Everyone loves a good break from reality once in a while, but so often you return just as tired and worn out as when you left! It is a surprisingly rare occasion to visit somewhere that is just so relaxing that all the troubles of the past weeks and months seem to melt away. We found our very own worry-free haven in the south of France – in Provence. This region of France is the perfect escape – with expansive views, a distinct lack of having to operate to any form of schedule, and your nearest neighbour no closer than 200 metres away. We were lucky enough to be invited along to our friends’ house in Uchaux for a week of nothing but sun-tanning, market browsing, sun-set watching and wine drinking (admittedly, a fair amount of wine drinking – but you can’t visit Provence and not sample every local bottle you can!).
Provence is known for its stunning natural scenery, sunny skies, and amazing local food and wine. Every spare piece of land that was not supporting a house was covered in vineyards that stretched for miles. We were invited along to a local wine estate, a short walk from the house, for a tasting of their organic wines. This was a tasting unlike any I have experienced before. Conducted by a most enthusiastic wino in rapid French (which left me completely bemused with my high-school level understanding) and as soon as your glass was half empty, the bubbly Frenchman was eagerly trying to pour you the next glass already. As you can imagine, we were all rather merry within an hour of arriving.
Now, when you are staying in a hamlet with a population of around 45 people, you get to know your local businesses rather well and everywhere you go you are greeted with big smiles, warm welcomes, and not two, not three, but at least 4 kisses. Our local bar and restaurant was Les Acacias. The staff were so friendly and the food was second to none. Tip: the Moules Marinieres (mussels served in a white wine and garlic sauce) is delicious. And if you don’t fancy fish, their seared duck is incredible too!
Provence is the perfect getaway for anyone looking to kick back and relax with a good book and a bottle (or two) or chilled rose in the glorious southern sun. And if you feel like venturing out into town, the streets of Orange are filled every Thursday with market stalls, and in Avignon, there is plenty of history to the buildings and picturesque winding roads lined with boutiques that are perfect for an afternoon of window shopping.