“City Girl Meets The Country”
I am staying in a gite which is located outside of the town of Murs which is in the heart of Provence. The owner had to meet me in town to escort me to the gite which is literally in the countryside. Rooster greets me daily at 4:30 pm. Lizard scurries around waiting for me to sit on the terrace and have some rose wine. Snail affixes itself to the glass of the french door. And the boar hides from me after grazing on the owner’s lawn. [Note: yes, staying in a town is an option]
Drive, Drive, Drive
On those days that I want to visit a town, it is necessary to drive. Each day I seem to drive through the town of Gordes. The roads are narrow and I grip the steering wheel everytime a large truck approaches. But I do love the roundabouts. They make driving more civilized. No stop signs and if you miss your exit, just zip around again. Thank my GPS for putting me on the right roads.
“It’s another _____ holiday” or “Nothing is open on Mondays”
Forget about groceries on Friday, it was VE (WWII Victory) Day. May 14 was Ascension Day. Everything is closed. All banks and grocery stores were closed. In May there are a lot of holidays, so just be forewarned.
“Open 10-12 and 2-6”
Yes, they take two hours for lunch, so forget about visiting a museum. You might as well take a lunch break too.
“Not nouveau riche and I like it that way”
It is not like Monaco or Saint Tropez where the young, nouveau riche hang out. Provence is rural, friendly, and down to earth.
“Good, hearty, home-cooked meals”
Tomatoes, herbes de provence, olives, olive oil, fresh fruits and vegetables…..from the local market.
There’s a market somewhere in Provence every day (generally 8-12 noon)
Some are just food and some are food and some are antiques. Some advice for when you visit a market:
-Get there early to get a parking space. I arrive in L’Isle Sur La Sorgue at 8:45 and had no problem finding a spot, but by 11:00 it was packed.
-Be sure to bring a shopping bag. You’ll get a bag for your produce, but it will be small.
-Things are not always cheap at the market (ie. slice of aged goat cheese was $15 and a small piece of gingerbread was $11! But the strawberries were so fresh and the produce that is in season can be reasonable)
-Take a coffee/breakfast break and just sit back and watch the people go by.
Here’s a short list of market days provided by the host of my gite:
Monday-Cadenet, Cavaillon, Goult, Lauris
Tuesday-Cucuron, Gordes, Lacoste, St Saturnin le Apt
Wednesday-Gargas, Pertuis, Sault, Merindol
Thursday-Caumont, Robion, Roussillon, Ansouis
Saturday-Apt, Oppede-le-vieux, Cheval Blanc, Manosque, Pertuis
Sunday-Coustellet, L’Isle Sur La Sorgue, Maubec