After a busy week back in the UK, when we fitted so much in, that it felt as if we kept meeting ourselves coming back in the opposite direction, we are finally back home in Provence, and starting to plan for the next stage of work on the house, finally decorating the living room.
It was a smooth trip back down, and to be honest, it was just nice to be travelling with Andy again. For over 12 months we have ended up travelling separately, which has been far from ideal, so just to be able to share the journey, being able to chat and enjoy the trip together was just a delight.
It may be more expensive, but travelling by TGV and Eurostar is just such a lovely experience, especially now that we leave enough time to walk across London and Paris, rather than simply catch the underground.
On the way back we arrived into Paris as the sun was starting to set, and the apricot colours from the sky, created a beautiful light as we set off from the Gare Du Nord , on a lovely 6km amble that takes us through the Place de La Republique and the Bastille en route to the Gare de Lyon, where we hopped on the TGV for the final couple of hours to Avignon.
Finally settled back at home, we got back to doing what we like best – pottering out on the bikes and taking Fifi for a little drive too.
At least Andy’s finger is now healed and he is able to cycle without a bandage getting in the way, so we took advantage of the glorious autumn weather, and headed off towards Bonnieux and Lacoste.
It was amazing to see just how much had changed, so much so in fact, that it felt as if we had been away for weeks, not days. The biggest difference was in the colours of the landscape, which when we left, had only just started to show the first signs of the seasonal shift.
In the last 7 days though, the vines have really started to show their autumn colours, the stripes of green turning vivid shades of gold and red, bringing a warmth to the view, which is just as beautiful as the flashes of purple from the lavender in the height of summer.
It may be chillier, but the roads are quiet and it really is the perfect time to potter about on the bikes. Not only have the colours changed, but the scents too; the air filled with the earthy smell of autumn, blended with wood-smoke from fires, that seems to get trapped in the valley by a blanket of cooler air.
There is just a wonderful sense of calm, as if the whole area is snoozing gently after the busy-ness of summer, and it’s just delightful, we felt all the stress of the travelling melting away with each turn of the pedal.
It was such a glorious day, that after pottering out in Fifi, to do some shopping, we decided to drive the long way home, heading out to Pont Julien and up to Bonnieux, before heading back through Apt.
With her roof rolled back, the sun warming our heads, it was the perfect afternoon for a little drive through the vineyards, back down the road that we had cycled up in the morning.
The low, afternoon sun added even more warmth to the colours as we swept back down the beautiful old road between Bonnieux and Apt, with magnificent views towards Mont Ventoux, sitting high above the distant hills.
We managed to get our act into gear and take the camera with us, and have put together a little video of the drive back through, so you can enjoy a little bit of the trip with us too, which you can find on YouTube https://youtu.be/wIpH2yUP7q0
I once read a quote that said ‘I don’t need therapy, I just need to drive a 2CV’, and as far as we’re concerned, the same could be said of cycling too.
Doing both on the same day, under fresh, almost faultless blue skies in Provence, is enough to cheer even the most jaded of souls.
It’s so good to be back.