Bonnie and I are now staying in a tiny town in Provence near Avignon called Noves. Our little apartment is actually part of an old mill on a 12 acre estate called Le Moulin de la Roque. This gem of a villa is tucked into a wooded area lush with tall trees and ancient stone, hosted by the warm and friendly Gaby and Guy. http://www.moulindelaroque.com/
Gaby was happy to share her favorite parts of Provence and insisted we see the nearby Luberon region of France. Peter Mayle wrote his famous book “A Year in Provence” there and now I know what drives throngs of tourists here each year. Our Peugeot winds us back and forth past lavender fields, not quite in bloom, interspersed with lime green vineyards and groves of sagey green olive trees. The lighting is soft and I feel as if I am driving through a painting. From the valley we ascend uphill, taking more than a few hairpin turns. My breath is taken away as I turn the corner and peer to the right. Perched high upon a steep cliff is the ancient village of Gordes, so majestically rooted into the earth. This is one of the most photographed sites in France.
Gordes is now a traditional Provençal village with cobblestone paths that wind past boutiques and bistros and lead you to a church and a castle. The church houses photo exhibits and this year is featuring the work of Hans Sylvester, who became famous for documenting Provence in the 1950’s. Specialty shops like this produce stand and local product shops are numerous.
We lunch outdoors and munch on a pizza of Corsican sausage, olives and chestnuts and a salad of tomato and chevre (goat cheese).
Nearby is the village of Roussillon, where the red ochre stone dominates and contrasts with the Monet blue sky. The colors are so deep, I cannot capture them with a camera, only with my eyes and mind. The depth of vibrancy are reminiscent of Santa Fe.
A day of light, color and surprises comes to an end. I am so grateful for this mind expanding experience.