A Year in Provence

It’s always tempting when I arrive at Marseille just to jump in the car and hurtle as fast as I can up the motorway to reach my beloved bolthole. However on occasions I force myself to explore some of the interesting sites and areas between Marseille and here, by taking the scenic route or bison fute (crafty buffalo) as the French more colourfully refer to it.
Having read the Peter Mayle novels some time back I decided I ought to take a look at the Luberon where they’re set.
The scenery is indeed beautiful as you drive upto the plateau and gaze around at the stunning views. The scattered villages like Bonnieux are very quaint with an almost unreal feeling as though you’ve just stepped into a filmset. Lots of chic shops selling aspirational goods rather than day to day necessities. One thing that did surprise me though was how populated the area is – lots of villages and houses compared with the Baronnies for example. I have a sinking feeling that the popularity of the novels may have something to do with that.
It’s always tricky when you find an amazing area – you partly want to shout about it and partly to keep the secret to yourself for fear of spoiling it with an influx of people. I recall friends in the Sarthe complaining about part of the Dordogne having so many Dutch people that it felt like being in Holland and I also remember standing in Bergerac one Bastille Day and only hearing English spoken. Maybe that subject is for another blog – I digress!
So where shall I explore driving up from Marseille next time? Any suggestions?

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