I’m involved in somewhat of an unhealthy love affair, with the South of France. It’s constantly on my mind, and etched in my heart. I feel as though maybe, just maybe I lived there in a previous life. And hopefully, someday in this current life.
Exactly one year ago today, we were in transit to Provence from Paris (another place where I am convinced I once called home). The moment we started winding through the rural countryside, in search of our B&B, I knew Peter Mayle and his tales of the Luberon, were not embellished one bit. The fabled sun and mythical light, for which the likes of Picasso and Van Gogh used as a constant muse, did not disappoint in the least. I was smitten. BIG time.
On our way to explore the perched villages of Gordes, Roussillon, Ménerbes and Lacoste, we stopped alongside a small side road to snap a few requisite photos. We were met by a smallish, orange colored French minivan, that apparently, had the same idea we did. Or so we thought, anyways. “Bonjour”, said the driver, holding a glass of wine in his hand, instead of a camera around his neck, as we had expected. The next thing we knew, he was conducting an impromptu wine tasting for us as he just happened to have a few bottles with him from his vineyard. He’d pulled over simply to take in the view. My love was growing by the minute for a land where its people serve up local wine, roadside, to complete strangers!
Though we had just missed the infamous Sunday market day in L’Isle Sur La Sorgue, I knew the Wednesday open-air market day in Saint Rémy was just around the corner. I could not wait. Ohhh, I could not wait!
The day arrived, and oh my. You could immediately sense that this was not just a standard market day – this was a way of life. The energy, vibrancy, and humor of the local people, farmers and artisans was infectious. It felt as if everyone was there for a huge celebration of the new harvest – only this jubilee took place every single week for its lucky guests.
Endless rows of colorful market stalls. Endless bounties of sun kissed fruit, French black and green olives, deep colored spices, herbs, lavender honey and dried fruits. Local jambon, goat cheeses and 20 different kinds of pâté. Delicious, delectable smells at every turn. My mind was running wild – scheming how I was going to get all my illegal goods through Customs.
The mood was so festive, so happy, so incredibly alive. A crescendo of non-stop activity set within a backdrop of a 16th century village basking in sunshine. I could get used to this. I could really get used to this.
So my love affair continues…someday soon, my previous life will catch up with my current one.