If you enjoyed Ridley Scott’s “A Good Year,” with Academy winner Russell Crowe, or if you are as obsessed as I am with all of Peter Mayle’s books, you must absolutely plan a trip in the south east of France, particularly in the Luberon. Lucky French employees. My Fidanzato and I have a more than 9 weeks of vacations a year and we spend a week in the South East, visiting friends who were smart enough to retire at the ripe age of 35. Some of them invited us this time to see their newly renovated lofts on the Vieux Port of Marseilles. I did not take any pictures of Marseilles as I believe the city will be much prettier and photogenic next year, once the scaffolds are removed. In company of our lovely friends, we toured the many villages near Marseilles. In no particular order, below are some shots of different villages in the Luberon.
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is the famous “village des antiquaires”, a fairy tale village in the Sorgue river with 14 watermills. It is claimed there were about 70 of them in the 19th century. The village is mostly known for its Antique shops, so be prepared to treasure hunt. I did not buy anything there but I was really tempted by a precious authentic tea set for dolls beyond my current means. Next time I will go to Isle-sur-la-Sorgue with more disposable income. The pictures below were taken in the star Luberon village, Gordes. Gordes is a major tourist attraction and it is not hard to see why. Gordes is exactly what we imagine Luberon to be.
In a Good Year, Marion Cotillard’s character, Fanny Chenal, owns a bistrot located in Gordes. A few kilometers later, there is Avignon, the City of Popes. Avignon is very exciting during the festival season where there are between 35 and 40 staged shows.
Our trip to Avignon is to be remembered as France’s President, François Hollande, who came to see us JUST to pose with our friends’ beautiful baby. Anyway, we left our friends in Marseilles and went to Bandol. Bandol is really famous for its rosé wine. Bandol proved to be a disappointment. It looked like any Costa Brava city. But be sure to visit Le Castellet. It is a remarkable well preserved medieval village with cobbled streets and lots of shops.
We stayed a few days in Bandol but to be fair, I would not recommend this town unless you are going for a day trip to Ricard’s island, the Ile de Bendor. It is a little too touristy for my taste, but a perfect place to go with children.
To end this perfect week, we went for a few days to Porquerolles. Porquerolles is the largest of the îles d’Hyères and it is a preserved gem, a nature conservation area. It is a great place to build healthy habits such as commuting on bikes and walking.
Off to a second circuit, this time in eastern part of South East France (see post).