How to make Provence even more unforgettable
There is a point, usually about a week’s time for me, when you’re not quite sure what the date is, even less what time of the day it is. When that happens, you decide you don’t care. You decide it should always be like that. It happens every time but somehow, every Summer holiday, it’s like a revelation, an awakening.
That’s also when you decide you have to do something about it. Do something that will rehabilitate you into a respectable tourist and ‘do something a bit cultural’. So you walk down to the local tourist office to pick up some brochures. Surely, there must be chapel, a cave, a roman ruin, a picturesque walk not to be missed. Perhaps even all of them neatly packed into a three-hour hike with a gourmet interval at a hill-top village?
The hilltop village of Gourdon near Châteauneuf de Grasse
I offer no scoop when I tell you that Provence is full of such unmissable excursions. The French are exceedingly keen hikers and very well-prepared ones too. Unfortunately, or perhaps I suspect deliberately, very few of their amazing walking and hiking guide books are translated into other languages.
Fit hikers may even want to skip the whole beach thing and make a sporty holiday of their visit to France by following long distance footpaths and staying in local inns and cabins for the night. You can research and plan your excursion on this site. It certainly doesn’t look very convincing but I can promise you it is as thorough as it gets when it comes to which trail you should follow: http://goo.gl/OxUKfF
If you speak and read French or have some knowledge of it, I do recommend you download some of the Institut Géographique National's (IGN) maps. Here is an example: http://goo.gl/xIiils
Nothing beats feeling like a local and taking a little time off the exclusive pools, fashionable ’50 euros per mattress’ beaches and fancy fish restaurants will almost guarantee you unforgettable moments.
A lovely two hour walk in the Loup valley
Some years ago, during a stay at my friends’ divine place in Châteauneuf de Grasse, we went on such a day trip from the village and up into the Loup valley.
It only took minutes walking in the valley to catch breathtaking views of the medieval village of Gourdon and about an hour later we were like children, giggling at the fairytale sight of rainbows dancing through the Courmes waterfall.
The Courmes waterfalls in the Gorges du Loup
If this wasn’t enough, we were invited by my host to settle down for a bite to eat outisde a seemingly abandonned old stone house deep into the valley. No one had brought any food and we looked at each other in wonder. Then the main door creaked opened and an old man came out with bottles of cool wine, saucisson and fresh baguette. More giggles and screams of joy.
And then it happened: the old man brought out a hundred year-old gramophone, put it carefully on a chair, went back in returning with a record.
That is when, frozen in the moment, I heard Caruso singing Donizetti in the middle of a narrow Provençal valley. The man had shared with us the magic of the first ever recording of the Italian tenor back in 1909.
Introducing our OPIO Egyptian Cotton collection.
Inspired by the breathtakingly gorgeous village of Opio in Provence. Can never get tired of a simple yet ultra chic hemstitch threadwork.
Opio har sitt navn og inspirasjon fra sted med samme navn i Provence. Like uprentensiøst, men vakkert er også sengesettet med sin enkle "hemstitch" rundt oxford putetrekket. Som alt vårt sengetøy er også Opio håndverksmessig sydd ekslusivt for oss i Portugal i vårt ultramyke egyptiske bomull sateng.