what to explore – there is no better way to take in your surroundings than on a bicycle. pedal through the cobbled streets, breathe in fields of lavender, stop at a local village market, picnic on the side of the road in a field of olive trees, nibble on a baguette and cheese whilst sipping a local rosé – it doesnt get much better than that!
provence seems to bring out the best in poets, painters and photographers alike. it inspired the vivid images of van gogh and cézanne with patchwork fields of lavender, poppy and sunflower, market towns and cool-shaded squares. wandering down cobbled streets, stepping through antique doorway’s it’s hard not to find inspiration in the simplest things, even a letterbox has that certain ‘je ne sais quoi’
join us as we take you through our highlights of this amazing french region…
where we stayed – hotel particulier – with a location to die for hotel particulier is on the doorstep of the arles’ myriad of attractions and landmarks, such as fontaine des quatre-dauphins, musée granet. however you may not want to leave the grounds – it is possible to waste away the day lounging in the effortlessly-glamourous decor, strolling through the garden, swimming in the sun soaked pool or reading a book in the slightly morrocan accented super-stylish courtyard whilst scooping fresh raspberry jam onto delicate little pastries.
where we ate – l’atelier jean-luc rabanel – jean-luc rabanel is a culinary success story of the region, famous for concocting fresh garden-inspired cuisine that is in tune with nature and constantly evolving. the tapas style restaurant (and cooking school) is one of the few organic eateries in france to merit two michelin stars. all of the menu’s dishes are remarkable and bear the mark of an artist in the kitchen. it is certainly more than a meal – an experience.
where to shop – outdoor village markets – savour the sights, sounds, smells and especially the flavours of provence’s outdoor markets. they are great for souvenir shopping – fabrics, soaps, table clothes, pottery …. but above all, it’s the food which makes these markets so special. fresh local produce – fruits, vegetables, wines, cheeses, pastries, breads – it’s endless and all too tempting.
other adventures – visit the ancient stone village of www sitting precariously on a 245-meter high limestone baou (which means rocky spur in provençal). the unique, spectacular village has been home to humans since 6,000 BCE, and during the middle ages was home to the most powerful feudal lords in southern france.the dramatic rocks and cliffs overlooking a valley full of olive groves and vineyards are said to be the inspiration for dante aligheri’s descriptions of purgatory in the inferno. it is a truly spectacular spot and shouldn’t be missed on a trip to provence. also worth noting and one of our favourites is the palais des papes in avignon which was home to several popes during the 14th century. it boasts cavernous halls, beautiful grounds (picnic alert!) and is the largest gothic palace in the world.
the result of our inspiration – provence | la poste – our beautiful cashmere-blend scarf has captured the essence of this inspiring french region. the beauty is in the detail, often of the simplest of things … such as a letterbox. available now online www.birdandknoll.com