Editors note: This is a guest post from Sophie McGovern who is a writer, freelance journalist and musician based in Bath. McGovern has written articles for various websites and publications including Southbank Centre Literature and Global Poetry System. She also runs writing workshops for schools and organisations.
You simply cannot take a bad picture of Provence. Believe me I tried, and the only dud was the shot that went off in my bag. Try to catch it out, at any time of day, and Provence will naturally vogue, whether in its ‘rustic meadow’ mood or its twilight finery. Ask me to paint you a picture, and there I might flounder. My replica of Monet’s bridge for GCSE art was embarrassingly mistaken for an abstract self portrait, putting an abrupt end to my artistic ambition. Besides, anyone attempting to paint Provence has some big shoes to fill. The landscape has historically captured the hearts of some of Europe’s most celebrated artists including Picasso, Cezanne and Monet. A uniquely varied pallet indeed decorates the landscape, often in colours I couldn’t pin a specific name on (perhaps my forte could be poetry?)
Even the hotel didn’t suffer a bad angle, the natural wood and stone blending beautifully with the surroundings. Our chosen abode, Terre Blanche, was nestled between rolling hills with a distant view of the Alps, and if that’s not a good location to feel the love then I don’t know where is. We were impressed by the spacious suite (ideal in the event of a lovers tiff), and our private balcony was well worth the cost, with a stunning view of lavender fields and rolling vineyards beyond. In the spa there is even a self-contained couples’ suite, which could have been a really intimate way to enjoy some much needed pampering if my partner hadn’t cajoled me into a bit of waxing.
The unique colour and light of Provence seeps into everything, from its fresh cooking and award winning wines to the finely crafted furniture and ceramics of the region. Perusing the local markets set in the historic squares of medieval villages is a perfect way to experience this. The fine local foods available cry out to be taken on a secluded picnic in the hills or hidden coves along Provence’s extensive coastline, all flirting sumptuously in the highly complementary morning sun. If nothing else, the cuisine was what I fell in love with. Crusty breads, vintage cheeses, and a heavenly selection of sticky pastries are vital picnic basket treats.
Shaded open air terraces and candle lit restaurants also add to the beautiful evening mood of Provence. The many dining options are impressive, with possibilities including Mediterranean, French and international cuisine at the hotel alone. Formal dining was a great chance to don our Sunday best and try out a bit of our phrase book French, a language in which everything sounds like a love declaration (to my untrained ears anyway).
Cezanne’s wise proclamation that ‘art is a beauty that runs parallel to nature’ (a good quote to remember in any romantic dining situation) is clearly exemplified in Provence. The sleepy farmhouses and sweeping meadows shown in his paintings come to life in the views from hotel verandas, leaving my camera point-blank refusing to go back to Kent.
*Please remember all photos on this website, unless otherwise noted, are copyrighted and property of Beers & Beans Travel Website, Nariko’ s Nest Weddings & Bethany Salvon. Please do not use them without my permission. If you want to use one of them please contact me first because I do love to share and I would be flattered. Thanks!
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