Before I describe all the other places we visited, I wanted to highlight the rental house we lived in for two weeks. There were five bedrooms and there was room for 10 people (we were never a complete full house though–my cousin left the first week and then my sister joined us the second week so we were always 9 maximum). The owners lived right next door and if I understand correctly, it is the husband who built the second floor to the house (where my bedroom was). My father chose the house–props to Papa!

This was the view outside my bedroom window for 2 weeks. I also need to stress my sister Sandrine took this picture. She is such a gifted photographer and is too modest for her own good. She gave me permission to “borrow” her pictures for this post.

And then here are my (very bad) pictures that I took around the outside of the house when I got there the first day. There was an olive tree orchard right behind the house. I’m not sure if the owners of the rental house actually made their own olive oil. The house and the orchard and the surrounding farm fields were just everything I’ve imagined about Provence.

   

   

   

The little figurine in the last picture is called a santon in French. They are hand painted terracotta figurines very popular in Nativity scenes that are traditionally produced in Provence. In fact, the Nativity scene we have back at home is full of these little miniature santons and grace our living room every Christmas. These little figurines represent the different characters that used to make up Provencal village life.

And here are more of Sandrine’s pictures. She has such an eye for angles and light and all that jazz. I’m definitely including more of her pictures in upcoming posts when I can. These pictures may not seem like much but wait til I get to the calanques near Cassis. Her pictures are astounding. You’ll see!

   

This was the first time in a long time that I felt so relaxed during a vacation. That’s not to say I’ve been having a miserable time every time I go on vacation–however this trip in particular really felt like a real vacation. I’m not sure if it was the company I was with, the setting, the places we visited, or the fact I was so happy to be back in France and speaking French. I feel like over the past year I’ve been feeling very conflicted and confused over various aspects of my life. The decision to leave Spain was definitely a big one. This trip to France didn’t necessarily bring me clarity but it brought me peace, which isn’t something I expected to experience during this trip.

So I guess that makes the choice of where to retire relatively easy. Provence, here I come in about… 30 years!

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