Category Archives: Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

A Slice of Life in the Lubéron, Episode 150

Slice of life in the Lubéron with Heather Long

Some people have all the luck: Heather Long got to spend a slice of life in the Lubéron and comes on the show to share her experiences and some delightful cultural misunderstandings that she experienced along the way.

In this episode we chat about restaurants and places she particularly enjoyed and why she recommends them. She also explains why you should not let yourself be intimidated by difference and that French people are a real and eager to get to know you and share their culture with you. Life in the Lubéron is simple and satisfying in ways that will surprise you.

Places mentioned in this episode

Lubéron, Ansouis, Lourmarin, Mérindol, Pertuis, Gorges de Régalons, Gordes, Vacqueyras, Gigondas, Cassis, les Calenques de Cassis, Marseille soccer, Cucuron, Bonnieux, Roussillon, Abbey de Sénanque

Recommended in this episode

Pizzeria Nonni in Lourmarin, L’Art Glacier in Ansouis Château la Dorgonne in La Tour d’Aigues, Château Constantin now owned by William Chase in Lourmarin, La Perle de Jade Vietnamese restaurant in La Tour d’Aigues, La Cave à Aimé in Mérindol, Fontaine de Vaucluse. Book: Footsteps – The Luberon and Surrounds

Related Episodes

If you like this episode you should check out Episode 110 on the Cannes Film Festival going on right now, Episode 66 on Arles, Episode 65 on the Pont du Gard, Episode 37 on Marseille.

Join Us in France Book Group on Goodreads

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.
 Support the show on Patreon.

A Slice of Life in the Lubéron with Heather Long

What You Will Learn in this Episode with Timestamps

[1’25 ] Thank you for joining the Patreon support Mike August and a shout-out to your husband’s most excellent podcast Scriptnotes.

[3’18] The Inaugural Paris Tour is happening this week, if you’d like to follow our adventures, ask to join our Facebook Group. To learn about our most current tour offerings go to Addicted to France.

[4’47] This whole episode is going to be about making other people drool about what you did in the Lubéron.

[5’17] The village of Ansouis, do you say the “s” or not?

[6’17] Heather introduces herself and why she and her husband spent two months in the Lubéron. This village was a good place to experience full immersion.

[7’51] How did you pick this lovely place in particular?

[8’25] One criteria was a walk-able town.

[9’55] The difference between a “maison de village” and a “lottissement” .

[10’20] A long-long time ago in many “maison de village”, the ground floor is where the animals used to live and people setup their house above the barn.

[11’26] On a different trip they stayed in Mérindol where they farmed silkworms.

[12’26] Let’s locate Ansouis and the Lubéron on a map.

[14’25] Scenic drive between Lourmarain and Gordes

[15’46] Books by Peter MaillePeter Maille made the Lubéron famous in the English-speaking world. What makes this area so charming.

[17’58] Why is France so scenic? There is a reason for this!

[19’22] Great books and movies about the Lubéro: Manon des Sources, Jean de Florette, and other books by Marcel Pagnol. Another good one is Les lettres de mon moulin (a collection of short stories, including “le curé de cucugnan” that Annie mentions). Uncorked is the book we’ll be reviewing soon on the podcast. You join the Join Us in France Book Group on Goodreads if you’re a reader.

[21’57] Playing “pétanque”, the bacci-like game.

[24’54] The unspoken yet very rules rules pertaining to drinking wine in France (and alcohol in general).

[25’15] Cooking with local foods: duck, rabbit, oysters. Eating outside by candle-light. Buying Paella and Rotisserie chicken at the market.

[29’31] Getting to know local markets when you stay for a while, and finding the ones that are more to your liking.

[30’34] Pizzeria Nonni in Lourmarin.

[31′] Some of the funny things that happened to them in France. Grocery shopping in Pertuis and how French grocery carts are different in France. How you should weigh fruits and vegetables before you get to the checkout. Feeling like a dumb American tourist.

[36′] Don’t be intimidated by difference, try things even if it’s new and strange!

[36’38] Attending a celebration  in the village and misunderstanding how village celebrations work. French guys trying to get the American visitors drunk.

[41’45] Spectacular fireworks display and getting to know people in the village because they weren’t afraid to attend this village celebration.

[42′] French people can come across as unfriendly because they don’t smile at you on the streets and they don’t talk to you on the streets.

[43’16] Bring your own bags at the grocery store! Using bio-degradable bags for loose produce.

[45’22] How did you find the house you were staying in?

[46’47] What are places you visited that you recommend?

  • L’Art Glacier near Ansouis
  • Château la Dorgonne in La Tour d’Aigues and the way they do the visit is original and delightful, they send their two dogs along and you can see the vines and the olive trees
  • Château Constantin now owned by William Chase in Lourmarin
  • Hiking in the Lubéron following path markers
  • Mushrooming
  • Gorges de Regalons near Mérindol (walk through a crevasse, many caves too, you can come up on the top of the mountain if you keep going long enough)
  • The scenic town of Gordes with art galeries
  • Vacqueyras and Gigondas, great places for wine, not as well-known as Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Vacqueyras has a great wine cooperative where you can buy the wine on tap

[50′] Americans may think that French people are fancy when it comes to wine, but we’re actually not for the most part. French people don’t drink wine at the wrong time of day, but it doesn’t matter if you drink it out of a plastic jug.

[60′] In Vacqueyras you will see the street lined with big “platane”(plane) trees and the Café du cours (not “coeur” as I said on the show) where they have a great duck barbecue dish.

[61′] Pizza trucks are dangerous in France!

[62′] Vietnamese food in La Tour d’Aigues, La Perle de Jade, they make great Vietnamese hot pot or fondue

[64′] Les Calenques de Cassis which are more difficult that it seems they should be.

[65′] Soccer match in Marseille where the fans are extremely intense: the sing, they chant, they dance, you can’t hear the person next to you talking.

[66′] Camargue to see the flamingo, the horses, the salt bays.

[67′] Cucuron is a delightful little town with a great market—funny name, it sounds like “rounded behind” in little French kid parlance.

[68′] Little wine bar called in Mérindol La Cave à Aimé.

[72′] Fontaine de Vaucluse, natural pool that floods the area around in the Spring, but it’s a dreamy beautiful blue the rest of the year. There is also a nice market there and the town is lovely too.

[75′] Bonnieux, it’s along the Gordes drive and it’s worth a stop. You can drive almost all the way to the top and then walk, there are beautiful trees, it’s a lovely place to stop for a picnic or stop at a restaurant. It’s steep and it overlooks the valley, so it is picturesque.

[77′] Roussillon and the red rocks. It’s a pleasant town to walk through, it’s a lovely place for a hike because it’s so different from other places in France or even in the Lubéron. Don’t just go through the town, but do hike around. There is a place in the city where you can pay an entry fee, but you can see the same things on other hiking paths.

[79′] Abbey de Sénanque, the most photographed lavender fields in Provence, the products the monks make there are wonderful, truly potent lavender products. The right time of year to see the lavender fields in bloom is late June to mid-July.

[81′] The light and scents of the Lubéron are what make it special. The environment there is unlike the rest of France. You get the sequedas, the dry air, lavender, thyme, rosemary, that grow wild, and when you step on them as you hike you get wonderful sensations. That’s why Van Gogh and Cézanne painted there, the light is gorgeous there.

Conclusion

The Lubéron has so much to offer, it’s hard to put your finger on only a few reasons to go spend some time there. Heather tells wonderful tales of discovery and of making genuine connections with locals. She went through the obligatory confusion about how things work in France, which is always entertaining to Annie as a French person who expects all of those things. Most of us never get to live there, but we should at least visit, don’t you think?


RSS | iTunes | Android | Stitcher Radio | TuneIn Radio Continue reading A Slice of Life in the Lubéron, Episode 150

Provence Cycling Tours Trip Report, Episode 149


provence cycling tours Jim and Ilona

Ever wonder what it’s like setting off to see France on a bicycle? I have wondered many times myself because I admire people who take Provence Cycling Tours or cycling tours anywhere in France for that matter!

Ilona and Jim Kucharczyk love active vacations and they’ve ridden in the Bourgogne area, the Loire Valley, Provence and are planning on an upcoming tour of the Bordeaux area. They come on the show to share tips and tricks for those who are thinking about doing the same thing and could use a little bit of forewarning about what lies ahead.

Places Mentioned in this Episode: Avignon, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Lisle-sur-la-Sorgue, Gordes, Roussillon, Les Baux-de-Provence, Arles, Uzès, Pont-du-Gard

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.

Provence Cycling Tours Trip Report, Episode 149 

Episode Highlights with Timestamps

  • [55″] Thank you new Patreon Supporters Lauren Wetterhahn and Alexander Schraff. Thank you also  Lorin Sandoval and Wayne Fella for Tipping Your Guide via PayPal!
  • [1’44] Submit praise for the podcast to annie@joinusinfrance.com with subject line Praise. I need your words, your city and state as well as a photo that shows your face.
  • [2’49] The Inaugural Paris Tour is coming up very fast, I am very excited about it. I am also excited about the upcoming South West Tour. To check out our Tours, go to Addicted to France, our sister site.
  • [3’27] Podcasting News from Edison Research. If you want to help someone listen to a podcast, read this.
  • [5’06] Visiting the Grotte de Niaux, la Rivière Souterraine de Labouiche and Carcassonne.
  • [6’01] It’s great to see how many of you talk about visiting the South West of France on our Facebook Closed Group.
  • [6’37] You can connect with me by emailing annie@joinusinfrance.com or call to leave a voice mail: (801) 806-1015. This is a US number that we only use as a voice mailbox and a great place for you to leave your questions or comments about the show.
  • [7’47] Cycling trip around Provence in October 2016. Ilona and Jim are not Spring Chickens, they’ve been married for 35 years, and they took up cycling 4 years ago.
  • [9’26] They do have a fair bit of training, but they worked up to 70 or 80 miles per day slowly.
  • [10’31] In France cycling is huge, there are cyclist all over, especially in rural France. Marion Clignet was on Episode 52.
  • [12’28] Why did they choose Provence? Comparing the level of difficulty between different regions of France.
  • [14’43] Choosing bigger roads to go longer distances. Doing day-trips from a central location instead of a circular route. The issue of luggage.
  • [16’52] What’s a great central location in Provence and renting bicycles from L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue.
  • [18’18] What happens if you run into a problem like a flat tire or a mechanical problem?
  • [20’20] Did you consider joining a group of cyclists? No, because we love the planning process. More freedom if you ride alone.
  • [21’40] Vélo Loisir Provence Association
  • [24’40] Are French drivers considerate to cyclists?
  • [26′] What GPS did you use? Garmin and Ride with GPS, some D roads are busy, especially around Avignon
  • [27′] French roads classification: A for Autoroute (freeways), N for National, D for Départementale. Have you used Google Maps’ cycling option? Ride with GPS is better because it’s more of a community where real people share experiences of cycling.
  • [28’31] How often did you get lost? Letting Garmin select dirt roads as an option.
  • [31′] Getting lost is par for the course when riding or hiking.
  • [31’51] Provence cycling tours day by day itinerary
  • [32′] Fly into Paris CDG, RER train into the city of Paris, then the TGV to Avignon, then a bus to Saint-Rémy de Provence.
  • [32’40] The first leg of cycling was north through Avignon, with Chateauneuf-du-Pape as their destination for the day. That was a lovely ride with lots of vineyards, small roads, beautiful views onto the Rhone Valley.
  • [35′] How did you plan your lunch stops?
  • [36′] Stop at the restaurant Le Pistou in Châteauneuf-du-Pape
  • [37′] Long riding day on Saturday at Lisle-sur-la-Sorgue, Gordes, and Roussillon, which was challenging as far as elevation is concerned.
  • [39’47] Running out of daylight and trying to pack too much into one day because it means there isn’t enough time spent at each location.
  • [40’26] Planning overnight stays in a few select places so there’s enough time to see it. 75 or 75 miles is too far for an out and back.
  • [41’55] Les Baux-de-Provence, mistral wind and needing to walk.
  • [43’48] Riding to Arles. Valley roads and river roads tend to be flat (unless it’s a gorge!)
  • [45’11] Stumbling upon random Roman ruins because you’re cycling. Walking and cycling are probably the best way to see France.
  • [46’15] Giving up on cycling for one day because of the wind and weather.
  • [46’44] Bus driver refusing to back her bus up a few inches to open the bay on the cargo bus so they could take their bikes on.
  • [47’40] Learning French
  • [49’14] Uzès and the Pont-du-Gard
  • [50’20] Planning another trip around Bordeaux: stay in Bordeaux and doing over-nights in Médoc, Saint-Julien or Saint-Estèphe, Saint-Emilion, cycling association in Bordeaux called Les Dérailleurs.
  • [53] Paris for a few days where they took a walking tour and a dinner cruise, picnic at the Tuilleries.
  • [54’09] General tips for people who want to go on provence cycling tours. Try things so you can have realistic expectations, but don’t be afraid to try. Plan out where you are going to eat and bring snacks.
  • [56′] In rural areas you have to bring food and water because stores close and keep strange hours.
  • [59′] Balancing pleasure with sports, taking your time to see things and yet not stop all the time to take photos!
  • [61′] Bring battery backup power and put your phone in airplane mode when not using it. Little battery packs are vital if you’re going to be away from your hotel all day. Sometimes you can plug-in at the restaurant.
  • [64′] Signup for a France data plan with your provider. Buying a local SIM card is not worth it any more.
  • [63′] France is so gorgeous that you could take a cycling vacation every year for the rest of your life and not see it all!

Conclusion

Cycling vacations will keep you strong and healthy and will give you good reasons to enjoy dessert and a bottle of wine at night. And Provence is gorgeous. Who could ask for anything more?

Support the show on Patreon.


RSS | iTunes | Android | Stitcher Radio | TuneIn Radio

Save

Save

Save

Honeymoon Ideas: the French Riviera, Episode 145

Honeymoon Ideas: Gary and Leslie in Èze
Gary and Leslie in Èze

Honeymoon Ideas: the French Riviera

This episode is full of great honeymoon ideas for people who want to have the best of both worlds: a vacation where you explore a new country and city, plus spend plenty of time relaxing at the beach and enjoying one another’s company.

In the episode Romantic Paris, Gary told us about their time in Paris, but as fun as that was, Gary and Leslie also wanted to spend time on the Mediterranean Sea. Why? Because that’s where all the celebrities love to go because it is so scenic and pleasant. So, settle in with the drink of you choice and find some of the best honeymoon ideas for 2017!

If you like this episode and want to visit the French Riviera, you should also listen to Episode 118 and Episode 37 about Marseilles; Episode 33 on Aix-en-Provence; Episode 83 about the Baux-de-Provence, the Lubéron and the Abbey de Sénanque.

Hotel recommended in this episode: Hôtel La Pérouse in Nice. Also check out Gary’s new blog on Romantic Vacations.

Places mentioned in this episode: Nice, Cannes, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, Èze, La Turbie, Monaco.

Would you like to tour France with Annie and Elyse? Visit Addicted to France to choose an upcoming tour.
 Episode Highlights
  • [2’06] Announcing Enhanced Show Notes for Patreon Supporters
  • [8’12”] 4 days and 4 nights in Nice, on the French Riviera
  • [9′] The idea was to explore Paris, but also add a relaxed but take time for the romance as well
  • [10′] The French Riviera where the elites go to vacation and some of the most beautiful places in the world
  • [11’31] Nice seemed like a good place to be based out of because it is so central, and old-town Nice is so quaint
  • [12’15] Thinking about renting a luxury car but changing their mind after learning some specifics about driving in France, and especially parking on the Riviera (listen to the episode in full for more reasons not to do that!)
  • [13’42] Booking private tours just for the two of them on Viatour instead and finding out some interesting historical facts from the drivers/guides
  • [14′] You can see strong historical ties between France and Italy when visiting the Riviera, and it looks like Tuscany in places
  • [15′] Great Pizza and Italian food at the French Riviera, and how they don’t slice it for you
  • [16′] Their driver took them to Cannes (you can also listen to the episode about the Cannes Film Festival) to get a quick taste
  • [17″15] Antibes, which has a lovely Picasso Museum, but if you want to see amazing yachts and boats, this is the place to go
  • [19″] Saint-Paul de Vence, the Jewel of the French Riviera, a walled medieval city with a lot of history, cobblestone streets, and art galleries
  • [21′]Èze, another medieval city with a beautiful not-to-be-missed garden at the top of the hill, great gelato, great cheese and meat platter, and the Parfumarie Galimard where you can get a free tour of how they make soap
  • [23′] Parking in Èze is difficult, La Turbie is very close to Èze and also very nice to visit
  • [24′] Monaco, second smallest country in the world, extremely rich, very interesting to see, you can see sites where they filmed To Catch a Thief, you can see the Casino and all the luxury cars, they drove on the road where the Grand Prix de Monaco takes place, there’s also a great aquarium, you can tour the Palace
  • [29′] Is 4 days enough? Just right? Too much?
  • [30’15] Hôtel La Pérouse in Nice, Gary describes the wonderful view and great services
  • [33’44] Local food and restaurants: a lot of seafood, pastas with octopus
  • [35′] Popular drinks in Nice:  a “Monaco” (beer + grenadine) and a “Panaché” (beer + limonade), Pastis or Anisette (anis-flavored apéritif drink)
  • [36′] La Fougasse: bread with onion and anchovies or other items, pizza is also very good, great ice-cream parlors (Fenocchio is a favorite of Annie’s)
  • [37’30] Beach clubs: a highlight of their honeymoon, they went to Castel Plage, you pay for lounge chairs, umbrella, towels, and you have service, food, drinks (including a very large Blonde de Saint-Tropez)
  • [44′] It’s a rocky beach in Nice, so it’s good to have a beach chair and have beach shoes, and then you don’t have to worry about messy sand!
  • [46’30] September was great weather in both Paris and Nice
  • [48′] Old town Nice is lovely, has great restaurant, great to walk around and explore
  • [49′] Spending 4 full days in Nice would be too long, but breaking it up with visits to other areas makes it just right
  • [49’30] How listening to the podcast was critical in helping Gary get inspiration

Conclusion

To sum it all up, to come up with great honeymoon ideas, you have to bring a mix of the following magical elements:

  1. Beautiful surroundings: both Paris and the French Riviera have an over-abundance of that!
  2. Pleasant weather: September in France is not too hot, not too cold, it is just right!
  3. Be willing to pay for a lovely hotel in a great location.
  4. Plan on some tourism, but limit those activities to 3 or 4 hours per day, so there’s plenty of time to relax.
  5. Don’t try to do it all yourself: driving yourself can be fun, but it can also be stressful. Let other people take care of anything stressful for you.
  6. Take into account the preferences of both spouses, you can have plenty of exploration mixed in with relaxation if you plan it right as Gary did.
  7. If you enjoyed the show be sure to subscribe below so you don’t miss a single episode!

Support the show on Patreon.


RSS | iTunes | Android | Stitcher Radio | TuneIn Radio

 

Save

Save

Save