We arrived there by night. It was dark, so dark that for a few times we thought we lost the road. “Come on, come on. It is a electricity blackout in the entire area”, a soft voice came from behind a pile of candles trembling into the night. “It was your flight OK? Do you need anything? Some water? Maybe some food? Or wine?” Now we knew we landed in Provence. Even in the middle of the night, in the darkest bleak, somebody will ask you if you need anything to eat. The colours, the fragrances, the incredible taste of the dishes… we had our chance to experiment the food the entire weekend in Luberon area.
Day one: I told it before, Provence is like an Instagram feed. It doesn’t matter if we went to search a table for our lunch or we just wandered the narrow old streets of the little villages, We found our best lunch in the bohemian Cucuron (be prepared to stick to the local lunch hours, otherwise there is no place for a hungry tourist) in Place de L’Etang, and we stopped for a coffee in the only terrace in little village Vaugines and we shopped for some local cheese and bread in Lourmarin. Somewhere in the tiny tiny city of Ansouis, the paradox of Provence hit us wildly, in a image cut directly from Peter Mayle’s books: deserted streets (like… four in all) at dinner time in a medieval-like village, some locals smoking at the Sports Bar, looking intrigued at two lost tourists (us), one-Michelin star restaurant (closed for every Wednesday, Thursday and Sunday afternoon) and a strange museum (Musée Extraordinaire), with gigantic sea creatures carved in stone by the artist Georges Mazoyer.
Day two: Everywhere is about food (and wine, as long as the vineyards guard, like faithful soldiers, every single road in Luberon. But who said that art and passion for wine are not getting along? France is always passioned about art. Even when it comes with a bottle of wine attached. Therefore, a lot of investors put their money into contemporary paintings, into big art works or even installations. But I find the most impressive the Château La Coste: the wine factory is placed in one giant building made by the French architect Jean Nouvel and the Art Center of the property is signed by Japanese Tadao Ando. This is not all. It took us like two hours to check the entire artistic path and it was amazing! Between two lands of vineyards there are big sculptures signed by Richard Serra, works of Alexander Calder, Lee Ufan, Tom Shannon and the big musical pavilion designed by Frank O. Gehry. And I couldn’t forget my favourite, The Crouncing Spider 6695 by Louise Bourgeois.
Day three: It was the time to explore the real surroundings of A Good Year, A year in Provence and other books. So we hit the road to Ménerbes and its vineyards and lavender fields (unfortunately, in August, they are already harvested), to Bonnieux, Lacoste and Gordes (beautiful architecture, views just perfect to be instagramed and vegetable market to die for. While here, it worths paying a visit to Abbaye De Sénanque, the world most Provence-like image of all times.
Bonus: It needs an extra half a day, but is is quite nice. I am talking, of course, about Aix-en-Provence. We tried to see, in a hurry, Musée Granet for its nice selection of Matisse and Cézanne, but I was literally in love with the Jean Planque gallery (part of Granet), a beautiful renowed chapel and transformed into an art field. It was a Picasso exhibition then, so it was even better for me.
To stay: Maison Collongue. The domain is awesome, the owner super cool and the house is like a visit in an art bookstore shop. Au revoir et a l’ année prochaine!