Photo Essay: If I Lived in Provence

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To accompany these photos from a trip to the Luberon region of Provence, I promise not to wax lyrical in effort to transport you to a place you’ve never been to. I promise not to make you jealous.

 

I’m sharing them with you because they were taken on a trip three whole years ago. I want you to feel sorry for me.

Van Gogh-like olive trees

Or at least tell me if there’s a place you feel the same way about. Provence, you see, specifically the Luberon, is the place I want to go back to every day of my life.

I’d be sure to look out the window at twilight. (Apt)

If I won the lottery tomorrow (note to self: must buy a ticket), I would insist that my husband leave his job. He would be fine with that.

I would be on a plane within a couple of weeks and rent a house or apartment somewhere like Bonnieux, Lourmarin or Goult. After several months if we still felt like it, we would start looking for a house to buy.

The street where I would live? (in Roussillon)

I would be sure a vase of sunflowers was the first thing I’d see every time I walked through the door.

I’d find a French tutor from Provence who was educated in Paris.   She’d be female, feisty and bored enough with her small town Provencal lifestyle that she would go along with my plan for us to be new best friends.  Preferably she’d live next door to me.

Ruins and modern art at the top of LaCoste

Most Saturday mornings we’d drive my new used Renault (stick shift, of course, and with no power steering), to the market in Apt.  We’d walk or ride bikes everywhere else.

I promise to always take time to enjoy the view. (Bonnieux)

As part of my French lessons we’d cook together using my fancy new stove I bought with my lottery winnings. She’d show me how to do magical things with olive oil, garlic and tomatoes.

Lunch on a shady square in Aix en Provence

After several months of leisurely drives in the stick shift Renault, seeking the perfect Mas en Provence, my husband and I would find a place where we wanted to live.

Please put mail here, French mailman (Les Baux)

As a matter of serendipity, this town where we settle will be the same one where we have been renting. Our mas will be located in real estate speak, “in a quiet corner of the village.”  In Goult, it would be fine.

This will work.

Of course, I’d bring my new stove with us, and I’d paint the front door blue.

Lourmarin market

My mas en provence will be will très post-Peter Mayle, meaning without exposed wiring or holes in the roof.  There will be terracotta; there will also be airconditioning.

Alleyway shortcut in Lourmarin

I’ll send vintage postcards I have written at a desk facing a window to friends and family using yellow mailboxes.

Saturday morning market in the town of Apt

My French tutor/friend and I will continue to go to various markets throughout the region. Before visits to the US, I will try to remember to buy lots of  Savon de Marseille (soap) for my mother.

Ochre colors in the town of Roussillon

One night after dining outside around an old table I picked up at a marché  and after a few too many glasses of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, my friend will give me the recipe for her grandmother’s cassoulet. I will treasure it forever, but will never be brave enough to try making it myself.

Cloister St. Paul-de-Mausole

Each spring break and summer vacation my daughters will come to stay with us. There will always be plenty of room.

Drive to Mount Ventoux

I’ll take them to Arles and Avignon and we’ll go shopping in Aix. We’ll lounge on the beach in Cassis and come home with rosy cheeks and shoulders.

View from Sault, near Mt. Ventoux (no these are not my daughters, but kind of reminded me of them when they were younger)

In July we’ll drive up to Mount Ventoux with the windows rolled down and look at lavender fields.

Notre-Dame-de-Sénanque near Gordes is an active Cistercian monastery.

C’est tout.

I was just kidding about feeling sorry for me, by the way. But I do want to know:

Where is your Provence?

All photos Margo Millure © – For any social sharing please credit correctly. Please contact for any other re-use.

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About the author

Margo Millure lives in Richmond, Virginia. She is a portrait photographer, writer and founder of Travel Belles. Learn more about her at www.MargoMillure.com.

18 thoughts on “Photo Essay: If I Lived in Provence”

  1. This is exquisitely beautiful, Margo! Sigh…I’m in heaven. 🙂 My Provence would probably be Northern Italy, between the lakes and the mountains and the sea. That would be perfect. 🙂

  2. Margo, this is great and the funniest article on Travel Belles. May I just say that this sentence: “…there will also be airconditioning.” is very American! 🙂 Provance is on my bucket list. Anyway, if you buy a house there can I be your guest for 2 weeks? 🙂

  3. Really spectacular photos, Margo. I could almost feel the sun’s heat on the landscape, the bright pop of a strawberry’s taste. And that shot of the two little girls is like a painting; the lighting is exquisite.

    Karen McCann
    enjoylivingabroad.com

  4. What a magical description of a wonderful part of France. I biked through Provence several years ago and loved the colours, the smells and the beautiful villages. May you win the lottery.

  5. I am totally coming to visit! Until then, I’ll keep checking my mailbox for one of those vintage postcards… I like the way you daydream, my friend!

  6. I love the photos, Margo! We spent just one week in Bonnieux, several years ago, and it was sublime. We have also visited the Minervois, in the Languedoc region of SW France, sometimes for a month at a time because its layout reminds us of the Luberon, but it’s cheaper! If I won the lottery, I would also love to live in the Luberon, or perhaps nearer the coast in Provence, or Italy…

  7. Amazing visual eye candy, Margo – thank you for this luxurious stroll through Provence. Yes, I am officially jealous of that mailbox and field of lavender!!

  8. Nice. Our provence is nearby in Ilse sur La Sorgue where we have a little old apartment which we’ve restored and a basement which we’re “doing”. And we have air but not american by the way – it gets hot in summer. Provence generally brings to mind a Mas with a some land and may some fruit trees or olives? Problem is unless you live there, which we don’t, it’s too hard – upkeep and safety I think. So my advice is go for what you can afford – be it a mas or a little apartment like ours in a corner of a nice little town. We rent it on holiday sites and it pays for itself and we visit once or twice a year but can dream of one day ….. maybe or maybe not but it’s another winder into the world, just two weeks is restorative and it’s all set up like “home”.
    Don’t be put off by first blush of the realtors windows/webs as there are some nice little places for not much money – well under $150k if this is not much money. Go for it rather and dream about it. Generally I think we regret the things we don’t do (when we had that chance) and not those we do do. We deal with those and grow

  9. Oh my goodness… I must really be losin git. I totally forgot I wrote this…..

    No, I didn’t, but I DID go to and I DO have the very same reaction to the Luberon. We stayed for far too short a time in Gargas at Le Mas Jorel. I can close my eyes and see that beautiful part of the world. If only I too could go back for … well…. I’d even take just a month.

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