I’ve always been inspired by Peter Mayle’s A Year in Provence. He drives around the Provencal countryside eating epic meals and describing the hilarious locals, many of whom are grumpy and backwards. But no matter how many holes are in their socks or much they hate Parisians, one mustn’t ever call them rednecks. Mais non! It’s the South of France, and they still have a nose for great wine, hunt for truffles and were farming organically before organic farming was cool.
So we rented a villa in the hilly village of Mougins, outside of Nice. When hiking, it offered sweeping views of the Mediterranean. We had a local boulengerie and patisserie, and daily we’d grab cafe au lait, croissants and quiche. We explored surrounding villages and stopped in bigger towns, such as Cannes and Nice.
But the focus of our trip was relaxation, and our villa gave the restorative feel we needed. The old stone house was shaded by giant olive trees. I uncovered a stone slab table in the yard – perfect for writing. There was a zipline, a hammock, avocado and lemon trees and a horse across the way. The semi-arid and sunny weather mirrored the paradise of Southern California. We didn’t want to leave.
Until we return, and return we will, we can always read A Year in Provence, Encore Provence and Toujours Provence. Over and over. Readers, I warn you. Don’t even think of opening these books while hungry!