|Our vacation rental is very cozy|
This Christmas we decided on spending time in Provence, south of France. Hubby has been working 10 weeks in Vietnam and we thought it would be nice to experience Provence at its worst time of the year. As a follower you know we're planning retirement dept free away from the big city hustle of Houston. So far we've explored Hot Springs, Arkansas but our dream is Provence. We've spent 5 vacations in Provence but only from April until end of June. It's the best time of the year without doubt. Living here in the winter cold with the brutal wind called Mistral and cold weather close to freezing would be a different experience.
After10 weeks in Vietnam, Hubby spent 10 days working in Houston, making a commute of 3 hours a day taking the high occupant lane to uptown paying extra toll for a fast commute. It is no fun. We'd like to spend quality time together but there is no chance of that working in a big city like Houston.
Traveling is no fun. After 30 hours commute from Vietnam to Houston and working non stop, it's no fun having to fly 8 hrs to Paris and then another 1 hrs trip to Marseille. Without doubt the plane was delayed and arrived to a rainy foggy Paris with 1 degree celsius. Our next leg was also delayed so we arrived Marseille about 1hr later than expected and 1 suitcase missing. But arriving Marseille was a dramatic contrast to Paris. The sun was shining and with 10 degrees celcius it felt really nice.
Driving our leased Citroen to our rental home through the known terrain was a breeze. This year there has been a severe drought in Provence with wildfires as a result. But after 2 periods of rain the nature has rebound. It's amazing how the nature rebounds if you grow crops adapted to its environment. Some snow-covered distant mountaintops made a difference driving from Marseille up to Saint-Remy-de Provence. The river Durance had normal water level and with the sunshine, we felt like home again.
Our rental home for the past 3 summers was sold this year so we have found another, much smaller place in Saint-Entienne-de Gres, north of the Alpilles in the gold triangle of Provence. This is an older renovated home with a mix of moderen and old decor where the kitchen takes the center stage. So far we've spent one day here and had some time settling into the place. This little village has just been a passthrough on our last 5 visits so we didn't expect much.
Strolling the streets, visiting the small shops makes the village grow on us. The local bakery has to be good in order to survive and is proudly using only French wheat. The shops are always displaying their beautiful daily made pastries and own made chocolates sold by the pound. The florist is passionate about her job and has been decorating one of the local old castles and vineyards earlier in the day. When we bring our own flowerpots she automatically knows how to make them beautiful and does it in a few minutes. She invited us to come this weekend for the special event in town where she would show customers appreciation.
|The floral shops in Europe is like a candy store for me. I wish I could buy everything.|
|With the orchid on the kitchen island, we feel instant warmth.|
|Local preserves made with minimum 65% fruits and still has fruit meat in it.|
|Olive oil from Chateau d'Estoublon.|
|Provence is still beautiful in December|
|The chateau looks amazing after renovation|
|The wine and gift shop at the chateau.|
|A few cases of wine, wine openers, apron, olives and tapenade will get us ready for a great stay.|