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Rea View Searching for warmth and calm

France, southern style

FRANCE | Sunday, 23 October 2011 | Views [640]

After escaping the torrential rains in Italy, we coast along the French Riviera. Beautiful seascapes and palm lined boulevards but much too densely populated and processed for us, so we head inland to Provence. Ah, Provence is as sublime as they say. We’re soothed by landscapes favoured by Van Gogh and author Peter Mayle. Picturesque hilltop towns beckon us to their vistas and fortress remains. Carcassonne’s castle is well preserved and we imagine the lives of its previous occupants as we roam the cobblestones and ramparts at night. Avignon is another mystical place we’ve heard of since childhood, and so we’re captivated by its well fortified gates and walls.

Leaving the narrow lanes of ancient towns behind, we skirt the Pyrenees mountains, winding up to lofty passes and delving through narrow tunnels. Then on to straight Roman roads tree-lined by Napolean, north to Auch in the Midi-Pyrenees region, where we visit friends at their wonderful villa in the rolling French countryside. Savouring delicacies and local wine, “champagne” and aperitifs on the lawn in the perfect climate. We approve of this civilized lifestyle!

And we love southern France. But if we’re to see the sights of Spain, we must bade farewell and turn south again. Au revoir, mes amis!

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