Monday, September 29, 2008

Cucuron, Provence, France

We visited Provence for one week in spring of 2008, taking the TGV from Paris to Avignon, where we rented a car to drive to our B&B in Ansouis. Shortly after arriving our host asked whether we had enough petrol in our car, informing us that the long lineups at filling stations were the result of citizens' nervousness about the fishermens' blockading some ports and routes, prohibiting trucks from delivering petrol in parts of Provence. Our supply was fine but we decided to leave it that way for at least a day. So the next morning we walked about 5 kms along D56 from Ansouis to the nearby village of Cucuron.

Walking meant that Janice could examine each and every flower along the way, we could experience the changing smells of fields and meadows, take in scenery slowly, stop to admire hundreds of white snails clinging to posts and wire fencing, the fields of wild poppies, the Luberon's beautiful vineyards and rural homes, gingerly step into fields for a closer examination of foliage, and watch the climbing sun change the intensity of the colours all around us.

Walking also meant that I earned a hearty lunch. We were pleased to come upon an excellent small hotel restaurant, L'Arbre de Mai. The gracious host/owner gladly filled us in on local history and legends, and the meal prepared by his wife was some of the finest food I have had in France for a long time--simple but fresh ingredients, fresh bread, delightful local wine from the Cotes du Luberon, and the quiet street of the sleepy medieval village all to ourselves that warm day in late May. Afterwards, we strolled through the hill village's streets of stone houses, admiring lookout points from below the castle's dungeon and carefully tended pots of flowers.