Dear South of France,
I’ve caught on to your game. You’re not exactly subtle. You take every opportunity to flaunt your beauty. You chase me with your twangy, bouncing accent, singing me songs like a siren. I caught myself saying “bieng” the other day. This will not do! You’re trying to take this northern girl and win her over. Well, I’m no shallow gal. Beauty won’t be enough to win me over.
Yet that’s not your only tactic.
Your landscapes of scraggy hills leading to the sea is lovely, true, but you’ve given me a home with people I care about. You’re not perfect. Then again, nowhere is. Perhaps to me, you’re more of a feeling than you are a place. More an idea. A sunny old grandfather with a crooked smile sitting against an orange house with peeled paint and sky blue shutters in a twisting alley. The countryside isn’t far. If you turn the bend of this cobbled street, you could see it. It’s bright and warm with just a slight breeze rustling the olive trees. There’s a song in the distance, some pastoral melody. Everything slows down and I can rest for a moment.
I am grateful to you.
The weekend of the 22nd of February, the gym teacher at Hemingway took Briana and I to les Baux-de-Provence. The scenery is beau à couper la souffle, breathtakingly beautiful. A castle used to top les Baux, but only ruins are left. The town has no permanent residents. It’s a place to visit, yet I didn’t feel overwhelmed by tourism like I did at Mont St. Michel. Perhaps it’s because we were there in off season. Regardless, it was a lovely place with amazing views. The gym teacher, C, packed us all picnic lunches which was incredibly kind (and very tasty). We lunched on a hill overlooking the castle. How lovely! After, we went to visit le moulin de Daudet. This is the windmill where the southern author, Alphonse Daudet, was inspired to write his short stories. The windmill is a short hike from a road in Fontvielle. Daudet’s most famous story is “La chèvre de Monsieur Séguin.” Not far from the windmill is an aqueduct leading to the site of the first water-powered windmill discovered. It was a lovely day in the south of France. Scroll over or click on the photos to see their captions.