What is it that consistently draws people to Provence and to the Luberon in particular? What precisely is Provence’s appeal, that special ‘je ne sais quoi’ which make the region so captivating? Aside from its natural beauty, perhaps its enduring appeal is, that it remains one of the few places whose charms have not diminished with the passing of time. Simple pleasures of life, can still be found here and in abundance.
Provence, immersing yourself in simple pleasures
Provence is a place where lingering in the shade over a long, lazy, lunch, watching the world pass by is part of life and in our over scheduled lives is perhaps the very essence of Provence’s appeal!
It’s where shopping means ambling through a brightly coloured market, filling your basket with freshly baked pastries, ripe local produce the soil still clinging to it, a medley of olives, honey and flowers.
Life seems kinder here, that in itself is so integral to Provence’ appeal, where instead of rushing, one simply meanders, exploring the narrow streets, stopping every so often to admire a tall shuttered window or worn brass door handle, which you just know has a story to tell.
It’s a place where one wanders down tree lined avenues,
where bustling street cafés beckon, their only requirement being that you take your time over a coffee or glass of wine, inviting you to relax and soak up the ambience. Simple pleasures so integral to Provence’s appeal, just as alluring today as they were when Van Gough, Gauguin, Cézanne captured it on their canvases.
Provence, a symphony for the senses
Provence is a place where is so much admire, to look at, to taste, to smell, to hear, simple but delightful sensory experiences which help to define Provence’s appeal.
Sights of Provence
Provence and especially the Luberon, is visually stunning and the sense of the past is inescapable, in its enchanting perched villages, its tumbled down castles, abbeys and medieval chateaux.
Set against a backdrop of breathtaking scenery and a magical light, Provence has enticed artists here for centuries. This unique transcendent light has a sharply defining clarity which has the ability to become almost translucent, a painter’s dream!
There is an ever-changing kaleidoscope, where streaming sun rays, intensify and illuminate the natural colours of the spectacular landscape.
Vibrant summer carpets of dancing yellow sunflowers and violet shades of lavender.
Endless, rolling fields of bright, green vineyards, olive groves and fruit orchards,
which evolve into a deep, rich, ocher glow before shedding their gowns to rest during winter.
Fragrances of Provence
And as the seasons change so do the natural fragrances, which in this part of the world have an intensity which perfumes the air like no where else. Lavender, verbena and olives, so defining of summer in Provence pervade, and then later the heady aroma of the vines, when lush crops of grapes drip like fat jewels, from ancient gnarly fists. Fragrances which giddily illustrate Provence’s appeal!
The intoxicating scent of warm soil, of fermenting fruit and musty, aged oak barrels promising rich dark vintages, to be slowly sipped by the glow of a fire, the flavors of the earth, the fruit and wood smoke consuming you.
Tastes of Provence
Good food and eating in Provence really matters, it is a place of mouth watering tastes; the flaky, buttery texture of croissants which melt on your tongue; of ripe tomatoes whose exploding flavor instantly remind you of the summers of your childhood, of freshly cut grass, of not having to do anything.
Crusty, floury baguettes spread with soft, creamy cheese which oozes between your finger tips; small sweet strawberries, figs, nectarines and slices of chilled melon, a scrumptious regional bounty which are so much part of Provence’s appeal.
And as you feast on all this deliciousness, your ears full of the lyrical melody of the French language and the chirping of crickets, you’ll probably wonder if anything has ever tasted as good.
Perhaps the very heart of Provence’s appeal is that is somewhere to find respite from the frenzied, interconnected world so many of us find ourselves consumed by, a place to enjoy the simple pleasures of life, as beguiling today, as they were many life times ago.