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A Week In Provence

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A Week In Provence

Provence, Travel Blog, France

SmallWe arrived at La Provençale after a few altercations with the sat nav on a late Saturday afternoon in mid-May. Luckily, after finding ourselves in Bonnieux, we were able to use the excellent directions provided to take us the last kilometre to what was to be our home for the week.

The very first thing we noticed when we arrived (apart from the beautiful pool, abundance of lavender and newly gravelled driveway) was the total peace and quiet which surrounded us. We sat around the pool and soaked in the last heat of the day before we unloaded the car and unpacked. It had been a long day. We had decided to fly into Nice and drive down to Antibes on arrival to enjoy lunch by the sea, then we visited a few of my husband's old haunts from his time working in this lovely part of the world before heading up to Bonnieux. The journey was just over a couple of hours and not a huge chore. The motorways were easy and the views to either side incredibly impressive. We could tell as soon as we were entering the Provençale countryside because of the rows of olive and wine groves that stretched out either side of the road and the beautiful cool stone buildings with their tell-tale blue shutters.

But back to the peace and quiet of La Provençale… it's rare in this day and age that you can sit in almost deafening silence with nothing to interrupt your thoughts apart from the birds chatting away, the leaves of the trees blowing in the breeze and the bees buzzing around the scented lavender. As soon as the gates to the villa were closed it really did feel like we were in our own piece of paradise. The gateProvence, Travel Blog, Frances to the villa weren't to open for another 26 hours when we ventured into Bonnieux on Sunday evening. Saturday evening was spent barbecuing and relaxing with the peace and quiet only briefly interrupted by live football commentary (that will teach me to book a holiday for FA Cup final weekend - for our American friends reading this, its importance on the British sporting calendar is almost comparable to the Super Bowl!). After a great night's sleep Sunday was spent relaxing by the pool, the beautiful pool area is completely private (as is the whole house) and surrounded by tall trees. Lavender is generously planted around the whole area leaving you in no doubt that you are in Provence. We enjoyed a traditionally French breakfast of coffee and croissants at the dining table by the pool, there is a further seating area and very comfortable sun loungers giving us plenty of poolside options.  A second dining table sits at the back of the house under grape vines and overlooks a spectacular view of the countryside and mountains in the distance....still we heard nothing. As lunchtime came around we tucked into a salad and enjoyed a few treats from the welcome hamper that had been generously provided with a glass of local wine, which was well worth a taste.

luxury-villa-provence-la-provencale-display005The house, as with the grounds, is very Provençale and very homely which made us feel relaxed from the moment we arrived. A country kitchen and dining area offers every amenity from a Nespresso coffee machine to a dishwasher, but none of it stands out or ruins the typically French feel this holiday home has. The cool stone floors were both practical and welcoming and the distressed furniture and minimalist decor was just perfect. The crisp, white bed linen and comfortable beds were just what we needed after a long day travelling and the L'Occitane toiletries felt very in keeping with our surroundings - more bursts of lavender at shower time!

We decided that Monday morning was market time. In this region of France there's pretty much a market every day somewhere. Every Sunday morning reputedly one of the best markets is held at L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, selling everything from cheeses to antiques. Due to our laziness we'd missed it (luckily in the peak summer months daily markets are held here) so as Monday loomed we found our motivation and headed to Cadenet, a market which was historically famous for its production of baskets! My husband was more excited at the news that the village had no less than three bakeries; he did manage to sniff out each one.

Throughout the week we continued to hop from market to market, picking up fresh produce as we went. We particularly liked Gordes and, whilst small, Lacoste was a beautiful little village to stroll through. All of the hilltop villages (as you would expect) are hilly so it helps to be physically fit (and not almost seven months pregnant as I was!) to fully explore. In Bonnieux, Gordes and Lauris you can handily rent electric bikes from Sun e bike rentals, so for those wanting to enjoy the great outdoors and save their legs this is a great option…just make sure you pedal hard on the downhill!

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Provence, Travel Blog, France


 

 

 


We spent the day in Avignon which was easily accessible from the villa. Amongst other things we enjoyed a lovely lunch, explored the Palais des Papes and its beautiful gardens and enjoyed a little shopping spree – that part was mostly enjoyed by me. Bonnieux itself has plenty of restaurant options to choose from, we enjoyed fresh croissants and pain au chocolat daily from the local bakery (thanks to my husband willingly trotting into town each morning) and dined out most evenings. Restaurants catered for every taste; whether that was Michelin star dining or a quick pizza (a nice spot at Les Terrasses ensures fabulous views over the Provençale countryside).

All in all we couldn't have picked a better location to enjoy our last child free holiday, I treasured every single bit of that peace and quiet as it'll be a long time before I can enjoy such deafening silence again I'm sure!

Interested in staying in Bonnieux or at La Provencale? See our selection of properties below. Speak to a Travel Consultant on 0845 618 2205 or complete an online enquiry form.


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