I recently joined three friends for a long weekend in Provence. One person wanted to visit the antiques market at L’Île-sur-la-Sorgue, and that was the seed of a lovely four days in one of my favorite regions of France.
Day 1 : Arles
We set off in two cars, because Maryse and Claude would be continuing on to Grasse, while Monique and I were returning to Bize. I won the coin toss to be the driver, so Monique became my co-pilote.
Maryse had found a lovely chambres-d’hôtes at a farm not far from Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, and that was our base for the weekend’s activities. As the time approached, Claude suggested that we leave early on the first day, in order to spend most of the day in Arles before going to our farm.
Day 2 : Saint-Rémy
Day 3 : L’Île-sur-la-Sorgue
Day 4 : Carrières de Lumières
A head-scratcher of a road sign Wait, what? To give this road sign some context, it’s on a busy road with two lanes in each direction. The speed limit—completely ignored—is around 30 mph/50 kmh. Cars are coming up a slight hill, so the unaware driver can’t see what’s ahead. The first warning is this sign, which a driver has about 1/3 of a second to see and digest, and then … there’s the mess shown in the diagram. The arrow with a diagonal to the right? That’s a hard right onto a narrow bridge. And the place where you stop if you plan to continue straight is in the middle of the intersection, so cars are moving on all sides around you.
Parting thought: American Thanksgiving The American holiday of Thanksgiving falls on November 25. For me, this is a time to reflect on all that I have to be grateful for. There is much. This is a wondrous world we live in, full of beauty and mystery. Life itself is abundant with joy, humor, warmth, and yes, occasional challenges. Rising above all else, though, are the people. It is people and community and the love they create that is the single greatest thing in life. Thank you for being present in this world, for being who you are, and for being part of my life. I give thanks that you are here.
In the United States, late November means Thanksgiving, a holiday that was intended to recognize a spirit of harmonious living and sharing during a difficult time, and a way of showing gratitude for a successful harvest. Americans have a lot of different ways of recognizing this holiday—American football is often involved—but I think of it as a time to be together with those you love, to share the bounty of good food, and to remember all that we have to be thankful for.
With this year’s confinement in France, I haven’t been able to stray far from home, and I’ll be enjoying my Thanksgiving feast solo (see a photo of last year’s dinner below). Throughout this message, I’m sprinkling in a few views of autumn leaves near my house. Here in my little corner of paradise, we don’t have the red maple trees of New England, nor the golden aspen of Colorado, but we do have an abundance of wine trees,* and they’ve given us a glorious show this year.