It was my third trip to Paris, but my first time to Provence and it was nothing short of magical. We spent a week there with friends, in one large house with a chef, and spent our time lounging by the pool, playing Mahjong, eating incredible meals, and visiting the most charming little towns. Unlike Paris, the pace of life in the countryside felt slow and quiet, with unfussy, but equally delicious food. Though we've yet to solidify any plans, it's hard to imagine us not wanting to recreate the entire vacation in the future. Here's a glimpse at what that week looked like!
We took the train from Paris to Avignon, which was simple and quick (a little over two hours) and rented a car once we were there. Dissimilar to our trips to Tuscany in the past, where the house was in a much more remote location, I loved how much exploring we were able to do since everything was pretty much within 30 minutes of the house. Market days in the towns were something that we were all very excited about, which are basically large farmers'-markets-meet-flea-markets. And don't get me wrong - they were exciting to experience, though quite overwhelming as it was very hot (in the upper 90s every day), super crowded, and with little parking. Now that we've done them though, I'd still go back to both towns on non-market days for a much calmer experience.
L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue was the first town we went to and is considered one of the very best places for antiques. The sheer amount of gorgeous ceramics, paintings, and furniture we came across had us all considering going in on a crate together just so we could get it all home. I did purchase a still life of fruit, with a tiny mouse in the corner, that I adore and can't wait to get re-framed now that we're home. We also went to St-Rémy-de-Provence, another adorable town (VanGogh spent a year in an asylum there and is also the place where he painted The Starry Night) on market day. Next time we'd skip that and instead go back when it's not as busy, especially since the cafes all looked adorable. The had a ton of great boutiques as well, including Atzana, Aparté, and Les Comptoirs des Alpilles, where I picked up things like linen kitchen towels, little baskets, and soaps.
A few other notable trips I wouldn't miss - Gourdes, a stunning village perched atop the hills, that felt straight out of a fairytale. We stopped there for about an hour (about as much time as you need) on our way to Le Saint Hubert in Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt for lunch. The view was spectacular, as was the food, which featured local produce in inventive, delicious plates. Last, we went for dinner at Le Bistrot du Paradou and had what was easily the most epic cheeseboard (and Crème Brûlée actually) in my entire life.