We’re just back from Charles de Gaulle airport, dropping off our eldest for an adventure away from the nest for TWO weeks. Julie confirmed I’m a fussy mum. Have you got your identity card? Don’t forget this form and remember to … “Don’t worry. I’ve got it, Mum!”
To calm down on the way home, we called Antoine’s parents. They are in a different world in the south. As we were talking, stuck in Parisian traffic, they were sitting looking at this view from under the shade of an oak tree in their quiet Provençal village of Saignon.
Over the past week, this heatwave has continued to hit us hard in Paris. One way to keep our cool indoors is ensuring the shutters are closed: that’s something that my mother-in-law fusses about – even more than me.
Another rule in the south is to take an afternoon nap, or sieste. Call me a rebel, but that’s when I normally sneak out of the sleepy house and head into the village. Although there are over 1000 habitants, as you can see from the photos I took on our last summer visit in August, most people head indoors during the hottest part of the day. For me, it’s paradise. Even the cats were sleeping indoors.
Turning the corner from their driveway just underneath the imposing rock in the village, the only sounds are the drumming of the cigales (cicadas) hidden in the trees and, gradually going up the steep slope towards the church, the sounds of trickling water come from a small communal washing place or Lavoir, as if stepping back into another century.
I have always loved the chairs just outside some of the front doors. They’re for the neighbours to gossip, chat, exchange recipes, perhaps?
As you gradually climb up the village, which is 500m above the market town of Apt, many of the picturesque houses date back to the 16th century. Gargoyles included on some. The cars are far more modern…
This 12th Century Roman Church of Notre Dame (also known as Saint Mary of Saignon) reminds us of Julie’s very windy Christening there 14 years ago (where did the time fly?) and many other family events, joyous and not as much.
Just behind the church, the cinema had prepared the chairs for the night’s viewing. I guess cushions would be a good idea.
It’s also at the back of the church that the steps lead to the imposing rock in the village. It’s not that much of a climb but we heard the story about some adventurous tourists that had to be rescued from a helicopter, as they went off track. As you can imagine, the neighbours chatted about this one for a while.
This is only the back view of the rock. On the other side, the view is over the Luberon valley.
This is where I found people! So quickly making my descent, headed for the main lavoir in the village’s centre, the Place de la Fontaine. Just imagine the locals from another era all gathering around here, doing their washing and catching up on the latest news…
with this as their view.
Keep your cool and have a lovely week! I’m looking to sharing some easy yet delicious recipes from my friends in Provence. You up for a touch of garlic?