Saturday, December 04, 2010

Christmas in Provence

My eyes are getting a bit rectangular these days as I scour the computer screen for hours, looking at on-line listings of vacation rentals in Provence.  Vacation rentals that will start in a little more than two weeks, mind you. Eek.

Yeah, yeah, I should have booked this months ago.  But coordinating a family vacation when one person (moi, the coordinator) is living and working in U.S. Pacific time, one (Harry) is studying on U.S. East Coast time, and the other (Miss Bee) is teaching on Provence time, it just ain't as simple as it might seem.  Plus, the family ideas seem to ... ahem, evolve.  At first it was all Riviera-Cote-d'Azur-I've-never-been-to-Monaco, then it became all let's-visit-charming-provencal-villages, then there was the maybe-we-could-spend-New-Year's-in-Paris.  And so it goes.  We're an adventurous, spontaneous trio, and I have no doubts that we'll have a jolly time.  And we'll never have enough days to see all the family friends in various provinces of France, because most are travelling away from home during the vacances scolaires.

So-- I'm excited about returning to Provence, which, despite three years in Paris, I haven't re-visited since I was a student there three decades ago.  Christmas in Provence is a very special time, laden with special lore, including the Santons de Provence (um, I'm still working on appreciating them) and a whole tradition which is very provencal and not very much parisien.

And, by the way, I have to disabuse the knowledge of friends who say,  "oooh -- the South of France!" and picture us sunning by the pool for this vacation. Today's top temperature in Aix was a frosty 8 degrees celsius.  Packing my woolies!

Here is my must-see list for my kiddos when we're in Provence:
Aix, Marseille, Cassis, Lourmarin, Les Baux, Manosque, Gordes, Arles, Avignon.

Any suggestions?


Sydney Rubin said...

I have a place in Buisson, an ancient village about 40 minutes north of Avignon, that's available during the holiday. We were going to use it, but my 87-year-old mom can't make the trip. If you're interested, I'll send a link and some photos. The house is stone, about 250 years old and has three bedrooms.

Claudia said...

Eze, you must walk the streets of Eze and have a glass of wine or tea at the Chateau Eza. This is where God lives.

Ron S. said...

If you have a chance while you are in Avignon, have lunch at La Mirande.

Polly-Vous Francais said...


wow -- I'd love to see the photos etc. Send info to pollyvousfrancais [at] yahoo. We're looking for places closer to Aix, but that sounds dreamy!

Anonymous said...

Hi Polly, I sent you an e-mail telling you about mi sister's villa in Les Issambres. Hope you find a nice place to be with your wonderful children during the holidays. The best of this world for you and yours always. Maria O. Russell

Anonymous said...

Definately Ezes. There is a hilltop garden with fabulopus views if u get a clear day. Also Biot is very cute with fabulous glass work to buy.

Polly-Vous Francais said...

Merci mille fois to everyone! I'm looking forward to this vacation!

Jay Livingston said...

No suggestions, just one memory -- Christmas in the early 70s. A 45 rpm recording of "Jesu est ne en Provence" (entr'Avignon et les Saintes Maries, etc.) Going into a dimly lit church in a small town (in Vaucluse or upper Bouche du Rhone, can't remember which), as we stood there looking at dolls all dressed for the holidays lining the walls, my American friend whispered, "Our Lady of Mattel."

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