“Life is what happens when you’re busy doing other things.” Words of wisdom I’ve often heard from a dear friend, for indeed sometimes life does throw you off course and you find yourself in unexpected circumstances. Such was our story when we returned from Lourmarin to California last December when unexpected knee surgery meant that the biggest decision of my day became whether I should attempt to stand. But nothing lasts forever, time heals and despite the uncertainty of whether I’d be able to travel, just a few weeks ago we were outside the door to our little house. It felt a million miles away from our ‘other life’ but we were back.
As we strolled down our street into the village the next morning everything was just as we’d left it. When we’re not there, Lourmarin, and our life there, really does feel ‘a million miles away’. It takes on a dream like quality and after a while I find myself questioning, is it really as special as my reminiscences? The fact that on our return it actually is, always brings me such joy, why do I persistently doubt myself?
Sipping coffee outside Café Gaby, watching the world stroll by, our morning baguette just purchased, it felt as if we’d never been away.
A few days before Easter, when visitors would be returning, the village was ready. Restaurant tables and chairs were neatly arranged and fresh flowers carefully placed. The shops were newly stocked with temptations, their enticing displays spilling out onto the streets.
On Friday market day the village began to bustle.
At this time of year local asparagus and strawberries dominate the grocery stalls, deliciously sweet with their promise of summer.
The band was back in their regular spot filling the air with a their melodious sound, contributing to the festive atmosphere.
And within days we were returning to the places we love.
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue ~Sunday market day
The Antique Fair at L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue
L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue is known as the Antique Capital of Provence with its plethora of antique shops and galleries. Each Sunday, alongside a traditional Provencal market, there is an antique market. In addition, twice a year, a spectacular Antiques Fair settles itself within this delightful little town. We wandered from stall to stall hoping to discover an irresistible temptation!
This year, amongst all the antique treasures sat a Tintin display. Who doesn’t remember this courageous Belgian reporter and his dog Snowy? Created by Georges Remi, a Belgian cartoonist, who wrote under the pen name Hergé, the adventures of Tintin first appeared in 1929 in Le Petit Vingtième. It became one of the most popular European comic stores of the 20th century, published in more than 70 languages with sales over over 70 million and adapted for radio, television and film. If anyone wanted a souvenir of their childhood hero, here it was!
Château la Coste
La Terrasse at Château la Coste
Sat at a brightly coloured bistro table, under the trellis at Château la Coste’s La Terrasse restaurant, listening to the soft chuckle of the fountain and the charming lilting tones of excited French chatter, is one of favourite lunchtime spots.
Château La Coste is a stunning wine domain 14km from Aix-en-Provence. It showcases not only fine wine but food, (La Terrasse being just one of of its five restaurants) art, architecture and well-being.
THE ART AND ARCHITECTURE WALK
Art is a particular feature at Château La Coste. The Art and Architecture Walk is a two hour stroll between the olive groves and vines, where one meanders through the woods stopping to admire the incredible pieces of modern art which pepper the walk. I wasn’t quite up for a walk that long but I’m hoping to do is soon.
Open March 1st – November 1st Everyday 10 am – 7 pm
November 2 – February 29 Monday to Friday 10 am to 5 pm Saturday and Sunday until 7 pm. There is an admission charge, click her for more details
Crouching Spider ~Louise Bourgeois
Dominating the art collection is Louise Bourgeois’ bronze statue ‘The Crouching Spider’. The spider hovers just above the glistening water by the Art Center, its’ twisting, muscular legs reflecting the gnarled limbs of the surrounding vines
This year even the trees beside the restaurants reflect the artistic vibe, adorned with golden bauble necklaces
And let’s not forget the wine!
Committed to using biodynamic principles, Château La Coste blends Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache, Vermentino, Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cinsault grapes. Sample for yourself, the wine shop opens every day at 10.00. Learn more here.
At the end of the day, our terrace seems to be the perfect place to enjoy a local vintage, admiring our view as slowly the sky changes color and nightfall settles itself upon the village.
And so Lourmarin is no longer a million miles away. As we settle back into our life in Provence it’s now our other life that begins to flicker, rippling like reflections on the water until we return.
This time we’re here for a while, battling the detritus of Brexit we have long stay visas. We have so much to look forward to, most of all just ‘being’ in this special place, ‘busy’ with the ‘business of living’, living in Provence. September will come quickly, and Maison des Cerises will be then be available (as it is for a short while in July & August) should you want to sample this enchanting little corner of France.