Soft colours & golden light – Autumn in Provence

It’s hard to believe that it’s only 4 weeks since we left the house in Provence & headed back to the UK after a wonderful first summer there.

One of the great memories from our first summer in Provence

When we left, the days were still hot (well over 30) and the landscape looked parched and bleached after the long dry-spell & even the leaves on the largest of trees were wilting & starting to fall.

This was the lowest I have ever seen the source of the Sorgue at Fontaine de Vaucluse !

Since then the time has flown by – a blur of boys being back at College, finding time to make jewellery & do Fairs together with just the general chaos that comes with everyday family-life.

Weekends have been taken up with craft-fairs

So yesterday, as you can imagine, it seemed rather bizarre (but also rather lovely) to find myself at Bristol airport, heading back to Provence. This time I’m down to oversee a woodburner being fitted to the house ahead of the weather turning colder, but will be able to get some other work done too,  including furniture painting (now it’s not so hot that the paint dries on the brush) and jewellery making, but fitting in a few markets & bike rides when I can!

I still have a few of this summer’s brocante finds to finish

Arriving at Nice yesterday I walked off the plane & immediately began to strip off layers of clothes, (it may be October but it was still about 27 degrees), before hopping in the car and taking the motorway towards Aix, crossing The Luberon at Lourmarin and heading across the Plateau (filled with dormant Lavender fields) to Saignon & on to the house

Early evening light on the dormant lavender firlds across the Plateau above Saignon

It was a great time of day to travel – the summer visitors have gone, so the roads were quiet and the late afternoon golden light was stunning, giving the bleached rocks of Mont Sainte-Victoire a wonderful pink hue. Even better was the play of light on the Luberon, which made it look as if a dark green cloth had been thrown across the landscape, tumbling in soft, shaded folds down to the valley floor. I love seeing the Luberon like this – it’s simply stunning & I’m sure it is a view that I will never tire of, as are the views across the valley towards Mont Ventoux, again stunning in the golden evening light.

Across the valley to Mont Ventoux

I also didn’t appreciate how much I would enjoy coming back to our own house – it is so different to renting a house (however lovely the rental house may be) and immediately I felt at home, although I did have to deal with a couple of unexpected guests – not least the scorpion that had got caught in the living room rug and a couple of rather large spiders that had made their home in the bathroom!

The new arrival in the living room!!

Autumn is certainly a great time of year to visit the area. It’s still beautifully warm (after the early morning chill has lifted) and probably much better for cycling than the blistering temperatures of July & August. Getting back out on the bike today and heading off on one of my favourite rides to Lacoste, Bonnieux & Saignon was delightful.

Stunning views across to Bonnieux from Lacoste

The roads are quiet & the queues for the parking in many of the villages have gone, giving the whole area a peaceful, more relaxed feel.

On top of that there are the changes in colour that are taking place in the fields and woodlands of the Luberon. The parched look has gone & the clear light is highlighting the subtle changes from green to gold that are starting to take place.

The subtle colour changes starting to take place near Lacoste

The vines that were simply sticks with small green buds when we arrived in April are being stripped of their grapes & in some places the leaves are starting to turn. The local vineyards smelt wonderful today as I cycled past.

Vines stripped of their grapes & starting to turn in the valley near Bonnieux

Then there are the markets, which will now be stocked with the Autumn delights of pumpkins, gourdes, plums and of course a fantastic selection of mushrooms.

I love the look of these decorative gourdes

It’s also a perfect time of year to explore the area by walking some of the many trails that cross-cross through the garrigue, which was effectively out of bounds in the height of the summer due to the high risk of fire.

I know I have lots to do at the house and I’m only here for a couple of weeks this time, but I’m already enjoying seeing the area we love at this different time of year and will just have to make sure I see as much of it as possible before I head back.

Our local village bathed in the golden light of last night’s sunset – just stunning

Shared via #FarawayFiles #46

Suitcases and Sandcastles

10 thoughts on “Soft colours & golden light – Autumn in Provence

    • Thanks I do love Provence at that time of year and the light is just beautiful after the bleached colours of the summer. I’ll be heading back out in a couple of weeks again to kick back & enjoy it & can’t wait. Thanks again #FarawayFiles

    • Thanks – the area is just beautiful and it is great to spend time there out of high season as the roads are quiet & the colours are beautiful. Bizarrely we are getting used to the scorpions – not a phrase I thought I’d ever use! Thanks again #FarawayFiles

  1. Coming from the tropics, my favourite season is autumn because the weather is not too warm or too cold, and I love the soft autumn light and hues of red, brown and yellow colours. I try not to travel in Europe in July & August because it’s too hot, not to mention very crowded indeed. Beautiful pics, though I was surprised to see that scorpion! I can’t imagine having spiders in the bathroom too! #FarawayFiles

    • Thanks – it really is a beautiful time of year & the colours and light are incredible. It’s great to be able to enjoy it without the summer crowds and to cycle along effectively empty roads. We’ve had a few more Scorpion encounters this summer & the spiders continue to take up residence, but that’s part of the fun of being able to spend so much time over there. I head back in a couple of weeks to spend October there & cant wait to see how it has changed in the last month. Thanks again #FarawayFiles

  2. How very special to go back to you OWN home in Provence. It must be the most wonderful antidote to cold and rainy days in the UK. Thanks for sharing on #FarawayFiles

    • I know – although we’re getting a little more used to seeing them now! The gourds are everywhere at this time of year & seem to be more for decoration than culinary purposes, but are really cute & great colours! #farawayfiles

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