Travel

No summertime blues

This is the good life in Provence.
This is the good life in Provence.

SUMMER in Provence is about colour and movement at the markets, music festivals and dancing in the streets, picnics and parties in gardens and restaurants, sunflower and lavender fields, and endless green vineyards.

We've spent many summers in Provence, and this year discovered Mas du Marechal, a refurbished 18th century stone house in the village of Vers Pont du Gard within walking distance of the Pont du Gard, the 2000-year-old Roman aqueduct. Mas de Marechal is the perfect base to discover all of Provence.

A 10-minute drive takes you to Uzes, the last Duchy of France, where hundreds of stalls are set up in the Place aux Herbs on Saturdays with stall holders selling everything from glistening olives in wicker baskets to pottery, clothing, and, always...an endless variety of sausages, pates, terrines and cheeses.

Within an hour's drive of Vers Pont du Gard are all the Provencal icons including the hilltop villages of Bonnieux and Menerbes that Peter Mayle wrote so charmingly about in A Year in Provence.

Arles, with its stunning Roman amphitheatre is just a 45-minute drive away.

Les Baux des Provence, France's most prestigious medieval site, is just a half an hour away.

Perched on top of a rocky outcrop, it offers breathtaking views of olive groves and vineyards to the horizon.

Below Les Baux in an old dis-used bauxite quarry is Carrieres de Lumieres, a spectacular showing of giant images of famous art works beamed on the lofty quarry walls accompanied by dramatic music.

This year the show features works of Gauguin and Van Gogh.

Avignon is just a 30-minute drive away and is the walled city most known for the Palais des Papes, the grand building that was the power base of Christianity after the popes moved there from Rome in 1309.

Roussillon with its red ochre hills and charming village is an hour away and attracts artists from everywhere to sit and paint in its extraordinary light.

We toured all these places each day and then fell back into the comfort of Mas du Marachel, grateful for its wall-garden and pool.

Fully restored by keeping original features of the 18th century property, it is beautifully decorated and all of the five spacious bedrooms have their own modern bathrooms.

The Mas de Marachel.
The Mas de Marachel.

We loved the sense of village community that came with the mas.

A stroll to the patisserie each morning put us in a Provence mood. It mattered not that the owner spoke no English and our French was dismal.

We bought our baguettes and croissants easily with a merry "bonjour" and then an "au revoir".

Buying wine from the village wine cave was also conducted with plenty of miming and jovial exchanges.

You take your container and watch while the proprietor fills it up from a small vat with a pump.

The one cafe in Vers Pont du Gard presents a 'plat du jour' (dish of the day) and it quickly became a favourite.

In a tiny square surrounded by handsome stone buildings we dined extravagantly on freshly prepared meals of local produce, with wine (of course), followed by coffee and a surprise treat, all for 8.50 euros.

 

>> To read more travel stories

Gympie Times

Topics:  destinations, france, travel




You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Don’t give up the fight

HERE TO PROTECT: Sgt Gavin Mclucas explains police officers are there to protect DV victims.

Police can assist in lodging dvo

GALLERY: Saturday at Jumpers and Jazz

Yolanda See and her maltese cross chihuahua Abby are from the Gold Coast. Yolanda has been coming to Jumpers and Jazz since 2011.

Did we take your photo at Jumpers and Jazz? Find it below

Latest deals and offers


Get out this weekend on a budget

Tree jumper artwork

Here is your go to guide for getting out this weekend on a budget

Superheroes of the big screen enjoy sounds of Splendour

CHRIS Hemsworth and his Avengers mates drop by Byron festival.

Indigenous artist shows tourists secrets of Aboriginal painting

Ever thought "I could do that" about Aboriginal art?

Dynamic pics from Splendour Day 1

The Strokes perform at Splendour in the Grass 2016. Photo Marc Stapelberg / The Northern Star

Check out the latest pictures from Splendour in the Grass.

Bindi Irwin: 18 magic photos to mark her 18th birthday

Bindi Irwin with a python.

Photos: Bindi Irwin from babyhood to 18

Aussie director makes his mark on new Roots mini-series

Malachi Kirby as Kunta Kinte in a scene from the TV series Roots.

BRUCE Beresford behind final episode of remake of iconic series.

Wham bam, thank you TAM

Regional TAM is increasing its audience measurement services by 50%.

Regional television viewers finally getting the credit we deserve

You can own this Queensland town for just $1

Yelarbon

Unprecedented auction of town's business centre with no reserve

Work starts on $15M Caloundra apartment building

Turning the first sod at the Aqua View Apartments site in Kings Beach are (from left) husband-and-wife developers Alex Yuan and Stella Sun with construction company Tomkins director Mike Tomkins and Councillor Tim Dwyer.

Developers excited about addition to Kings Beach skyline

72-year-old Coast developer set to start new project

GREEN LIGHT: The Cosmopolitan has been approved for development at Cotton Tree.

Meet the Canberran set to deliver another chapter for Coast suburb

Plans revealed for 1500-lot 'master-planned community'

Precinct will be bounded by Boundary St and Shoesmith Rd

Ecco Ripley sales run sparks prime release

MOVING IN: Sekisui House has announced the release of more residential blocks at Ecco Ripley.

Sekisui House is preparing to unveil more land at Ecco Ripley

The climb is slow but property on the way up

Michael Matusik, director of Matusik Property Insights.Photo Allan Reinikka / The Morning Bulletin

The improvement would be mild when compared to past cycles