux de Provence – © ATOUT FRANCE/Franck Charel

One memorable detour took us to the lovely little village of Tourtour.   We wandered about, until we settled at a terraced café with panoramic views of the countryside.  “What is the tinkling of bells we keep hearing?”  We looked over the stone wall, enclosing the terrace to see several lambs grazing on a little plot below.  A very nice moment, indeed.

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