Bonjour! Pronounced [bawn–zhoor] and translated “good day”, is such a pleasant greeting, ringing out from just about everyone here in Provence: shopkeepers, waiters/waitresses, school children, teenagers, old and young alike. It has a lilt to it, with the accent and pitch going up a bit on the second syllable and we’re working hard to imitate it…
Yes, The Café is posting from the Provence region of France this week. If you read our last post, you’re aware that Scott and I have been visiting our family in London and recently shared a post on everyday life there called London Life.
When possible, we love to take a little side adventure when we go to London. Last spring, it was Paris, this time we chose Provence as our destination. Neither of us have had the opportunity to explore this beautiful area of southern France, and since it’s just two hours by air from London, we figured it would be an easy trip.
Nothing’s quite as easy as it seems though, is it? We flew into the Mediterranean port of Marseille yesterday and rented a car. Scott’s a brave soul and volunteered to be the designated driver while I co-piloted. It was a scary way to start our experience because, although the French drive on the right side of the road, we’re not fluent in the language so the road signs might as well have been in Greek! Plus it was a raining, which made the unfamiliar signs and the correct exits even more difficult to interpret. Then there were the toll stations. Which lane are we supposed to be in? How do we pay? How much? Do they take credit cards? Are they going to arrest us cause we can’t figure this out? Someone’s beeping behind us! Yikes!
When we finally arrived our destination, (about 30 round-a-bouts later, no exaggeration), the charming city of Apt, France we gave each other a big high five. That’s when we noticed each of us had a few extra gray hair!
The skies were bright blue and crystal clear today, so it was a great day to get out. I thought it would be fun to share a few pictures of our first twenty-four hours here. Apt is a Provencal market town perched right on the edge of the Luberon mountains. It dates back to Roman times, so it looks like something out of a movie scene. The old walled village in the center of the city is beyond charming, with long, narrow streets winding between the shops and houses. There are interesting little nooks and passageways everywhere waiting for discovery and we that’s exactly how we spent the day!
We were thrilled to discover, quite by accident, that’s there’s a 25 mile rails-to-trails (meaning an old railroad track that’s been paved) bike path within minutes of our flat here in Apt. We also found a bike shop and are now the proud renters of two eighteen-speed bicycles for the next week. A short ride today into the countryside blew us away with the brilliant fall beauty. We’re excited to explore some of the nearby Provencal villages by bike over this next week.
Tomorrow we head north to Vaison la Romaine (another area of Provence) for a culinary adventure. Scott will have his camera in tow so we can blog about it next week. There’s something really exciting in it for you too, so be sure to check back!
P.S. We rented a wonderful flat here in Apt. It’s old (in a charming way), and quintessential Provencal. Below is a sneak peak, but we’ll post more coming up. It might look fancy, but we really don’t have a huge budget when we travel. The post will include ways we’ve found to make a trip like this decently economical!
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