A Good Day in Le Luberon
Our day began with a short brisk walk from the centre of Aix, the streets bustling with Monday morning activity, coffee and croissants to fuel the day.
How funky is this bus stop in Aix-en-Provence?
After a short wait at the station (and a nervous minute because we thought we had missed the bus), we boarded an early express bus to meet-up with friends. Somehow we were the only riders this morning, and so in the quiet comfort of our private bus, we dozed until we arrived in Cavaillon to their warm welcome.
Meet Lyne and Ian, a lively couple enchanted with the South of France.
They winter in Audabiac, a small French hamlet north-west of Avignon. Our short stay didn’t allow enough time to visit their place, but one look at their gîte (holiday home), La Bergerie d’Audabiac and you’ll be charmed. Ian’s pictures of the region tempted us to discover Provence for ourselves.
We hopped in their car, “We’re heading to Lourmarin, one of the Les plus beaux villages de France“, Ian tells us. “we’ll start at the Old Château…”
We toured the Château Lourmarin on the outskirts of the village. An interesting building, especially the interior stone spiral staircase, but nothing special.
In Gordon’s opinion, “It’s square and angular, probably designed by an Anglo-Saxon from the north or even Britain.”
We then toured the village of Lourmarin. It was quiet, and most of the venues closed maybe due to the time of day or the off-season time of year. Many shops in France close for lunch on Mondays, normal for them and odd for us.
The village was pretty but not extraordinary by any means, and so we didn’t linger too long but not before stopping to grab some treats for our picnic.
We continued our travels over the hills, with Ian at the wheel of the car having too much fun navigating the narrow winding roads to the sounds of their favourite tune Wisdom from the movie, A Good Year (2006). Ginette (who generally freaks out) sat in the back, reassured knowing that she was in the experience and skilful hands of a former Formula race car driver.
After a half hour or so he brought the car to a stop on a hillside overlooking Bonnieux and the Provençal countryside.
Closer to the village we parked the car and walked up to the highest point in Bonnieux, at a lovely park where we set up and enjoyed a delicious picnic of local cheeses, bread, olives, sausage and wine — can you detect a lunch pattern yet?
We were all anticipating our next stop, a nearby vineyard for some wine tasting at Château La Canorgue, which incidentally is the filming location of the movie A Good Year, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe.
The setting was spectacular, and the wine pretty good too. The softening November light made the surrounding vineyards a pleasure to look at and ideal for taking more pictures.
Our day trip continued with a visit to the fortified village of Méneres, another of Les plus beaux villages de France. The old houses, narrow streets,
and changing leaves beckoned to wander.
Dusk was soon upon us, and as we headed to Avignon Ian detoured to show us one more of his favourites villages; Gordes. The sun had set, and the light was dim, but Ian — now a professional photographer — was determined to get a shot of the hillside village in the twilight. He patiently set up his camera for the shot he wanted.
Thank you, Lyne and Ian, our gracious host for A Good