Travel

No summertime blues

This is the good life in Provence.
This is the good life in Provence.

SUMMER in Provence is about colour and movement at the markets, music festivals and dancing in the streets, picnics and parties in gardens and restaurants, sunflower and lavender fields, and endless green vineyards.

We've spent many summers in Provence, and this year discovered Mas du Marechal, a refurbished 18th century stone house in the village of Vers Pont du Gard within walking distance of the Pont du Gard, the 2000-year-old Roman aqueduct. Mas de Marechal is the perfect base to discover all of Provence.

A 10-minute drive takes you to Uzes, the last Duchy of France, where hundreds of stalls are set up in the Place aux Herbs on Saturdays with stall holders selling everything from glistening olives in wicker baskets to pottery, clothing, and, always...an endless variety of sausages, pates, terrines and cheeses.

Within an hour's drive of Vers Pont du Gard are all the Provencal icons including the hilltop villages of Bonnieux and Menerbes that Peter Mayle wrote so charmingly about in A Year in Provence.

Arles, with its stunning Roman amphitheatre is just a 45-minute drive away.

Les Baux des Provence, France's most prestigious medieval site, is just a half an hour away.

Perched on top of a rocky outcrop, it offers breathtaking views of olive groves and vineyards to the horizon.

Below Les Baux in an old dis-used bauxite quarry is Carrieres de Lumieres, a spectacular showing of giant images of famous art works beamed on the lofty quarry walls accompanied by dramatic music.

This year the show features works of Gauguin and Van Gogh.

Avignon is just a 30-minute drive away and is the walled city most known for the Palais des Papes, the grand building that was the power base of Christianity after the popes moved there from Rome in 1309.

Roussillon with its red ochre hills and charming village is an hour away and attracts artists from everywhere to sit and paint in its extraordinary light.

We toured all these places each day and then fell back into the comfort of Mas du Marachel, grateful for its wall-garden and pool.

Fully restored by keeping original features of the 18th century property, it is beautifully decorated and all of the five spacious bedrooms have their own modern bathrooms.

The Mas de Marachel.
The Mas de Marachel.

We loved the sense of village community that came with the mas.

A stroll to the patisserie each morning put us in a Provence mood. It mattered not that the owner spoke no English and our French was dismal.

We bought our baguettes and croissants easily with a merry "bonjour" and then an "au revoir".

Buying wine from the village wine cave was also conducted with plenty of miming and jovial exchanges.

You take your container and watch while the proprietor fills it up from a small vat with a pump.

The one cafe in Vers Pont du Gard presents a 'plat du jour' (dish of the day) and it quickly became a favourite.

In a tiny square surrounded by handsome stone buildings we dined extravagantly on freshly prepared meals of local produce, with wine (of course), followed by coffee and a surprise treat, all for 8.50 euros.

 

>> To read more travel stories

Gympie Times

Topics:  destinations, france, travel




Head engineer Bob Fredman resigns from Gympie council

GONE: Former long-serving Gympie Regional Council director of engineering, Bob Fredman has resigned his position.

Gympie council engineer Bob Fredman exits after shock resignation

Anti Kybong pig farm group vows to continue fight

Glenda Pickersgill.

Group opposed to intensive farm at Kybong continues its push

Worried dad says Curra hoons are endangering his kids

NOT IMPRESSED: Curra local Mick Arnup won't back down until changes are made to make his local area safer.

A CURRA family are concerned for the safety of their children.

Latest deals and offers

Gladstone couple's spontaneous Gympie Muster wedding

Craig Oglesby and Brenda Strong celebrate their wedding at the Gympie Muster with punters in front of the Main Stage.

The Gympie Music Muster was the perfect place for a wedding.

Australian Survivor's Peter: I'm no quitter

Australian Survivor contestant Peter Fiegehen.

ILLNESS forces castaway's early exit from Samoa.

Diva's sister on soliciting charge

FILE - In this May 14, 2016 file photo, Mariah Carey attends the 27th Annual GLAAD Media Awards, in New York. Carey will appear on the Oct. 5 episode of the Fox series, \"Empire,\" the network confirmed Monday at a TV critics bi-annual press tour. (Photo by Charles Sykes/Invision/AP, File)

Mariah Carey's sister has been arrested on charges of prostitution.

Tom Cruise private jets his gym kit around the world

Tom Cruise

Tom Cruise charters private to take his gym kit around the world

Movie behind Depp and Heard split to be released

Soon you'll be able to see the movie that ended the marriage

Bindi's boyfriend helps release huge croc

Chandler (far right) helped the jump team.

Chandler Powell helps catch Duncan the croc

Palm Lake Resort set to move in to Coast with 276 villas

Palm Lake Group has been given approval by Sunshine Coast Council to build a 276-villa over 50s resort and 120-bed aged care facility at the intersection of Caloundra Rd and Caloundra Mooloolaba Rd in Little Mountain.

New facility planned for Caloundra Rd

Warning for unit investors with price plummet prediction

The warning signs are flashing for one real estate sector in 2017 despite others performing the best they have in years and it's not going to be pretty.

One real estate sector looks set for a rocky 2017

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m