“So what is your favorite thing about Provence?” we were asked the other day by a former guest and participant, as we all sat around, sipping champagne, reminiscing and planning for our next trip.
Meg didn’t hesitate. “Cassis! I just love the little village, the port, the shops, the boat ride to the Calanques, and Le Grand Bleu is probably my favorite restaurant in Provence. They’re so friendly, the service is wonderful, the location is ideal and the wine is to die for. And then of course we get to dip our toes in the Mediterranean. A perfect day!”
Not to be outdone by Meg’s enthusiasm, Ann jumped right in: “The Gordes Reward. I love getting up early, dressing for a little workout, and hiking in to Gordes knowing that although the scenery is pretty along the way, the real tada is when you round that final corner and hear the collective gasp from everyone on the trip, including those who have done it a million times before, and see the spectacular village of Gordes rising up from the valley. There’s nothing like it! And of course the real reward is the market and fabulous lunch that comes after.”
Linda? “Well I have to say it’s St. Remy. Starting with the drive along the iconic plane covered road, followed by the best market of all, on Wednesdays, and then the gorgeous drive by Les Beaux, the obligatory photo op, and the divine three hour lunch at the Bistrot du Paradou . OMD the eggplant! The lapin (we’ll keep that word in French)! The cheese tray! The desserts! The wine! Oh, and yes, the waiters (collective chuckle) aren’t bad either (uh-huh!).”
What about you Sarah,? As the newest member of the team to go on a trip, Sarah is a little more reflective in her answer. “I can’t really pick just one place or one thing,” she starts. “For me, it’s all about the beauty around every corner, whether it’s a village in the distance, or the ancient architecture or the flowers in the fields or an unexpected sculpture on top of a mountain or the vines reflecting the sun in the vineyards. It’s the beauty of the land and the way we celebrate the fruits of this beauty with every delicious meal and sip of fresh wine.” Oooh, well put, Sarah!
“And what about you?” we ask our sweet guest, forgetting that her suitcases weighed 3 tons on her return trip to the U.S. “Well I loved everything you talked about but,” and here there’s a little pause and a big chuckle, “my favorite thing to do is Show and Tell night.” (Oh yes, she is a big shopper! ) We do Show and Tell on the last night when everyone takes all their purchases out of their bags and displays them beautifully in their rooms and we parade around from room to room, oohing and aahing and admiring the gorgeous goodies that some of us somehow managed not to buy and wished we had. “That’s right! And you did such a great job merchandising, we offered you a job at the store!”
Yes, we all like that too. Which leads us to another collective favorite: Dinners at home in the evening. That’s when we all get to relax and enjoy a long, leisurely meal, overlooking the sunset and washed down by fresh wine from the vineyard and sometimes followed by the most interesting diversions that have included splashes in the pool, dancing on the terrace, overzealous dishwashing, bursts of French fluency and many more things that will never get talked about because what happens at Les Murets stays at Les Murets!
I guess you’ll just have to come see for yourselves and then tell us what your favorite thing is about Provence!
Ta ta …