Posts Tagged ‘South France’

Yes I know, the Summer Holidays are over. Hubby and I came back to earth ~ abruptly ~ to work; as for the boys, it’s the start of their new school term, one of them at least (the younger one).

Geez… Time flies!

Anyway, I’d like to relive that holiday mode in this post. After all, it’s a continuation of the last few days of our recent Summer hols.

<< Flashback…

17th August. Three more nights in the Provence and back to reality. Yikes

Nope! I tried to shake my head off the reality because I was very much in my holiday mode.

However, with almost back to back activities we had had the past days, we tried to have a more relaxing time at our holiday home. Since we arrived at Lagarde-Paréol, almost 2 weeks earlier, we had not got the chance to explore the surrounding. So near and yet so far …

By the way, 17th August was declared a slow and lazy day. While hubby was e-reading a book on his iPad and my older son was watching a film on dvd on his laptop, I turned to my younger son and said, “Let’s go for a walk and explore our neighbourhood, you and I”

I was lucky my younger son was game with the decision as he had intended to make a video of our summer hols. Any new photos would be great material for an amateur video.


Lagarde-Paréol is a tiny village with a population of ca 300. The nearest biggest city, Orange, is 12 km away where most of the inhabitants commute to work there. 

If you’re looking for a shopping holiday near where you live, then forget Lagarde-Paréol. There are not many shops nearby and there are very few organised events. In other words, it’s a rather laid back location. But we loved it there. The peacefulness, tranquility and serenity… and lots of fresh air, away from the maddening crowd!

The place is rich in flora. I loved the smell of nature and the colours.

It was so still and quiet that my son just lay down on the deserted narrow street (can you spot him?). I wasn’t panicked at all because cars passing by were really sporadic.

There are a few winegrowers in the area and they bring a bit of life to this little village. 

The wine grapes are deep purple in colour, very heavy and dense to the touch. Although I was tempted to pop a grape in my mouth, I shrugged the thought off. 

In hindsight, I should have tried at least one grape. Now I haven’t the notion of how wine grapes taste like versus table grapes 😛

My son and I walked for more than 2 hours and we suddenly felt peckish. By the time we got back, it was 5.30 pm. I realised we did not have any proper meal that day. We only had brunch at 12’ish.

There was nothing much left in the fridge or the pantry, so we decided to have dinner in the nearest bigger town.


We left the house at 6.30 pm and drove 5 km to Sainte-Cécile-les-Vignes. It’s the nearest ‘biggest’ town from Lagarde-Paréol. The village has a spectacular view of Le Mont Ventoux as backdrop. 

It’s amazingly quiet in the early evening on a weekday. Looking for a restaurant was like looking for a needle in a haystack. We found two restaurants, but they were closed and there were 2 pubs opened, however, they did not serve decent meals.  So we walked on, hoping to find that ‘needle’…

And then … Eureka

It was NOT a restaurant, but a little pizza stand, adjoining a private residence. Interesting!  

We immediately walked in the patio or terrace area and found enough chairs and tables for us to dine on.

And dined we did! It was one of the best pizzas I have tasted. Why? Because it was home- and hand-made, from the dough to the toppings.  

And you know what? There was no cutlery! So we became complete philistines and ate our pizzas with our fingers. So what?!

They were seriously supercalifragilisticexpialidocious!

Suddenly, Sainte-Cécile-les-Vignes came to life. We heard ceaseless mobile phone calls and orders kept rolling in. People came by and picked their orders. 

And here’s the one-man show chef who made it possible. 

A simple smile creates its own message without words, but action with superb execution. 

Happy mid-Week!


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😳

I tried to hit the sack at 1.30 am on the morning of our supposed departure at 3 am, but only to get up at 4 am!! I noticed the guys were still in bed!

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. 

Et voila!

That evening, I received messages on my whatsApp from a girlfriend. She and her family were staying at Arles and she wanted to visit us after touring Avignon.

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 …