Life is not a series of gig lamps symmetrically arranged; life is a luminous halo, a semitransparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end. –Virginia Woolf
Exploring the villages of Le Luberon in the Provence region of France was like feeling fully awake in the middle of a dream. Here are some memories and images of the day we were lost in Provençal reverie . . .
In Bonnieux, we greeted the day with a visit to the Musée de la Boulangerie (bread museum), followed by a feast of flawlessly executed warm baguettes. We felt like we were in a painting, as we watched the sun ascend over the valley from our perch on the village wall.
After a slow walk through Goult for a late morning café au lait at Café de la Poste, we felt a sense of belonging that is rare for day-trippers. Goult is not as popular for tourists so we experienced life happening around every sleepy corner.
Gordes is officially one of The Most Beautiful Villages in France. It is always hard for something to deliver when it has such a reputation, but Gordes did not disappoint. We watched families strolling near imposing turrets, mud-splattered mountain bike riders swapping stories after a vigorous ride through the hills, and couples that had been together for decades arm and arm in their Sunday best. Gordes felt simultaneously grounded and aspirational all in one breath.
Roussillon is a rousing show of light Mother Nature puts on daily. Every hour spent exploring the ochre cliffs revealed a different shade and shadow of this majestic village. While Roussillon is very popular with tourists, it is still possible to find a pensive place along the trail to drink in the many miraculous hues.
Fontaine de Vaucluse and Les Baux are villages bordering Le Luberon and every bit as fabulous in all their splendor. The gushing spring in Fontaine de Vaucluse carves its way peacefully through the valley. We spread our blanket on its banks and dined on fresh tapenade and red pepper spread from the market in Les Baux. Les Baux left us breathless as we wound our way up to the Medieval castle for a sprawling view of Provence. The evidence of this villages’ numerous Renaissance periods were accentuated by the sensational natural landscape.
The language, style, juxtaposition of old and new, and the subtle kindness of the people of Provence made for an experience full of grace, that has enveloped us like a “luminous halo.” We will do everything we can to keep our memories of the villages of Le Luberon alive within us “from the beginning of consciousness to the end.”