It’s true. The bees are happy in Provence this time of year.
Many of you will remember that we visited Provence for the first time 7 years ago, it was May. We fell in love with the area’s charm (not to mention the food and cheap wine) and vowed to return during the lavender bloom ‘someday’. My 34th birthday (also Bastille Day) was the day.
G had planned the trip this spring, so imagine our surprise and worry when 2 mornings before the trip, w’s eye was a bit pink. Then, the next afternoon, he began to run a temperature. And, finally, the morning we were meant to leave, he vomited. Should we, or shouldn’t we go?
We called the nurses hotline and turns out it was a reaction to his mmr vaccine taken the week before. His molars and incisors were also raging to break through–making it all seem more severe, but there was no real threat that he was contagious or likely to be in need of emergency medical. So, after much discussion, we decided to go.
Probably not our best decision in life because we now know traveling with a sick child is not fun. For anyone. But, stepping aside from this life lesson, Provence was stunning–again.
We stayed in a tiny little town perched atop a tiny mound, Sault. Apparently, the centre of lavender country as the valley below is a sea of swaying purple. Sitting with drinks in Sault, we felt as if we were the king and queen (and prince) in a fairy tale…the type illustrated in bright watercolour where trolls live beneath bridges an the bunnies talk. Though, in the story of Sault, the bees would do the talking.
While we had planned to hike about the lavender fields by day, we soon realised it wouldn’t be fair to w with a 40 degree (104 degree) temperature, so we opted, instead, for a drive about the region. And upon stepping out amongst the fields of lavender for the first time, there was an overwhelming sound like nothing I’ve ever experienced. Imagine a movie with a swarm of killer bees–if that movie were to be made, they’d get the base soundtrack from Provence during the lavender bloom. Mind you, these bees were a friendly sort. Likely drunk and dazed on the lavender nectar to the point of having no aggression toward anyone or anything. (Though I’m sure the place would still be nightmarish for folks allergic to bees).
The smell was lovely. But, I think the bees and the swaying of the lavender when the wind blew we’re my favourite bits. I suppose I always romanticised the fragrance of lavender, but upon experiencing it to such a scale in Provence, I’ve now realised that it just smells like soap. Nice soap. But soap just the same. So, as olfactory daydreams go, I think I’d prefer a field of roses, lilac or honeysuckle to a field of lavender. Or maybe even that bread smell outside Subway restaurants (though it never seems to taste so good as it smells, that’s another matter). But, I suppose all this is subjective.
We had picnics under shade trees at the edge of country lanes. Had goats cheese with lavender honey and French wine by the glass as we watched the sun set over the valley. Accidentally spoke Spanish instead of French more times and we can count. Ate one of the best pizzas of our life, purchased from a food truck with a brick oven installed. Watched a 15 minute firework show to celebrate ‘my birthday’ (we shall forever spend my birthday in france ). Rambled around corners Bond-style trying to find one last photogenic spot before racing back to the airport to make our flight home. And we made time to take photos amongst the lavender fields, of course…though you can easily see that our usually happy w wasn’t charmed by the experience.
We’ve now experienced fields of poppies (Tuscany), tulips (Netherlands) and lavender, this brings our floral checklist to an end, for now.