Saturday, March 27, 2010

Spring Blossom - a rare sight!

Spring Blossom - a rare sight!

Today is the first day of the holiday season and we have guests from Canada and Germany. For the last four years we have taken this week skiing, leaving behind a blaze of blossom which is normally at its peak the first week in April.

Now I know there are a few days to go but its incredible how late the blossom is this year, some of the cherries are only just budding. The cold winter has taken it's toll, but we have it all to look forward too.............

These pictures are from last last few years 4th April.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

It is Sunday, the shops are closed, it is forbidden to use garden machinery, the sun is shining , so we decided to head up Mont Ventoux to park at Chalet Renard then walk to the summit.

The air is so clear, the lavender yet to start growing after being covered in snow.Can you believe this valley was once engulfed by sea water?

It was the first time we had been out in the Mazda for some months and we had used jump leads to get her started. Unfortunately when I got out of the car to take a picture I stalled her and then she would not re start!

Luckily whilst we waited for a passing car to help us we had a bagette on board so we could have an impromptu lunch...........

Thankfully we only had to wait 20 minutes before a car passed and stopped to help us.It could have been far worse!

The ground is still cold so the warm spring sunshine has created a very atmospheric mist. This is our village , perfectly perched on the hillside overlooking the valley.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Just 90 minutes from our houses and gites is the North face of Mont Ventoux and the ski station 'Montserein'. After 40cm of fresh snow on Sunday it was a perfect day to take advantage of the empty pistes and clear skies.

Ventoux rises to 1912 metres. From the top there are views to the med and also to the southern Alpes.

Montserein has 12 kilometres of pistes with 9 lifts and at just 15 Euros for a days pass it makes a great day out.

Thanks to Steve for re introducing me to my ski legs!
Only in France, where it is acceptable to discuss your sex life, politics and food at dinner parties would you find the Supermarket Leclerc promoting 'Operation DVD Sexy collection' with top titles 'American sexy girls', 'Le Lagon bleu' and the best 'un duplex pour trois'! Where's my storecard?

Monday, March 08, 2010

It's hard to beleive that hours after our walk to villars the weather changed and here we go again, winter returns, minus 8 overnight and 4 inches of snow.

Sunday, March 07, 2010

One question we are frequently asked is are there any walks nearby? Well the answer is a very definite Yes! from our houses and gites you can literally walk out of the door to dozens of different walks, different in terms of the scenery and also how challenging they are.

One walk we particularly enjoy is to Villars, a neighbouring village, the return walk is about 9 kilometres. It is not particularly challenging but takes in some wonderful views looking back at St Saturnin, and also of the vines, cherry orchards and cabanons.

We can supply route maps to guests for those looking to go 'off piste'!

As you approach the village there is the traditional wash house and fountain.

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

Well we are now home, and yes it really feels like home! And it feels like Spring could be coming!

We travelled back from Australia over the last weekend via Singapore & London. We were away just over 6 weeks, the longest we have been away and the first real holiday since moving here four years ago.
As everyone knows holidays are good for all sorts of reasons, one of them being appreciating what you have at home. And we are both very happy to be back in Provence. Whilst we loved every minute of our travels we missed a number of things that attracted us to this country and region in the first place.

The scenery is spectacular in both New Zealand & Australia, as it is also in France, notably the beautiful Luberon region where we live. We enjoyed superb cuisine with the Lamb and Green Lip mussels in New Zealand of particular note. We also had some great Thai food something we miss in France. By contrast we noticed the portion sizes were much larger than we were used to, and there was no bread served with a meal (other than a doorstep size peice at a supplement). For me a baguette with a meal is essential. My first stop on route home from the airport was the Boulangerie!

Of course neither country can compete with the history that Europe offers, and the age of the buildings, which simply ooze charm and character, particularly in Provence. And whilst your average Kiwi is as laid back as a sunlounger and the Ozzi's are as bouncy as a Kangaroo, and both are incredibly hospitable we actually rather like the formalities of our French conpatriates.

Both countries also have wonderful wine and we really enjoyed visiting the Marlborough region in New Zealand and Hunter Valley in Australia, but you know what I think, the French still have the best wine in the world!

And so we return, it's March, it's been an incredibly hard winter here as it has in many countries and we are looking forward to Spring and the arrival of our first guests at the end of March, so now we need to start preparing the garden and pools.