I have to say I have really, really enjoyed sharing my Provence travels with you all, it's been a pleasure. I love the whole process of writing blog posts like these. I love taking a heap load of colourful images, then stringing together memories, thoughts and emotions with a sprinkling of descriptive writing to produce an inspiring record of life. My week in Provence was just a teeny tiny small slice of my life, just a mere fraction, yet it felt so important to capture and record as much of it as I could. I find that the act of putting words together with pictures is a very therapeutic thing to do, and quite simply I LoVe to do it. And then when I share it with you too, well, it somehow intensifies it and makes it all the more special.
After six lengthy rambling posts, I haven't really got a huge amount left to say about my week in Provence. But there remained a niggling feeling that I hadn't quite finished putting all my thoughts in place.
One of the things I have most missed since coming home is the sunshine. Oh the delicious warmth of the Provence sunshine is such a beautiful memory! I just adored the feeling of spending all day outdoors, returning home in the late afternoon feeling sun-warmed right through to my bones, and I miss it. It doesn't happen often enough in my part of the world, we are sadly very short of hot days even in our summer months. To be in the south of France in October experiencing a week of true warmth was such a luxury.
Looking back on my blog posts, I realise that a lot of what I have recorded is to do with my visual experience of Provence. Because I am an extremely visual person and am constantly tuned in to the colours, patterns and light in my surroundings, I guess this is what inspires me the most and makes up my the majority of my memories. The landscape, the buildings, the market, the villages, the food, the weather, the sun and the stars. But there is another element to the week I spent in France, and that is the people.
It was a really special morning. It was lovely to meet people who are so passionate about their vocation and who demonstrate such talent. Sylvie's spinning was absolutely mesmerising, and although she made it look easy, I know for sure it is nothing of the sort.
Her yarns and textile pieces were very beautiful, and well, they were just really lovely, warm, friendly people.
It made me realise how great it was being in France with Provence Temptations, because it enabled us to have a very lovely and personal insight into French life. Away from the tourist trail, and into the lives of some lovely French people.....
....this amazing house and garden belongs to a beautiful French family, friends of Petah who runs Provence Temptations. We were invited here for lunch on the last day of the tour, and it turned out to be one of the highlights of the whole week. The house and garden were absolutely stunning, as was the weather, gosh, it was seriously hot on this afternoon! We were instantly made to feel welcome here, invited to sit, chat, drink an aperitif, nibble on some delicious appetisers while we waited for lunch to cook.
Lunch (lamb chops) was expertly cooked on the outdoor barbecue, and the six course meal (six!) with various accompanying wines was really incredible. I wish you could've heard the noise though. It looks so peaceful and serene in these pictures, but honestly, lunch was a very lengthy and loud affair. SO much laughter around this table! So many jokes, anecdotes and lively spirit! It was a truly wonderful experience, made even more memorable by the generosity and warmth of our hosts.
After coffee and the most beautiful, pastel coloured macarons (why didn't I photograph them? they were exquisite), we were invited to try a pomegranate from the tree right beside where we were seated. For us English people, the sight of these rather exotic fruits actually growing on a tree is really amazing. Unreal almost. We are used to apples and pears here, but sun ripened pomegranates, well what a luxury!
Here I am look, smiling at the thought of all that luscious wine maturing nicely inside these oak barrels! We were lucky enough to enjoy a visit to Chateaux Pesquie, a large vineyard and winery on the edge of the village where we stayed. I didn't think I would enjoy this tour as much as I did, it was really interesting to learn about the whole wine making process from the grape vine to the bottle. And of course we got to taste some very top notch wines, as well as some delicious local olive oil.
This is Petah and I one morning, supping coffee and eating the most delicious honey cake. I really, really liked Petah. As she lives in Australia, it was not possible for us to meet before the tour took place, although we did email a lot and chat on the phone. But as soon as we met, I already felt like I knew her and I also knew instinctively that we would be good friends.
She and I are the same age, she is a Mum to two children who are older than my brood, and we share a love of the outdoors, the landscape, the beauty in our surroundings, and of course the yarn thing. Petah is a fantastic knitter and hooker. Every time I saw her wearing her hand knitted socks in the evenings when we were relaxing back at the villa I wanted to steal them from her, they were so beautiful. But what I like most about Petah is her absolute love of life. She has so much energy, so much joy for living and getting the most out of life. And she is most definitely a People-person. I am quite a quiet soul really, in real life I am happy pootling about by myself and am very happy within my own little colourful bubble. But Petah, well, she seems happiest when she is surrounded by good people and lots of chatter and laughter. And boy, did we laugh! It was a very happy, fun filled week, full to the brim with lovely people, good things and happy times.
I have come home from Provence full of gratitude. Grateful to my gorgeous husband for encouraging me to take time out from my family and go Have Fun. Grateful to Petah for offering me the chance to go to a place I have always dreamed about. And I am grateful to you all for stopping by the Attic each day to read about my scatty, colourful life. Thank you. Very, very much ♥
ps Provence Temptations is a fledgling tour company with great heart and soul. Petah is knowledgeable and passionate about this area of Provence and the people who live there which really comes across in the creative way she plans the itineraries. Her unique insight comes from the year she spent living there with her husband and two children, and she shares this experience with great enthusiasm and zest....her love of all things Provençal is infectious!