When my family, friends and colleagues asked me where I would be going for my summer holidays this year, I just kept quiet and hinted to them to guess. It did not take long for them to come out with, “It’s got to be the South of France, right?”
But…but…but France is a vast country, you know. France is not just only Paris, the Eiffel Tower and The Moulin Rouge, for heaven’s sake! 😉
There are a million and one places and locations to discover and explore.
The reason we chose the southern part of France for our summer getaway is simple. We love the consistently warm and sunny weather, the colours of sunflower, lavender, the endless vineyards, the smell of fresh breads, long walking trails and the crazy mistral!
4 years ago, we were at Saint Rémy-de-Provence. We were back there again the year after. We loved the location and the holiday home and had wanted to go back there this summer. Fortunately or unfortunately, the villa was taken during the weeks we had wanted to book. So we ended up at Lagarde-Paréol, a new location and discovery for us. It’s a small commune but a fabulous locus connecting to nearby cities, such as Orange, Avignon, L’Isle sur la Sorgue, Carpentras, Le Mont Ventoux, St Rémy de Provence and Arles to name but a few.
A week before our planned summer hols, hubby said he would like to leave at 3 am. Very ambitious of him, I thought. Anyway, I knew why he wanted to leave that early: it’s cooler and definitely less cars on the roads. After all, we’re taking his car and he was the driver *wink*
Since I had to work the entire week before we left on Saturday morning at the crazy hour my other half was suggesting, I was rushing through my packing checklist on Friday evening making sure not to miss anything out.
I finally finished packing our “brunch bags” at 1.20am on Saturday morning! And gosh, I was not even sleepy. Definitely a carry over of my hoot owl shift biological clock😳
Oh-oh… there goes our ambitious ETD at 3 am! Lol!
I guess the noise I made in the bathroom woke the guys up.
And we finally left at 5.30 am …
Just Another Black Saturday
Although the Saturday we left was not a Black Saturday, but we definitely felt like it. The first traffic jam started at midday at Lyon but luckily that lasted for only half an hour. The subsequent traffic jam lasted for 2 hours starting from Bourg-Les Valence at almost 3 pm.
We had been travelling for almost 1k km and the traffic jam on the highway coupled with the scorching sun did not do justice. It was not a pretty sight either, especially when we had to drive bumper-to-bumper at most instances. I felt choked surrounded by cars, mobile homes, trailers and jeeps from holiday-makers from neighbouring European countries and the U.K.
I wished we had reached our ultimate destination …
At almost 5 pm, we noticed a huge transformation of sceneries and backdrops.
There were miles and miles of vineyards and the narrow road leading to our holiday home was breathtakingly beautiful. We spotted the majestic Le Mont Ventoux immediately.
Our ultimate stop and destination was a sight to behold; just as they appeared on the website. Peace and tranquility, and the spacious swimming pool and al fresco dining area with a bar, bbq and cooking area. OMG! What more can I say? It was picture perfect!
The 2-hour traffic jam was immediately ancient history.
As if there’s no tomorrow, the boys headed for the pool as soon as we arrived. It was a cool dip for them after being trapped in the heat all afternoon long.
By the way, my older son’s bedroom overlooks the majestic Le Mont Ventoux. I had wanted that room, but it’s not a master bedroom. Too bad … 😦
A Transformed Meal
It was a Saturday evening when we arrived. I had carried with me 4 Aiki noodles cups, some left-over veg, onions, shallots, chillies, ginger, curry powder and a packet of smoked Polish sausage some 1,000 km from Belgium to France, and transformed a student’s instant noodle meal into a more appetising and substantial meal.
And here’s what she wrote …
“Just back from concert & dinner. If it’s OK with you, we would arrive around 15:00. We will visit Avignon first and bring along some saucissons secs from Lyon, tapenades, rillettes and flammekuches from Arles & wine from Avignon (& bikinis) 😀. I will have no internet on the way. So sms would be the cheapest way to connect. See you tomorrow. P/S there will be 6 of us.”.
Golly gosh… We had nothing in the fridge, and neither, the pantry!!!
And tomorrow’s Sunday!!!
Now, could I manage to accommodate 6 guests with zero level inventory in the kitchen, fridge and freezer?
Stay tuned to Part 2 …