Provence: Le Mystique, le Soleil, le Provençal
Well, we are about to wrap up our week in Provence. Our little “nid” (nest) provided us with the geographic center from which to explore the north, east, west and south of the Provençal region. We have seen castles, chateaus, fortified villages, and the Mediterranean Sea. This area of France is very different from the northern half of the country. It is dry, gets quite hot in the height of summer, has wide-open seemingly uninhibited spaces, flat terrain that can quickly change to hills, and is now occupied by many foreigners (mostly Brits) who come from colder, wetter climates.
Peter Mayle wrote A Year in Provence in the mid 80’s where he documented his experience moving from his native England and living in this area for a year. His insights into French culture still seem to hold true although time does not stand still and things do change. Some of the experiences we have had here has given us an opportunity to reflect on our own wants, needs, and expectations for ourselves. Part of the reason we wanted to come to Provence was because we had an ideal in our heads that maybe at sometime in the future, we might want to live here at least part of the year.
We both have lived in many places during our lives. From large metropolitan cites, to small isolated towns. In very cold climates where snow determined the pace of life to very hot, dry desert conditions where summer went on for nine months. Provence is a mecca for those that are retired (or are about to), who want to have dry, hot summer days where they can idle their time away sitting at a table in the plaza of a small country village.
The greatest benefit of traveling is that being in another culture (especially when you are out of your own country) makes you reflect back on yourself. Cheryl and I are starting to appreciate even more the south bay area where we now live. Its moderate climate, wonderful afternoon sea breezes, easy access to a tremendous variety of venues, and the exciting mix of people make it for us, the ideal place to live. The mystic of Provence is not lost on us and we can understand the appeal for those that are drawn to this area. We, however, will leave Provence with a better understanding of ourselves and an appreciation for what Provence is and how it has helped us understand ourselves better.
The places we have been to have been amazing, intriguing, and historical. We would encourage anyone to visit Provence and experience for themselves the mystique and charm of the southern sun.
Make sure to check out our favorite images of Provence via the link at the top of the page.