Sunday Summary: A Sleepy Village Steeped in Lavender

Sunday Summary: A Sleepy Village Steeped in Lavender

Photos and Text by Emily Benson-Scott

Coming from NYC, a city that never sleeps, it’s odd to wake up to a medeival village that seems perpetually asleep. I love leaving my apartment in the morning to greet the cool stone embrace of Moustiers Sainte-Marie, and to be engulfed in a sleepy silence punctuated only by the somber chimes of the bell tower, the ancient drip of fountains that still remain from the 10th century, and the heedless rush of the waterfall, an essential artery of the village. image

Every morning, I follow the enticingly sweet warm smell of freshly baked bread and pasteries to the boulangerie.

The only thing reminiscent of New York is that like NYC, we are experiencing our own restaurant week. My mom and our dear family friend Andrea have just spoiled us rotten for five consecutive nights eating out at one gourmet restaurant after the next. We have seen lavendar, taken a dip in Gorge Du Verdon, shopped at local markets and taken great delight in spending time together.
Gorge du Verdon

There are few things more exhilarating than sharing a place you love with people you love.
Mom and Andrea in the Lavender Fields of Valensole Plateau

Yesterday we dropped them off at the nearest train in Saint Raphael, which they took to Roquebrune to stay for a few days in our petit maison. Afterwards we drove back across the ProvenΓ§al countryside admiring lanky cypruses lording over the landscape like pastoral skyscrapers. Only unlike in New York City, everything in Provence is on a much more human scale. In New York, man made things are larger than life, but in Provence, people are larger than life, and inextricable from the natural environment. When I asked the woman who sells bread and pastries amidst an indimdating throng of bees that frequent the boulangerie whether she wasn’t afraid of being stung, she responded that they only sting when they are nervous and that nobody is nervous in Provence.

12 thoughts on “Sunday Summary: A Sleepy Village Steeped in Lavender

  1. So wonderful to absorb the magnificent pictures and delightfully crafted commentary each Sunday, and heartwarming to see your mom and Andrea in the field of lavender. Safe journeys to all.

  2. What a delightful blog entry! There’s another major difference between NYC & Provence — “nobody is nervous in Provence”! Sigh… SOMEDAY I will visit/retire to someplace like that! πŸ™‚ // In your travels, have you happened to notice how much $$ the local Massage Therapists charge for a one-hour (basic “Swedish”) massage? (no Specialties like Hot Stone, Exfoliating, Deep Tissue, etc) I’ve heard that on Cruise Ships they start at $100; avg around the country is $60-$80; “Massage Envy” (franchise) is $39.95; and at the school where I’m currently working, they charge $25 — a very good deal! (I need to MOVE out into the Big Wide World, though!) I was just curious what they charge INTERNATIONALLY… And since YOU’RE “International”… πŸ™‚ Thanks!

    1. Hi Shauna,
      Thanks for your comment! I don’t usually go to spas or get massages overseas as we are budget travelers but I will make an exception to investigate for you:)
      The one thing I can say, is that given the exchange rate, if you were here for a few months at a time, or longer, it would be incredibly smart to get a work visa and earn euros not dollars. The exchange rate is horrible now for the US so you’d already making 30% more just by earning euros– all the more to splurge on croissants and nice restaurants. Massage therapy does sound like a potentially nomadic career, particularly if you establish a set if wealthy clients in different places. There are tons of wealthy people in Monaco and Certain places in Provence. Thanks for staying tuned!

  3. The field (and picture of!) lavender is so gorgeous and vivid that I hear the bees making all that lavender honey, wishing I could taste it on a torn fragment of a warm baguette…Happy Trails

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting Ed! It’s always such a delight to hear from you! Yes, the lavender is remarkable, especially being surrounded by it on all sides! Today we are going to try to telecommute from the picnic chairs in the middle of the fields. I’m not so fond of bees though and they basically own Provence, especially the lavender fields. So we’ll see how it goes. Tomorrow we go back to Roquebrune Cap Martin. Keep me posted on your summer!!

  4. Emily: I’ll say it again, you have a unique way of easily transporting your readers into your current French countryside environment. (“to be engulfed in a sleepy silence punctuated only by the somber chimes of the bell tower, the ancient drip of fountains”) Just lovely!

  5. Hello,

    Just to say how much I am enjoying re-living our many wonderful holidays in Provence. The photo of the lavender fields was especially evocative.

    We had the academic holidays but not the income to really splash out on extravagant flights; so we took our very old, battered caravan and three children, plus assorted cousins all around France. In the end we left the caravan in Provence, near Orange and summered there making short hops into Spain, Italy and Switzerland. They were magical years and we have very fond memories of the people we met and the friends we made.

    Do enjoy the rest of your break, and keep up the journal!



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