Where to Stay

A life­style of beauty sea­soned with sim­ple plea­sures

World Travel Magazine - - Contents -

Lake Como - the des­ti­na­tion where ro­mance is about the eter­nal and where love means never hav­ing to say a word. It is love that per­fumes the air here.

It’s been a long time since you con­sid­ered your tastes and how they may have changed. The in­clu­sion of the “gas­tro­nomic meal of the French” on the UN­ESCO list of In­tan­gi­ble Cul­tural Her­itage calls to much more than your palate. On 21st March 2019, French global gas­tron­omy will hit the world stage on 5 con­ti­nents in over 150 coun­tries, in­volv­ing French em­bassies and chefs from around the world. The Fête de la Gas­tronomie will take place as part of the in­ter­na­tional event “Goût de France/good France,” the brain­child of Alain Du­casse, France’s best-known su­perchef and first to re­ceive the max­i­mum three-star Miche­lin rat­ing. “French menus” served up around the world in­clude mouth­wa­ter­ing ren­dezvous, tast­ings, pic­nics, and mas­ter­classes for days of de­li­cious dis­cov­ery high­light­ing France’s in­no­va­tive chefs and culi­nary her­itage.

Provence ex­em­pli­fies that her­itage in breath­tak­ingly de­li­cious ways. On the shores of the Mediter­ranean Sea, with the Alps to the North and Rhône River run­ning through it, leg­endary sun-drenched Provence’s idyl­lic cli­mate and fer­tile soil pro­vides stun­ning vis­tas––not only the sub­ject of many a mas­ter­work, but also fer­tile lands of in­cred­i­ble bounty. En­joy the art of the pic­nic and other sim­ple plea­sures here at the culi­nary cross­roads of Europe and the Mediter­ranean.

Provence pro­vides the pic­turesque, per­fect place for your unique gas­tro­nomic tour. It not only casts a spell on cou­ples fall­ing ever deeper in love with each other, but Provence also calls to our soul, coax­ing us into parts of our­selves we might not have made room for be­fore. It’s time to make some mem­o­ries, and no­body does it bet­ter. Af­ter choos­ing a dress at a me­dieval vil­lage’s lo­cal mar­ket, you stretch out un­der the stars and lis­ten to the hum of Ci­cadas while nib­bling on calis­sons.

Time has no mean­ing when you are in love. But you can find mean­ing in the calis­sons at the new Musée Du Calis­son. Within world-renown con­fec­tioner Roy René’s place nearby Aix-en­provence, the mu­seum gives a de­lec­ta­ble in­sight into the his­tory of the al­mond in Provence and the birth of the town’s leg­endary candy.

Ex­cep­tional beauty and gas­tron­omy here sat­isfy ev­ery craving for life’s sim­ple plea­sures. A ro­man­tic pic­nic finds you head­ing into the laven­der-scented coun­try­side with cas­tle-dot­ted vis­tas.

Provence’s great­est com­mod­ity? Hap­pi­ness. It’s vir­tu­ally im­pos­si­ble to be un­happy stand­ing in fields of laven­der, the per­fect rose in hand. Try it. Then add ab­sinthe, pastis, rosé, bread, gar­lic, olive oil, truf­fles, and a great salami. This is the good stuff, mo­ments to savour for the rest of your life.

Tra­di­tional or mod­ern, you don’t need to be born an epi­curean to en­joy this nat­u­ral cui­sine and dis­cover new worlds of flavour here. And you don’t even have to pick a des­ti­na­tion. The best part of Provence is a li­cence to wan­der on a de­lec­ta­ble Provençal dis­cov­ery.

Of­fi­cially banned in 1915, break a few rules by in­dulging in an ab­sinthe tast­ing. En­joy the en­chant­ment of la fee verte, a pop­u­lar French nick­name for ab­sinthe mean­ing the green lady. Im­bibe in the worm­wood green elixir like artists and in­tel­lec­tu­als did back in the day when they needed a lit­tle in­spi­ra­tion. They also shaped the per­cep­tion of the drink in their art­work with some choos­ing to de­pict the drink as more of a se­duc­tress than a muse, ex­pos­ing the darker side of the green lady. The drink, in­vented by Dr Pierre Or­di­naire on a re­treat from the French Revo­lu­tion in the Swiss town of Cou­vet, soared in pop­u­lar­ity dur­ing the Great French Wine Blight in the mid-1800s, when it was used to cure ev­ery­thing from malaria to mi­graines.

Paul Ri­card, a busi­ness­man from Mar­seille, de­vel­oped a drink called pastis in the wake of the ab­sinthe frenzy. Savvy and stylish this tastemaker im­plored lots of chic side­kicks to push his drug of choice on the masses, and the rest is his­tory. Made of 45% ABV, the drink fea­tures green aniseed, star anise, fen­nel and plants with sim­i­lar aro­mas, and a sprin­kling of liquorice roots, as much a sym­bol of Provence as her uniquely sea­side, vine­yard-laden, sun­flower-filled coun­try­side.

Did some­one say wine? You’ve come to the right place. The Greeks be­gan the cul­ti­va­tion here around the 5th cen­tury BC. With 2,616 years of pro­duc­tion through­out An­tiq­uity in­vaders and traders brought the re­gion’s rosé across the Mediter­ranean. It all be­gan when the Pho­caeans washed up on the beaches of Mar­seille in 600 BC then ven­tured deep into Provence car­ry­ing their ‘light-coloured’ wines. The rest is his­tory. To­day Provence is known es­pe­cially for sunny days full of Rosé wines, but also fa­mous for the red and white wines.

En­joy a wine tour through the re­gion to ex­pe­ri­ence the warmth and friend­ship of the lo­cals as they meet to share a glass or two of their favourite wine, drunk with friends on ter­races. Be­gin in Châteauneuf-du-pape with a tour of Do­maine de Beau­re­nard for glo­ri­ously rich red wines, redo­lent of the heat and herbs of the south. You might be lucky enough to ar­rive dur­ing har­vest where grapes come in for de-stem­ming and crush­ing. View the wine cave and en­joy lin­ger­ing over their sam­ples in the tast­ing room. The old church at the top of the beau­ti­ful lit­tle town pro­vides some awe­some In­sta­gram shots for your feed.

Next, en­joy gor­geous Gigondas and the Do­maine La Bouissiere win­ery where your pour­ers have so much charisma, they could have their own late-night talk shows, and the stun­ning ter­race at the Caveau will en­chant as much as the fairy­tale vil­lage. Perched on a hill­top, a ru­ined cas­tle and campanile of­fer in­cred­i­ble panoramic views with vine­yards spilling over the sur­round­ing hill­sides in waves.

You’ll be get­ting weighed down with bot­tles by now, but that’s okay, you need plenty of wine for your stay. Next stop on the wined­ing road is Vac­queyras which doesn’t dis­ap­point with a tour the bio­dy­namic win­ery of Do­maine La Ligière. En­joy tak­ing a walk through the his­tory of the re­gion’s ap­pel­la­tion with one of their renowned som­me­liers.

Now that you have col­lected your favourite bot­tles, you’ll need a few snacks to bring out the flavours of your new favourite world­class wines. Thank­fully you won’t have to go far to find some of the world’s best ap­pe­tis­ers.

A visit to Menerbes is a great way to bring the fan­tasy of the re­gion to life, fea­tured in the book A YEAR IN PROVENCE. This charm­ing hill­top vil­lage is the per­fect place to visit an or­ganic olive oil pro­ducer who will en­joy re­gal­ing you with the tales of the life of olive trees and story of how some can live in ne­glect for hun­dreds of years, but when they thrive they can live for well over a thou­sand.

En­joy ex­plor­ing the many va­ri­eties of olives at a lo­cal mar­ket here––tanche, Pi­choline, Saloneque, you’ll find as many olives as there are laven­der fields. A side-trip to Bon­nieux finds you learn­ing about the in­tri­ca­cies of honey mak­ing and bee­keep­ing.

Speak­ing of thriv­ing, you’ll want some won­der­ful herbs and bread to go along with your olives and tape­nade. Wel­come to the land of the baguette, where they also cul­ti­vate the finest of herbs and aren’t afraid to use them. Lovers of fine cui­sine know that bread can be a meal in it­self. Go ahead and slather it with olive oil and rub it with gar­lic, or en­joy with gar­den-ripe toma­toes sprin­kled with herbs de Provence and an­chovies. But it’s the re­gion’s leg­endary goat cheese you’ll love. Don’t stop there, be sure to sam­ple the bouil­l­abaisse in Mar­seille too. You have plenty of time and places to ex­plore old favourites and, more im­por­tantly, branch out to dis­cover some­thing new like Pan-bag­nat, a spe­cial­ity from Nice, that sat­is­fies even the big­gest of ap­petites. Bon ap­petit! For more in­for­ma­tion, visit touris­mepaca.fr

Laven­der fields near Vil­lage of Rous­sil­lon

Calis­sons, tra­di­tional French Provence sweets

Canape with olive and tape­nade

Cheese plate in Provence

Vines at Sainte-vic­toire Vil­lage of Gordes Olive trees in Provence

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