I've really been missing Provence. But with the U.S. dollar faring so abysmally against the Euro, right now I'll have to console myself with paintings. On my last trip to France, I fell in love with the Luberon. With its gorgeous scenery, wonderful olives, cheeses, and wine, it is an easy place to love.
"Sentier aux Coquelicots" (Trail of Poppies) Oil on canvas, 24x30"
The village of LourmarinÂ is a little gem, and a great destination for the plein air painter. There is no train station there, but in many ways, I see this as a plus because it wasn't overrun with tourists. It was lively enough in the daytime as it is a very charming town and popular with daytrippersÂ (it rightfully earned a listing in the book "The Most Beautiful Villages of Provence".) But at night it was extremely quiet and peaceful.
Lourmarin is easily walkable, and for a small town, there were a number of good restaurants to choose from. On longer hikes we soon found ourselves out in the dazzling countryside, with vineyards, olive groves, cherry orchards and lots of wildflowers in the spring and summer. Needless to say, I always had my painting gear handy. Thanks to my fabulous husband, my burden was usually relatively light, which is why he soon took to referring to himself as "le pack-mule". ;-) Further afiled, short drives easily took us to some of the other charming villages nearby (Ansouis, Bonnieux, Roussillon, etc.) which had their own charm and beauty.
I am sure we wouldn't have done wrong basing ourselves out of any one of the many lovely villages in Provence, but our time in Lourmarin was pretty darn near idyllic, and I long to return. Loooong. And I'm sure I will. It might take me a little time to save the extra pennies, but I will.
p.s. I did!