The last couple of days I’ve been settling back into life in our little house in Provence and enjoying catching up with our eldest, who arrived in May & is still here – I think it’s fair to say he loves it and would love to make a life for himself here!
Of course there have been the chores to get on with and the task of refilling the very depleted kitchen cupboards & fridge. However as you can imagine I have found time to get out on the bike & just relax into the area again.
I’ve mentioned before that I love Provence in the Autumn. The weather is still lovely and warm, the roads are empty and the villages and markets are a delight without all the summer crowds.
The light is beautiful too, especially as the leaves are turning on the trees and the bright, autumnal colours start to take over the landscape.
Yesterday I headed off with our eldest on a favourite ride up the old road from Apt to Bonnieux. Bless him, he did slow down for me so we could chat as we climbed, but even so it reminded me of our slightly uncoordinated Golden Retriever trying to chase down a Greyhound, although it resulted in me doing the climb in my fastest ever time, but needing a good sit down & a strong coffee after to recover.
After breakfast we headed off in separate directions, meaning I could poddle along on Miss Daisy, enjoying the sun and just taking in how the landscape has changed in the last 4 weeks.
The vines are on the turn, with most of the grapes having been harvested now…..
The sound of Cicadas & the general buzz of summer insects has gone to be replaced by the autumn sounds of Crows and squabbling Jays as they chase around the trees that are starting to turn shades of gold, red and orange…..
The light is incredible and yesterday’s sky was a vivid blue resulting in incredible views like this one on the way into Gordes – even the distant landscape seemed to be reflecting the blue light…..
Tuesday is Market day in Gordes and at this time of year there are still the stalls but no queues of cars on the approach & a gentle bubble of noise, rather than the more frenetic atmosphere of the summer months. It was lovely just to amble around noticing the changing seasonal produce…..
And to spend half an hour sitting on the stone bench running along the rear wall of the Chateau, drinking coffee & watching the world pass by….
From Gordes I headed across to Roussillon and sat on the wall overlooking the ochre cliffs, enjoying the peace, although in some ways missing the chaos of the summer & the almost constant whistle-blasts from the local Police Officer who fiercely guards the central car park in the height of the season…..
Today though the blue skies had been replaced with heavy cloud cover, although it was still warm and I headed off in the opposite direction for breakfast in the delightful Boulangerie at Simiane La Rotonde…….
Before heading on to the pretty village of Oppedette and on up to Vachères, further towards Forcalquier…….
It’s fair to say it’s a bit of a climb, but the views from the road are stunning……
It was also incredibly peaceful & with each turn of the pedal I could just feel myself relaxing & my mind wandering off in all range of different directions. Just outside Vachères the view opens up across a very late flowering Lavender field towards the Alps in the distance. Even though it was still overcast the view stopped me in my tracks and I stood for a good few minutes just absorbing it & listening to the birdsong, which was the only sound I could hear……
From Vachères it’s pretty much downhill to the pretty town of Reillanne, which was quiet today but is a bustling centre on market days Sunday and Thursday…..
And further downhill again to Cereste and my ultimate goal for this ride – the Artisan Glacier ‘Scaramouche’ and its new season Prune & Armagnac ice cream, which has been in my sights since I saw it mentioned on Facebook.
The ice creams at Scaramouche are superb, made with local organic milk & eggs with the addition of seasonal fruits & herbs. There are more traditional flavours but they have some really unusual ones too and I haven’t found one yet that I haven’t liked.
The Prune & Armagnac didn’t disappoint and it was certainly worth the effort to go the long way round to get there – in fact I think it’s fair to say that the ‘2 boules’ didn’t touch the sides …..perhaps I should have gone mad and had 3!
I haven’t decided what to do tomorrow, but it’s Thursday & the markets are taking place at Roussillon, Goult and L’Isle Sur La Sorgue and I haven’t had a good potter around a market yet, so perhaps I’ll head to one of those. I’ll just wait & see how I feel in the morning …… although from tonight’s sunset it looks like it could be another lovely day!
We’ll just have to wait and see …..