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I recently wrote a post about the book Provence 1970, a book that I adored and through which I spent my reading hours vicariously living the rugged, burnt-sun existence that is summering in Provence. Today I write to you from a little stone house overlooking an orchard of olive trees with billowing curtains ushering in the warm breeze. This is Provence.

The interior walls of this stone house are a meter (3 feet) thick to keep in the midnight chill. They are mustard color. A lavender bush grows beside a tall Cyprus tree outside my bedroom window and I see a tracker pulling a huge crate of apricots roll down the front lane.

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Provence has always had a special allure to me. Before I moved over to France, I’d pictured life in Paris – the cafés, walks along the Seine, reading at one of those tiny brasserie tables with one of those tiny coffees in hand. The other place that had captured my mind’s eye was Provence. Something about the word Provence encapsulates perfect vacation. Provence – sunny weather, lavender fields, ice cold rosé wine and the licorice kiss of Pastis, vegetables bursting with flavor at farmers’ markets… Provence.

I’d read Julia Child’s account of her time in Provence. I’d read Patricia Wells, too. I’d even driven through the area on the way back up from the Cannes Film Festival back in 07, my first year in France. But I’d never had the opportunity to spend some real time in the region until this summer.

When we decided to head down to the Avignon Theater Festival I jumped at the opportunity to explore Provence. We rented a stone house in the hills on the border of Drome and Vaucluse. We rented a car. And we had a blast.

Here’s a slideshow of Provence through my lens, as well as a trip to the town renown for its wine: Chateauneuf-du-Pape, plus a fez memories of a wonderful evening spent at the Chateau de Grignan, a beautiful Renaissance chateau up on a hill. Grignan hosts an event called the Fêtes nocturnes, a theater festival that runs on the chateau grounds each summer and is celebrating this year its 30th anniversary. For all history and literature lovers, Chateau de Grignan was the home of the Marquise of Sévigné’s favorite daughter (the one she wrote all those famous letters to…). Interestingly, the two women adored each other and corresponded vivaciously by letter for over 30 years, but once they were under the same roof they had a difficult time being in the same room…

Profite-bien ! et bon été !!

Provence:

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Chateauneuf-du-Pape:

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Chateau de Grignan:

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