Subject: South of France - 2
After playing in the sun on the coast, we're heading north. On the N7 west of Aix we pass some familiar favorites - several large outdoor establishments selling Materiaux Ancien. Fascinating place, with huge ancient gates, stone lions, pedestals, mantlepieces, cherubs. By this time, they're closed - but we couldn't take any of this stuff home on the plane anyway! Wonderful to look at, though. Stopped in Lourmarin, a charming village, full of fountains, lovely facades, flowers tumbling out of windowboxes and over stair railings. Had a quick (for Europe!) light dinner at La Ratelier, a pizzeria. Seating outside by a pretty fountain, or inside under an arched stone ceiling. Drove on to Bonnieux, another beautiful village, this one tumbling down a hill crowned by a church. We round the corner after the last of several hairpin turns over the mountains, and catch our breaths at the view of the town silhouetted in the rosy pink sunset - superb! What a wonderful first glimpse of lovely Bonnieux - unforgettable! Our B &B is outside of town - we're arriving later than we had intended, and take a few wrong turns before arriving at 10 pm. Driving along a dirt road surrounded by neat rows of grapevines, we round a curve and there it is -an old stone Provençal farmhouse of dreams - pale blue shutters, rows of lavender leading to the door, pale pink roses clambering up beside a window. Angel and Françoise Escobar, our gracious hosts, show us the breakfast room, sitting area, and enticing terraced gardens sloping down to a pool, then give us the key to our room. An arched glass door leads into the cozy space, simply but comfortably furnished, and graced with vivid examples of Françoise' artwork. We promptly discover the highlight of this charming haven - a vintage window set low into the bathroom wall affords a magnificent panorama of the Vaucluse uplands, with Mont Ventoux towering beyond. This window is perfectly situated to enjoy the view while soaking in the quaint clawfoot bathtub. Let's see, how many baths can we take on this trip? This place came highly recommended by Ziner Susie in Massachussetts - and are we thankful for her suggestion! After breakfast the next morning, as we walked around the lovely grounds and checked out the pool, Kirk noticed some black cherries on the ground - yes, there's a cherry tree over our heads. And it's just the right season - the tree and those in the lot next door are loaded with ripening cherries. Fresh, delicious fruit free for the picking whenever we wanted.