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.
Photo via Avignon et Provence