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




Warwick drivers urged to take ownership

JOINING FORCES: Crime prevention officer Senior Constable Kirsty Moore with volunteer in policing Keith Ritchie and police liaison officer Mandy Bahr set up for Queensland Road Safety Week.

Community joins forces for better road safety

Warwick volunteers help hope to bloom

DAFFODIL DELIGHTS: Warwick State High School students Jacob Meiklejohn and Brodie Kaarsberg join acting principal John Lofthouse celebrating Daffodil Day.

Fresh flowers bloom hope on Daffodil Day

Milestone performance for Robert Channon Wines

MUSICAL EXPERIENCE: Camerata will be helping Robert Channon Wines celebrate their 100th performance at the winery.

Robert Channon Wines will host their 100th performance this weekend

Latest deals and offers

Kanye West gets 'free reign' at VMAs

Kanye West has been let off the leash for the VMAs

Robbie Williams sings at manager's funeral

Robbie Williams and Lamar sang at the funeral of their manager

Twice as much Troy will please country music lovers

CATCH HIM WHILE YOU CAN: Singer Troy Cassar-Daley plans to take some time off to spend with family next year.

TROY Cassar-Daley is releasing a new album and book.

Courtney Stodden gets Reborn Doll

Courtney Stodden is trying to get over her recent miscarriage

Kate McKinnon 'destitute' before SNL

Kate McKinnon says she can't do anything but act

FBI investigating Leslie Jones website hack

The FBI are investigating Leslie Jones' personal website hack

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Noosa mayor on "red alert" over planning court decision

Mayor Tony Wellington hands down his first budget.

Mayor upset at lack of say about look and feel of Noosa