When you’re planning a trip away, whether it’s for a mini-break, a long vacation, your destination wedding or even your honeymoon, the best information and ideas for choosing where to go or what to do when you’re there, always come from recommendations.
Hearing about the magic atmosphere of a place first hand is priceless, being given personal advice on where to visit and when is so invaluable and taking a glimpse at the undiscovered beauty of a locality can really help you to decide if this is the perfect holiday hotspot for you.
So that’s where Travel Diaries comes in! Your favourite wedding photographers are stepping away from their day job in the wedding world and instead they are sharing stunning personal snapshots of their global adventures, revealing their most beloved corners of the globe, whilst recommending fun and fascinating things to do when you get there.
This month the super-talented Caroline from BlueCicada Photography shares her personal passion of Provence; having grown up in this picture-postcard part of France she certainly knows the places to go and how to experience Provence like a local.
“Provence. Where I was born, where my heart is.”
“Provence. Summer, cicadas singing, the smell of bbqs, boat trips, bread dipped in olive oil, fresh croissants in the morning light outside on the terrace for breakfast and ‘farniente’, dinner al fresco every evening.”
“Provence. A way of life. The shutters closing from 11 am in the summer and not to be opened again until after 4 pm, so that we keep the cool in the houses. The old ‘mas’ – typical built farm houses – with their thick walls, built to last, braving the ‘mistral’ – crazy strong cold winds that come form the north.”
“Provence. I automatically think summer, I am not sure why. I do love the winters there too. They are cold and crisp. Even if le mistral blows strong at times, it usually chases the clouds away and leaves a blue canvas of a sky, and a bright warm sun.”
“Provence. Grace. Nowadays it is seen as a type of style, the olive branches in place of a wedding bouquet. The colour scheme of a wedding day: the pale green, the lavender to decorate tables and seduce the guests with its enchanted smell.”
“For me, who grew up with walking in the countryside smelling of rosemary, lavender and thyme, who saw an olive tree grow in my front garden, who played in the river after a bike ride, who picked fruit off the peach, apple and pear trees, it is way more than that. It is a way of life, it is done with grace, with knowledge coordinated with the elements of nature and living in accordance with them.”
“I remember the long afternoons sitting under the hundreds of year old large trees in the backyard of my great-grand mother’s farm house, drinking sirop de menthe (pastis for the grown ups), playing pétanque, and the women talking ‘patois’ about the people of the village.”
“If you go to Provence, you can pretty much go at any time of the year and you will have good weather. It is said to be sunny 360 days of the year…I know Provence the best in the summer months.”
“In July, there is a street theatre festival in Avignon that is worth staying a few days for. Ferias, is a popular place also in the summer months, Arles is a famous one. Fêtes de village will have activities and events for all, be sure to check if there is one in the village you are saying in or a village nearby (they tend to move around every week).”
“This is for those of you who like to mingle with the everyday life of those who live there. Buy fresh everything in the village market. I recommend staying in b&bs or renting your own house with family or friends.”
“Rent a car or come with your own and take day trips to visit the surrounding villages and enjoy a picnic or lunch in a family restaurant. You will be able to enjoy properly the Provence way of life. Visit Aix-en-Provence and its artistic vibes, the Luberon has fantastic sites to enjoy a walk or two and la Fontaine de Vaucluse is a good place to cool down on a very hot day. Saint Rémy de Provence and Les Baux de Provence are like traveling back into the middle ages in this beautiful site built at the top of a hill near Roussillon which is surrounded by ochre sites…”
“Beware that in the summer months, quite a few walks and paths might be closed because of forest fires that are common at these times. It’s more of a precautional measure though, do not be alarmed. It just means that some areas might be closed.”
“For an authentic pleasure made in Marseille, go for a day trip to Les Calanques. Go really early, book a table at the fishing village restaurant and enjoy cooling down in the cold waters under the cliffs. I recommend Calanque de Sormiou, Calanque de Sugiton or Calanque de Morgiou, but there are others. Look it up before you go, there might be restrictions of times and traffic to respect people who live there, and also depending on the time of year to protect the site. Be prepared to walk quite a bit, but it is a breathtaking walk and so worth doing.”
“I know I have to go back every year to my Provence. I discover it again and again, everytime, and cherish all of the emotions and colours and smells that I always feel lucky to be able to call home.”
With thanks to Caroline for sharing her personal love of Provence.