How does the saying go again? “See Paris and Die”? Well if I had to weigh in myself, it would be “See Provence and Die”. This last trip that I went on to Provence was simply life-changing. But I’m getting far too ahead of myself, what else is new! Let me elaborate.
Welcome to the third edition of my series of Guides to some of the places I have been so fortunate to have been travelling to. I think that recommendations from friends is quite possibly the only way that I would travel. Have any of you been burned like I have been burned when it comes to trusting Trip Advisor? Somehow that ‘quaint family-owned restaurant’ translates to literally someone’s mom making you a pasta dish in her basement. I have trust issues. Let me be that friend who guides you!
I am so beyond excited to share with you my Guide of Provence. As a visual reference, if any of you missed my vlog about Provence, I would highly suggest (shameless plug) checking it out, because sometimes writing and still photos don’t do it justice. Next level gorgeous and might accompany this blog quite well!
So let’s talk location – Provence is a great destination to visit because it boasts 300 days of sunshine. Excuse me, come again? Even if it didn’t already have the rolling vineyards and the sumptuous allure of French food, I would be totally sold on this fact alone and flipping furiously through real-estate brochures to buy immediately. It was a casual 3 hour flight into Marseille airport, and I have to say that one of my favourite things to do through the trip was the simple act of driving down some of the most incredible roads.
We traveled to Provence in October, which is supposed to be a bit of a dicey time to travel in Provence, however we were not disappointed. It was the perfect combination of crisp weather and sunshine – my personal favourite. And not to mention, a less touristic time to go there which is always a treat, n’est ce pas? *full disclosure, I will be pulling out all of the French expressions that I picked up over there because they are too cute not to use* Oui oui bonjour!
So I have to say that I have been to many beautiful homes around the world, and this one literally left me shaking. We flew into Marseilles airport – we finally arrived, after months of dreaming of visiting this absolutely perfect home in Provence that I have been drooling over for months. It is called Le Mas de Chabran – it is a home away from home. You know that perfect situation that doesn’t feel like a hotel. You just feel like you have arrived at your very own home in Provence. If I’m dreaming, don’t wake me up!
You are greeted by the majestic fountain in the front of the home that has that babbling sound that instantly chills me out, and a garden that is beautifully curated. Little touches of pink grace the dining room, however another room is more masculine and I could see Ali enjoying a cigar. My favourite room was the living area, where there was a massive stone fireplace. Each room is a masterpiece in itself. The colour of the bookcases is this deep and romantic bordeaux colour, and filled with leather-bound books. Magnifique.
You can go horse riding, go on safari, do yoga, there is antiquing- you name it, they got it. The piece de resistance? Our very own wine fridge filled with Whispering Angel. And did I mention the chickens?? Roaming the property, these ladies add the perfect atmospheric touch.There is an outdoor swimming pool with a little bar in the corner, how convenient, and the largest ornate mirror in the hallway for all of your outfit inspections (or in my case, to report on some of my outfits of the day).
Le Bistrot du Paradou is a thrice Michelin-starred restaurant not too far from where we stayed. I have to say that walking up, I wasn’t completely sure… but our host assured us that it was the best. One of those place that “if you know you know”. And frankly, if the French recommend it, how can I contest that? They only serve two things at this restaurant, but oh my goodness, you won’t be disappointed. I had the escargot which was the usual delicious combo of garlic and butter, and for my main I had the best mashed potato of my life with exceptional meat and veg. To finish we had the most spectacular cheese board, definitely one of the best ones we have ever seen.
Mas de le Fouc. The table was jaw-dropping! The decor was stunning, the food was so colourful and flavourful. You look out onto a beautiful body of water which with a glass of rose is absolute heaven.
You can also choose to have a meal made for you in Mas de Chabran, especially if you had a day out all day and need a little bit of downtime with the ones you love.
Le Bastide de Gordes is an exceptional little hotel in Provence where we ate lunch one day (Josie found it, lucky us!). I would say that you should definitely go twenty minutes before your reservation so you can have a little nosey around, it is so Marie-Antoinette. Very classic French.
If you have the time, I loved going on safari with Camargue Alpilles Safaris in non-other than their ultracool Defender. While seeing some of their natural flora and fauna, I learnt about their export resources (Like rice apparently! Who knew?) and I simply love absorbing information like this while I’m on holiday because I think it makes for a holistic view of the area you visit. Andddd I saw a flamingo! Did you know that they change colour throughout the season?? I simply love their colour and their little gangly bodies!
We then went into town, and I think I was the most drawn to some of the gorgeous boutiques with little jams and biscuits. I needed to bring home some of that world-renowned Provence soap of course. How cute was it that there was a shop completely dedicated to truffles – I’m sort of off truffles these days, but Provence truffles were something different. Definitely worth a little nosey around!
Unfortunately I was eaten alive on the day that I was supposed to go antiquing, but I would absolutely suggest going to the antique markets in Provence. I would also make more time to visit the vineyards in the area, but our trip was organised by Mas de Chabran, so we didn’t have too much extra time to explore. I guess this means that I have to go back soon. A bientot!