Sunday, April 8, 2012

A breath of fresh Provençal air

After a loooong day of driving to Provence, we awoke on Saturday morning eager to explore the town where we are staying, Saint Rémy de Provence. First, let me say that we are staying at an absoulutely charming bed and breakfast called La Mas de la Menouille, and the owner Michelle is so sweet and wonderful. She makes us a yummy breakfast of hot chocolate, coffee, juice, assorted breads and homemade jams and jellies every morning for breakfast. We love it!

On Saturday, we walked into St. Rémy and fell head over heels for this little town. It is so small that you can actually drive the loop around "downtown" in less than 5 minutes, so it is just the perfect size to spend all morning wandering in and out of cute shops and market stalls. They sell lots of olive based products here, lots of olive oil, tapenades and olive wood products. There are few things I love more than a market street in a tiny little town!

Talk about a meat market

We just can't help ourselves...where did they get this crazy mannequin?

Typical street corner in St. Rémy....gorgeous!

We wandered aimlessly from shop to shop, enjoying the beautiful setting and friendly people until lunchtime, when we plopped down outside at Crêperie Lou Planet, at the suggestion of our good travel buddy, Rick Steves. It doesn't sound super French, but it was quite authentic, and we each had some of the best crêpes in the world (actually they were galettes, crêpes made with buckwheat flour). And of course we had some wine and dessert too...quand à France, oui?

The tranquil little square where we ate lunch- what a beautiful day!

Delish galette!

After lunch, we walked back to the hotel and jumped in our car to drive to Les Baux, a nearby town with a lot of history and some amazing views. Les Baux is found at the very top of a mountain, just carved out of the sheer rock face- it is crazy! At the foot of Les Baux, there is a gigantic underground limestone quarry that they have transformed into a laser show featuring famous artists. The two featured artists while we were there were Van Gogh and Gaugin. It's really hard to describe the laser show, and even the pictures don't show how humongous these rocks were, but it was a very cool and unique experience.

Stopping for a quick pic on the way to Les Baux

It looks a little cheesy, but it was actually really really cool!

Dad doing his best "sortie" impression

That's me and Sarah down there! These were the outdoor quarries, so huge!

Then we drove up to the gates of Les Baux and started the trek up to the ruins of the ancient village at the very top. On the way there were lots of cute and yummy shops, and it really felt like we had stepped back in time hundreds of years. Once we reached the top (or so we thought, haha), we entered the ruins of the "dead city." once inside, there was more mountain climbing to see amazing ruins and the most spectacular views I think I've ever seen.
From the entrance gates to the city

Candy store that had awesome marshmallow sticks, yum!!! The French know how I like my candy.

We could see a storm rolling in, luckily we made it out of town before the rain started!

It's windy on top of a mountain!

View from the dead city...not too shabby.

The steps to get to the veeeeery top point...I watched from below as mom, dad and Sarah braved it!

From the top- amazing!

You may have noticed that if there is an opportunity for a corny picture, we will take it.

On the way back down the hill....soooo tired but happy!

After Les Baux, we stopped back at our hotel for a few minutes and then headed back into St. Rémy for dinner. We were so tired, and didn't really want to do the whole 3 hour French dinner, but since they don't do quick meals around here, we found another Rick Steves suggested restaurant, and we're glad we did! It was absolutely delicious. This was definitely one of our best days on the trip so far. So much charm, lovely sights, great food...can't ask for much more! As much as I love Paris, I am now completely enamored with Provence as well.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Amazing photos! The quarry shot is surreal, as is your dad doing the running man. Keep 'em coming! - Chuck