Monday, January 20, 2014

The good life at la Buissonade in the Luberon




I was just writing out a list of suggestions about where and what to visit for a friend's upcoming trip to la Belle Provence when I stopped still, fingers paused over the keyboard. Up at the top of the email, I added what is my most important advice: DON'T PLAN TOO MUCH.

That is a little bijou of wisdom that I often offer up to vacationers and yet fear that it is seldom heeded. And I understand, I do. You have saved your pennies and planned for months. It is normal to want to "take it all in" and to "make the most of it" but alas, I am here to say, that is an attitude that is appropriate for  discovering Manhattan. But for Provence?

Why I so treasure our time at La Buissonade, our cottage rental in the Luberon, is that it is where we settle into the Good Life. We go there to seek it out. Now, I understand that is a relative concept. Very, very relative. But for me, the essence of living in Provence is to take time and be appreciative. To feel the sun on my upturned face. Have some wine at lunch, take a nap. Listen to the birds and watch the flowers bend and sway. Read. Get Lost in the Looking.

And while all of those moments can be achieved nearly everywhere in the world, there is something about this particuliar environment that just makes it magic to me, that makes my heart sing. Do you remember playing with your hands when you were little: "Here is the church, here is the steeple, open the doors and see all the people"? There is joy in the moments when it all comes together.




















So I leave you with these glimpses of a sunnier time in November. But it is still there for the taking. I close my eyes remembering, breathing in and out...

Have a wonderful week everyone...


41 comments:

  1. What fabulous pictures. You have such a great eye. Thanks for sharing. You are so right about not over doing but for some visitors, this may be their one and only visit to Provence. I am curious what you suggest for those people in Provence just for six days. What's on your must see list?

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    1. Ooh, what a good question! Michel, I make my lists usually with a specific person in mind and try to tailor it to their tastes and also the time of year when they are visiting. As you know so well, there is too much to see here. Even after twelve years, there is much left to discover for me.

      But...even with only six days (far too little!), I would still strongly encourage at least two days of being totally local. Taking in the markets, either cooking or dining out with terrace time, walks, naps, music, etc.

      As for my must see list? Well that is relative to my tastes but there just might be a blog post in there! Hmmm...

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    2. I look forward to that post. I am most interested.

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  2. Oh my, the colors jump out of these photos. I'm going to be visiting them a few more times. And I am taking your advice to vacationers to heart this week as I sit looking at an amazing Mediterranean vista myself this week. Waving to you from Northern California.

    xo Judith

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    1. Northern Cali??? What the??? Oooh, I am so jealous. Did you know that I graduated from Harbor High School in Santa Cruz, CA? NoCal is fantabulous. Enjoy!!!!!!!!

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    2. Judith, you're so close! Where and for how long? Leslie in Portland P.S. I knew you had some Santa Cruz in you, Heather!!!

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    3. Who me??? ;) We moved during my junior year of high school from York, PA (just outside of Amish country) where I was considered a major freak but of course by SC standards I was positively normal!!!

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  3. I could feel myself breathing more deeply just looking at this photos. Composed loveliness. Some of our best vacation memories come from spontaneous, on-the-spot decisions. Planning is good, up to a point.

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    1. Plan then let it go I say! :) Glad these photos did your breathing good Lorrie.

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  4. Beautiful photos, fantastic advice. The moments I treasure most from our days in Provence are very much like the ones you describe here. The sun on my face. The sound of cicadas. The taste of pastis as I lazily lounge on the terrace. Stars in the night sky.... Sigh.

    Here's to a little bit of the beauty of Provence in every day! XOXO

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    1. I thought of you and your merry band while writing this, Jeanne! I know that you will do the same in Paree...

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    1. The more you travel, I think the more that you get "the less is more" concept--no surprise that you are with me on this one. :)

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  6. So nicely and wisely said Heather! There is a certain clarity to those photos... Due incredible light of autumn? The images are breathing catharis. And the puppers too!

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    1. Merci Silke...eh, oui...la lumiere...cétait sublime. Franchement. Rien à dire.

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  7. Heather, your blog posts are like a big yoga or meditation session, but with gorgeous colour! the image of the berries (what are they?) on the red branches with the grey-blue door or shutter behind - beautiful! And the photo of Ben relaxing and thinking about his day - very calming!
    Cheers,
    Deborah from Melbourne.

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    1. Dogs know how to live life and Ben is no exception. :) And thank you for the lovely compliment...but I have to say that I am largely talking to myself! Breathe in, breathe out...I need it!!!

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  8. What a wonderful retreat you and the family have Heather. The late autumn sun looked so inviting in these photos. I'm sure you are looking forward to your next visit in this beautiful region!

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    1. We are. If we aren't in the midst of moving we will go again to hide from the Easter Bullfights in April. But honestly, it is that our hosts are so wonderful (and so generous--they are professional cooks!) that makes it extra special.

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  9. Heather .. this post conveyed the "feeling" .. we "felt" it .. one cannot do better than that with the written word. Thank You et Merci

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    1. Thank you for the really fine compliment, Bill.

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  10. Heather .. my apologies if you, or anyone else for that matter, clicked on my name and expected an active URL. I have not yet developed a site on Blogger. I do have an active blog @ www.kauai-to-paris.com if anyone is interested. Aloha!

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    1. Oooh, I will definitely take a look, Bill. Hawaii seems to me to be all about the Good Life as well, non?? But oh my, Kauai to Paris? Now that is one long flight... ;)

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  11. “the essence of living in Provence is to take time”. Yes.

    Don’t hurry, Mrs. Abstract and I tell each other when we visit special destinations like Provence or Amalfi Coast. And after the “must see” we leave 1 or 2 days for ourselves to find our own discoveries, the “magic”, joy of the moments, the serendipities of travel.

    Provence is where one finds the “Good Life”. I’m certain, with your help, they will find Provence.

    Very nice photos, food and all.

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    1. Thank you so much, as always, Edgar.

      I think that you and Mrs. Abstract are wise to have found each other. I know that Remi and I feel the same. Just to be able to see and move about in the world in a way that is simpatico.

      And if you don't have the good life in Napa, then where? ;)

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  12. Despite home hunting, like you and quite busy I MUST tell you what a highly gifted author you are. You have so
    many abilities (acting, photography...) Heather and espec. this story was wonderful. You really understand what
    life is about and you are talented to make the best of it...what a gift.( Listen to the song "Good life" , one Republic) .

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    1. Merci beaucoup, Mumbai and it says much of who you are to even take the time to stop by with all that you are doing!! I hope that it is going well...will go and listen to the song that you suggested!

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  13. The puppers look as though they have added an extra silky layer for the photo shoot. Perhaps it was all the patting they were getting from Remi. Holidays should certainly include naps :) Beautiful, beautiful photos.

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    1. I am a big believer in naps. :) And fussing over the pups. They deserve all that I can give for the happiness they give...
      Thank you for the kind words, always appreciated!!!!

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  14. Yes, Slow Travel - nothing can beat it. Some people like a trip planned with military precision with the check-off list. but not me - I am more relaxed when able to be spontaneous/flexible and to saunter, meander and tarry!

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    1. Anna, I can't tell you how many people I see in Arles that are practically jogging through during their visit to get it done and move to the next town! Really!!! That and the couples that are fighting over something like "well, you told me it was this way!" or "the market closes soon, hurry up!" just break my heart.

      Let's hear it for meandering! :) One thing that I learned as a travel writer--well, it will sound obvious--but the best things are always off the beaten path...

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  15. You are so correct about enjoying the moment: the smell, the sound, the nothingness of extraordinary when you left yourself enjoy what is and don't spend a lot of time looking for that something 'special'.

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    1. Yep, I think that you two are specialists of this. :)

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  16. Stunning. I feel like I am right there with you. (And I want to snuggle up with the dogs...)

    xo

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  17. Oh Heather...to be in Provence....so many years ago..your pictures and words take me back.....such lovely photos, the stillness and beauty touches me as I gaze again at your wonderful 'eye'...your unique ability to gather us all in and share each moment with you.....
    Did I say ...thank you.

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    1. Oh you are very welcome but I am the one to offer thanks in return for your kind words.

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  18. This post already has me 'homesick' for Provence and I'm still here! x

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    1. Oh, I think that you will have plenty of opportunities for vengance when you move home and start posting on what a real texmex dinner is for example... ;)

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