Goodbye Lourmarin hello Paris!

Was sad to leave the village we had grown to love, but the idea of spending the next 6 nights in Paris made up for it. Drove to Aix-en-Provence to return our car and we caught the TGV from Aix to Gare-de-Lyon. Brilliant train trip, took just under 4 hours. We arrived at the station and changed trains for the Metro and before we knew it we were meeting Andre the host of our gorgeous little Airbnb in Le Marais district. The girls are staying at a hotel just around the corner. Had a fabulous stroll around the area and grabbed a world famous felafel roll from L’As du Fallafel. Truly lived up to the hype – I think we will be eating here every night!! Eliza and I had a date at the Moulin Rouge so we all caught the train to the de Clichy area – Eliza and I loved the show and Andrew and Annabelle had a great walk around the district. We all caught the train back and got off a couple of stops early to walk along the magical Seine.

Atelier des Lumieres and Pere Lachaise Cemetery

Had a brilliant light and sound experience at the Atelier des Lumieres, a full immersion into the works of Gustav Klimt. It was brilliant, something we have never experienced before and a great addition to our understanding of Klimt after seeing his works in Vienna. The girls went off shopping after this but Andrew and I went to Pere Lachaise and spent the afternoon wandering around the alleys are looking at the magnificent headstones. We all caught up for dinner at Cafe Chez Julien in Le Marais – fabulous day.

Day trip to Mont-Saint-Michel

Very early morning – caught the metro to join our bus tour for a day in Mont Saint-Michel. It was a very long coach trip – 4 hours there and back, but it was very much worth it. We had a brilliant guide, who filled us all in on the history of the architecture, the battles, the monks – you name it, so we felt very well prepared when we arrived. It was amazing to walk around this ancient monastery and just marvel at how it was created. We were able to spend about 4 hours there which gave us a bit of a taste but you could spend days there and still not scratch the surface. We arrived back in Paris around 9pm, tired but we thoroughly enjoyed the day.

Montmarte and Ballet

Spent the morning walking around Montmarte, saw some great graffiti art, had a little coffee in a cafe and then climbed Sacre Cour – many steps but so enjoyed the view. We split up after this and I spent the afternoon in the Musee d’Orsay. Had a brilliant day. Had an early dinner at a nice restaurant and then headed off to the Palais Garnier to see the ballet. Wow!! what a magnificent building. Had a champagne in the Grand Foyer and it was just breathtaking. Went into the auditorium and after sitting down looked up to that magnificent Chagall ceiling – it was just mesmerising. The ballet was wonderful, it was the most magical evening.

Day walking the streets

Spent the day walking went to the Concierge, Sainte-Chapelle and we finally made it to Shakespeare & Company Bookshop – it was brilliant! Andrew then went off to Notre Dame and the girls and I took a walk up the Champs Elysee. Eliza kept shopping and Annabelle and I went to the Rodin museum. Eliza and Annabelle went to Crazy Horse in the evening and Andrew and I spent another evening walking the streets – just beautiful!

Last day in Paris

Had an early start. Andrew headed off to spend the day at the Louvre and I went to Musée de l’Orangerie, it was just sublime to see Monet’s waterlilies in surround. Met the girls at lunch in the Tuileries gardens, reminded us of watching Madeline when the girls were little! We then spent the afternoon at the Musee Yves Saint Laurent. It was brilliant to see the exhibition of his designs, his drawings and the place where he had worked. We found a little cafe to have dinner and we spent our last night just walking around.

Au Revoir France

Early start for the airport. Andrew and I are heading home today but the girls are going to London for a week. We dropped in to say goodbye to them then made our way to the airport. Took a picture from their hotel window looking up the Rue de Rivoli. We have had such a brilliant month in France, we are so sorry to be leaving but one thing is for sure – we will be back!

Day trips to Sault and Saint Saturnine les Apt

More beautiful hilltop villages today, Sault and Saint Saturnine les Apt. Walked around Le moulin ailé de Saint-Saturnin-les-Apt plus enjoyed the happy sunflowers, sweet wildflowers and aromatic lavender on our drive. Visited the Boyer nougat factory at Sault – unfortunately the factory was closed but the shop wasn’t so we got a couple of bars of beautiful nougat – delicious! One of the most beautiful things about travelling around this area is seeing the fields of sunflowers, lavender, poppies and wildflowers that adorn the roadsides and stonewalls.

Aix-en-Provence

The beauty of Lourmarin is that it is close to many places, Aix is only 45 mins south by car. We went for the markets and a stroll around the town but unfortunately there were major roadworks taking place all over the city. One of the locals told us that roadworks and excavations are always slow because quite often Roman ruins are unearthed and this holds everything up. We did have a good look around, had some lunch and there were some fantastic buskers on the Cours Mirabeau.

Valensole Plateau and the Gorges du Verdon


Went to into the Haute Provence region today for a few reasons, the lavender fields, the Gorges du Verdon and this is where Andrew’s great, great grandfather Jean Louis Casimir Boyer was born. Casimir, born in Digne, was Andrew’s grandmother Marguerite’s paternal grandfather. Casimir went to the Reunion Islands where he married Elinore Redibe. Andrew’s great grandfather Jules Georges Boyer was born there and the family moved to New Caledonia. More research needed to find out the why’s. The lavender fields at Puimoisson – what can I say? It was just so overwhelmingly beautiful to see these lavender fields in person. The intoxicating smell and the gentle hum of bees was such an experience for the senses. If this day could get any better it did when we hired a small boat at Quinson from Verdon Electronautic. We spent the next 3 hours puttering up the magnificent Gorges du Verdon. It was just perfect, I think this goes down as one of the best days of my life!

Lourmarin markets Gordes and Notre Dame de Senanque Abbey

Had an early start visiting the markets. They were fabulous! The food, flowers, clothes and the range of cheeses was mind blowing. Visited the town of Gordes and we were lucky enough to get the last parking spot in the place. Enjoyed walking around this hill top village, had a spot of lunch then we hit the winding roads to venture to the Abbey de Notre Dame de Senanque. It was brilliant to marvel at the architectural splendour of this building surrounded by the lavender.

Day in Lourmarin

Had an excited drive to Marseille airport to pick up Eliza – who was jet lagged after flying for 27 hours from Sydney. Spent the day exploring the village and the Chateau, really lovely. Enjoyed a delicious meal in one of the many excellent cafes. Found out the markets are on tomorrow so looking forward to that. Cheers to family being together!

Arles to Lourmarin via Menerbes and Bonnieux

Ready to spend the next 9 days in our little place in the village Lourmarin set in the Vaucluse region. Visited the villages made famous by Peter Mayle – of course we have read his books and were inspired by his love of the region. Well we were blown away by the beauty of the area, had a lovely lunch in Menerbes and made our way to our little place on the Chemin de la Calade in Lourmarin, what a perfect village!!

Arles for 3 nights with a day trip to Avignon

Arles is a city synonymous with Vincent Van Gogh. I had just read Van Gogh’s Ear by Bernadette Murphy so I was really looking forward to walking the streets that inspired my favourite artist. Arles is also known for many remains from the Roman era, including Arles Amphitheatre (les Arènes d’Arles). The Spanish influence is felt too in the food and the Carmarguais culture. Loved the scruffy feel of Arles but most of all we loved the unbelievably good sandwiches at Fadoli et Fadola. They were made to order, rubbed with garlic and olive oil – heaven, situated near the Place du Forum. We visited the sites, the Van Gogh Foundation, the Elise St-Trophime and the Theatre Antique, but most of all just loved walking the streets.

Day trip to Avignon

Avignon is only 45 mins away by car from Arles so it was a very easy day trip. We went straight to the Palais des Papes and really enjoyed our tour through this massive building. Of course no trip to Avignon is complete without a walk along the famous bridge. Enjoyable day walking the cobbled streets, looking at the magnificent bougainvillea, having a nice lunch and dancing sur la pont! Much to the disgust of Annabelle, she did warn us, Andrew and I got scammed signing a partition where we handed over 20 euros of our hard earned cash and then I took a wrong turn and had us walking an extra 20 minutes at the end of a long day in the heat – oh well!! p.s my photo of pont d’avignon was not so good so used one from google maps with credit given to the photographer.