Serendipitous Traveler: Day 8 ~ Gordes


We departed Juvignac, an arid commune in the heart of the Languedoc-Roussillon region, in our rented Fiat.  Stephanie took the wheel and I rode shot gun, my nose pressed to the window so I could watch the scrubby landscape whiz by (as much as things can whiz by when rolling in a microscopic Italian death machine). 

Although Stephanie and I are intrepid world travelers with dog-eared passports, we were both feeling giddy at the prospect of spending the night in Provence, a fabled land of romance, olives, and wine.

Stephanie is an adventurer at heart.  It's one of the things I love about her.  She believes travel is about the journey, not the destination. (I respectfully disagree.  For me, travel is all about the destination, especially if it includes a night at the Hotel Ritz Paris or the Hotel Martinez in Cannes.  Belgian chocolates devoured while lying naked in one of Westin's Heavenly Beds trumps salted peanuts in a cramped airline seat.  Just sayin'.)

A French Revolution
After staging a revolt, I gleefully
pose with my beloved bread.  I am
like a sans culotte, minus the sabots and
red cap of liberty 

Stephanie turned off the A9 and directed our lemoncello can on wheels towards Provence via the back roads.  We zipped through quaint villages, deftly maneuvering the myriad of roundabouts, until our tanks required refilling (Read: my stomach staged its own French Revolution, loudly demanding Stephanie stop at a boulangerie.  "Bread, I say, give me bread!")

Bread devoured.  Hunger satiated.  We folded ourselves back into the Fiat and drove on to Gordes.

With sweeping panoramic views, unique stone buildings, and a city square that is utterly typique, it is easy to understand why Gordes has been a favorite location for movie and television shoots, including A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe. 

It was Stephanie's idea, in fact, to visit several of the sites used in the filming of A Good Year (more to come on this on a future blog post).

And so, after exploring the labyrinth of steep, cobble stoned streets and marveling at the honey hued stone homes perched precariously on the edges of cliffs, we found ourselves eating lunch at a quaint cafe overlooking the city square - the same square featured in A Good Year (In the movie, Russell Crowe's character falls in love with a French woman who owns a restaurant situated on the square).

Although the waiter lacked Russell Crowe's gladiator-like pecs and debonair charm, the meal was utterly delicious. 

To Market
After buying French caramel, chocolate, sea salt,
soap, and jam, Stephanie and I simply had to
buy a French market basket.  Bien sûr!
After touring the rest of the village and purchasing our requisite, locally-made straw market baskets, we checked into Li Poulidetto, a très, très charmant bed and breakfast in Lioux, just outside of Gordes.   Each of the private rooms features an en suite bathroom and open to a courtyard with a pool. 

We unpacked and then took a walk to a forgotten little village surrounded by olive groves.  The sun was nestling between the hills as we made our way through the groves. 

Dinner, which was prepared by the man of the house (Score one for feminism) and served by candlelight in the atrium, was utterly delicious.  We began with a light tuna tart, followed by a salad.  The main course was a flavorful turkey tagine.  Preliminaries out of the way, we settled down to dessert (an amazingly light and chocolatey mousse) and apertifs. 

By the light of the moon, I returned to my room in a contented stupor, drunk on the magic of Provence (or it could have been the apertifs).  It was the perfect conclusion to a perfect Provençal day. 

Beneath a Van Gogh Sky
by Leah Marie Brown
This view, taken from a clifftop road looking down
at the valley beneath Gordes, took my breath away.

Stephanie snapped this photo of me, sunning myself
on the rocky overlook near Gordes.  I was exhausted
but happy.

Swimming Pools and Movie Stars
by Leah Marie Brown
I climbed up a steep, cobblestoned
road in Gordes, peeked over a fence
and found this pool in a private
courtyard.  J'adore.

by Leah Marie Brown
Buildings in Gordes are constructed
using honey-hued stones
from nearby quarries.

by Leah Marie Brown
One of my favorite things about Provence
is the copious use and display of
lavender.  Here, dried lavender is
stuck in a clay pot and hung
outside a cafe.  Charmant!

Stephanie and I enjoying a fantastic meal at Li Poulidetto,
a très, très charmant bed and breakfast in Lioux,
just outside of Gordes.

Graciousness Personified
by Leah Marie Brown
Our gracious hostess, sharing a laugh after providing us
with a delicious meal and a bottle of rare wine,
produced from her family's cellar.


Wine and Cork said...

Ok, I do like chocolate much better than peanuts :) but let me clarify the fact that I HATE flying and would take getting to the destination without the journey part any day as far as flying is concerned (even if they did offer me chocolate!!!), but I do enjoy driving through Europe to get to wherever the destination might be, and I am glad I was able to be part of this awesome, fabulous Provence trip...admit it, driving through Provence, the French Riviera all the way to Italy was actually a bit of fun, wasn't it? (except for that awful rainy part on the way to Italy :/ ) ;))))) Fabulous post, loving every piece and reminiscing about this trip has been so enjoyable!

Sonja B said...

Your adventures sound like so much fun. And the photo of you by the Fiat makes me laugh. Thank you for sharing Gordes with those of us who can't travel.

Leah Marie Brown said...

Fanny (Wine and Cork):

Did I enjoy traveling with you through Provence (even in a Fiat)? Bien sur! I would do it again any day and twice on Sundays!

Love you.

Leah Marie Brown said...

Sonja B. ~ I am glad you enjoy my blog posts. The photo of me by the Fiat was - Leah typique, I am afraid. I have no censure when it comes to posing in front of a camera (Okay, wait, that sounded really bad. I do have a censor, though it is rather lax. I am not afraid to look ridiculous in photos).

I hope you are able to visit Gordes soon.

Evelyn Myers said...

Hello Leah Marie. I met you in the airport in Paris and you gave me a list of places to visit. Thank you for being so helpful. I was nervous about being in a foreign country for the first time and you were helpful. France should hire you to welcome all tourists.

Leah Marie Brown said...

Dear Ms. Myers,

I remember you! I am so glad you enjoyed Paris and that I was able to make you feel comfortable/welcome. As I recall, you were following your Paris visit up with a barge tour of the Loire. I would love for you to email me and tell me how it went.

All the best,


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