Continuing from last week's post about my time in France, this week, I'm going to take you into the heart of the French countryside.
When we reached Lourmarin, a small French village in Provence, it felt like we were stepping into a natural wonderland! You could see every shade of green imaginable and just like that you'd stumble upon a patch of lavender. The cedar trees touched the sky.
Our little apartment was right across the street from Cafe Gaby (that I had read about in Peter Mayle's book!). This was a surprise. We had only to look out our window to observe the goings-on at the world-famous cafe! It filled my heart with JOY!
I spent a few minutes every morning standing by the window looking outside. I could see the village clock (that struck a bell at every hour), see the shops opening up below, and the happenings at Cafe Gaby. There were usually 3-4 regulars who sat at the cafe for hours, silently drinking coffee, smoking a pipe, observing people or playing with this little pup who was having the time of his life jumping around from one table to the next!
Over the next few days, I found myself noticing specific things about Provencal home & hospitality. How they made you feel welcome, the colors, the sense of homeliness and how they invited nature into their daily life.
Here's 2 aspects that I thought were standout and very unique to this little town,
1. inviting storefronts
2. simple & charming floral entryways to homes
Part of Lourmarin's appeal is that the entire village gives that leisurely, laid back vibe.
The shop owners will indulge you in conversation (we went right before peak season, so there were admittedly fewer customers).
My friend Nanou owns a beautiful romantic boutique, Rose de Bagatelle, that's close to the village center. She was at the shop with her baby grand-daughter. We later met her daughter too and it turns out, we were renting the apartment that belonged to an aunt!
I loved the way her boutique & some of the other shops on that street, created this lovely inviting feel outside the store.
Outside the Rose de Bagatelle, there was a beautiful birdcage with roses, hung alongside the apparel. It was eye-catching.
I asked Nanou where & how she'd found so many beautiful things to decorate her shop with. It turns out she had DIY-ed most of it!
There was a pastel lavender & blue canopy at the entrance of her shop, above the door. It was magnificent. (unfortunately, I don't have a picture of it!). She had taken the canopy from an old crib that belonged to her daughter, repainted it and converted it into a unique entryway to her store.
It's this natural creativity & flair that I find super appealing about the French.
One of the boutiques had their wares laid out on benches, or hanging off small flower pots. Cute.
simple & charming floral entryways
Almost every home we walked past, had beautiful flower arrangements and potted plants at the entrance. The homes were painted in shades of ochre & the pots and flowers were a nice contrast and gave them a touch of charm. Plum and lime green planters, poppies growing alongside the window sill or a camellia swinging gracefully in a pot, were always just the right touch.
There's LOTS more I could share with you here from my time in Provence, but I'm going to wind up for now. I'll share more in bits & pieces in future posts!
Have you traveled to a new country or city recently? And what's something you've loved about it? Tell me below.