“On était jeunes, on était beaux.” So said my parents-in-law frequently while we caravanned around the South of France. Well, to be fair, they caravanned, we slept in a pup tent. But they brought us to Provence! So I’m not complaining.
I suppose traveling throughout such a familiarly quiet, enchanting place with their now grown son and his Canadian (gasp!) bride could not help but bring them back to when they summered there with their babies and they were the young couple. Yes, there is a certain charm about Provence, and I have no shame in admitting that I was entirely taken in by it. With the exception of a certain land of green, it holds the place in my memory of most wistful trip I’ve taken. Which is why, when I think back to it, I’m left with the echo of my in-laws repeated line. But maybe, in Provence, we get to always be jeunes et beaux.
One of our most treasured experiences of our trip was sauntering through the market in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence on a Wednesday morning. You can find a very comprehensive guide to the market from Fresh Local and Best, here.
For a list of various markets’ schedules, click here.
After our morning of perusing, my mother-in-law was charged with the task of selecting a boulangerie to choose the pain, my father-in-law to choose a wine, and I to choose the olives. My husband made sure we never got lost. He is a master navigator, among other things. We drove for a stretch and finally settled on a patch of land that suited us all, pulled the car over, and ate our loot à la bonne franquette.
Have I mentioned yet how the French love their eggs? Oh, they love them. They love them runny, and they love them everywhere. Example:
I was skeptical at first, but after a couple hundred crêpes over the past several years, I stand corrected. I am an egg lover. I love them something fierce.
Eggs, rosé, markets, warm air that smells of herbs, nobody in a rush, olive groves, vineyards, ancient fountains, the Mediterranean, French men in Speedo,… any way you slice it the South of France has something unique to offer you. It might make you wonder, (ie. eggs on pizza) it might make you cringe (ie. Speedo) or it might result in a truly fabulous vacation. Apart from feeling awkward each time I’d forget to do the 3-cheek-kiss greeting, (Imagine thinking you’ve made it safely through the traditional bisous and turning your head away in relief only to have someone’s mouth fall on your neck as they come in for another kiss.) Provence rests solidly fixed in my mind as a fantastic, restful escape.
“On était jeunes, on était beaux.”