April 15, 2016
Provence in April.
Xavier and I took a lightning trip to the south of France this past weekend. The light in that region has a pull – its own force. Really powerful even in the early spring. We stayed in Aix-en-Provence, lured by honey alleys and pewter shutters – violaceous blooming trees. Streets for ambling. We explored the city and the countryside around it – walked through olive groves lined with blossoming fruit trees. The scope of outdoor exploring/unearthing beauty is endless. Honestly, I would stay forever, never returning.
I spent an extra bit of time in the region after Xavier had left. I explored the tiny hilltop village Saint-Paul de Vence. I had heard it referenced many times when discussing the south of France with people. I was charmed, but also suprised by how almost synthetic it felt. Strolling down the very authentic cobblestone streets (about as wide as one's outstretched arms) - I looked up down, awed by the perfection of the buildings and the position of the plants and the boutiques (the town is overrun by shops). It is literally an imagined, tiny French village - preserved and kept for tourists. I wondered if anyone really lived there.
I also stayed in Antibes. I know one other little town down the shore pretty well, but I always like to search out the "Sentier du Littoral" (coastal path) when near the coast in France. Antibes did not disappoint. Start at Plage Garoupe (park there) and the path winds beautifully along the coast - remote and far for about 2 hours around the Cap d'Antibes. I did the hike close to sundown - pretty stunning.