There is a reason why people dream and romanticise about France and it comes down to the fact that France is utterly gorgeous. I’ve been enamoured by all things French for some years now, my personal decorating style is very French Provincial so being able to visit Provence in France was a realisation of a beautiful dream. All those fields of lavender, stone buildings, winding dirt roads, avenues of trees and spectacular vineyards and orchards. I was in heaven! No wonder Van Goh and Cezanne were so captivated with this part of the world.
Steven, Ben and I only had a few days to spend in Provence on our way to Paris. We had hired a car and decided that for these few days we’d just wing it and go where the wind blew us, my need to photograph lavender was outweighed by any desire to be locked into a set schedule. Kind of like my need to photograph sunflowers in Italy, ironically the best sunflower fields were found in France! Unfortunately it was a long weekend in during those three days (think the equivalent of the Australia Day long weekend) and all the French people had left their homes behind and were also visiting the country so there weren’t any hotel rooms available! We must have stopped at 20+ b&b’s and hotels and were turned away every single time. So, for three nights we slept in our teeny tiny little hire car which was already packed to the roof with suitcases and camera bags, an experience I will never forget! Looking back now it was quite hysterical, but at the time it was more than uncomfortable and cramped. Thankfully I always travel prepared and had enough camping toiletries to see us through, our necks however suffered from being in unnatural positions even with those neck cushions we bought for the flights over!
After the first night in the car we woke up to a beautiful view complete with our first sighting of poppies in a field. I had always wanted to see poppies in France, my father spent a lot of time reading about the Anzacs in Europe as his own father had fought on the front line and I always associate poppies with our fallen heros. Seeing the poppies in the fields and on the sides of the roads was a gentle reminder to my grandfather along with all our other brave soldiers. I think next time I visit Provence I want to arrange it around the peak poppy season, I see many many French landscapes in my future!
One of the things that surprised me about Provence was the amount of hilltop towns. I’d never given a thought to what the towns would be like, I assumed they’d be like the ones in England but they weren’t. They were all perched up on top of the hillsides, obviously for protection in the medieval times. We visited a number of these beautiful towns, some were 1200 years old and still stood firm and strong. They were gorgeous, they were rustic and they came complete with a plethora of charming cobble stone streets. I continued my obsession with photographing windows, as you’ll see. I also indulged in a bit of shopping. There’s nothing better than buying authentic French Provincial home-wares direct from Provence! Duh.
Our time in Provence was all too brief, but I had tasted enough of it for me to want a huge helping of seconds next time round. This part of France is definitely in my future.