Les Journaux Française: Part III

On about our fourth day in Aix, we finally got the itch to do something other than sit around and drink wine and finish it off with gelato. Writing this now seems very shocking to me, because I don’t know what could be better than being lazy with wine and gelato, but there you have it. I’d been dying to take a drive through the Luberon, Provence’s large national park and home to the famous hilltop towns built up into its mountains. We found a local tour company that would drive us around in an air-conditioned van (important!), and luckily for us, we only had to share it with one other couple. Our new friends were from Edinburgh; our guide, from China. We made quite the little group.

Buckled up, sunglasses on, we drove north of Aix into the Luberon to visit the villages of Lourmarin, Bonnieux, Gordes, and Roussillon

Gordes. What can I really say about it? It’s amazing. Here is this tiny village, where all the buildings are made of individual stones (yes, ALL of them — it’s a requirement!), stacked up the side of this hill, overlooking a valley. I can’t believe people actually get to live here. It’s honestly like something out of a dream. If I ever get back to the Luberon, you can bet I will be staying in Gordes!

Okay, so I wouldn’t mind staying in Roussillon, either. I was utterly charmed by this little town — probably because the colors of the buildings were so warm and happy! It was awesome to see the natural mineral deposits around the cliffs that the town is built on (both literally and figuratively). I found a little shop selling baby olive trees. I would’ve died to bring one home — but I don’t think customs would’ve liked that so much.

We ended the day with a stop in Lourmarin, an ancient village that feels part French countryside, part medieval. No surprise there — Lourmarin has been settled for at least a thousand years! We didn’t have much time to walk around here, so I parked it on a little bench next to an ice cream shop and spent the entire time showing some self-restraint (we had a big date with Aix’s gelato shop later that night).

Our drive through the countryside was the one time on the trip I wished I had my regular camera. Some of the sights were too spectacular to be able to capture with just a phone! I’m super prone to car sickness, so even though I was feeling it on those windy roads up and down the mountainside, I simply blasted the AC on my face and stared out the window. I found the views to be quite soothing — the perfect antidote to anything that ails you!

Images by Victoria McGinley for vmac+cheese

18 comments

  1. Jessica said: replied:

    Gordes is breathtaking! I feel like I could happily spend my whole life living in a little town like that!

    26 Jun 2012 | Reply
  2. Meredith @ Map & Menu said: replied:

    Again, your posts are making me ridiculously excited about our trip next month! Glad to hear you loved Gordes so much – it’s high on our list of places to see!

    26 Jun 2012 | Reply
  3. Marjorie said: replied:

    Stunning! Takes my breath away, and makes me wish I was traveling… Amazing shots here!

    26 Jun 2012 | Reply
  4. I’ve loved seeing your posts on your trip. They’re giving me a serious case of wanderlust!

    26 Jun 2012 | Reply
  5. What incredible pictures! And re: “your favorite moment?” That would have been mine too…what a magical picturesque setting! xo

    26 Jun 2012 | Reply
  6. Jeanne said: replied:

    Just had a chance to catch up on your trip and photos! They are so nice. Looks like scenes straight out of travel magazines! Hope I get to hear all about it when I see you in person. Welcome back! xo

    26 Jun 2012 | Reply
  7. caitlin said: replied:

    I cant believe those pics were from your phone – they are gorge!

    26 Jun 2012 | Reply
  8. samantha said: replied:

    gorgeous photos Victoria! you’re making me want to take a trip to the South of France so badly!! xx

    27 Jun 2012 | Reply
  9. Lonely Wife Project said: replied:

    Why doesn’t American look like that?!

    27 Jun 2012 | Reply
  10. Kerry said: replied:

    So so so gorgeous! How you’ve captured it!

    27 Jun 2012 | Reply
  11. Gabrielle | Savvy Home said: replied:

    Gordes and Roussillon were amongst my favorite little towns in Luberon! How amazing was the Abbaye de Senanque??? It had just started blooming when we were there but I would have loved to see it in full bloom!

    Looks like you had a ball :)

    28 Jun 2012 | Reply
  12. Deborah said: replied:

    I am bookmarking these blog posts as a travel guide for my next trip to Francais!

    19 Jul 2012 | Reply
  13. Colleen said: replied:

    Lovely pictures Victoria! I had remembered that you took a trip to France pretty recently but forgot to look back through your posts before I planned my trip. Somehow, it seems like our itineraries are very similar. We are spending 7 days in Paris, 3 days in Provence (we will be located in St. Remy instead of Aix) and then 3 days in Nice. We were planning to do a drive one day while we are staying in St. Remy and I knew I wanted to see Gordes for sure. Would you recommend trying to visit all four of these towns or maybe focusing just on Gordes and Roussilon? Thanks so much!

    14 May 2013 | Reply
    1. Heidi said: replied:

      Colleen-

      I happened to see this post and thought I would advise! My boyfriend and I stayed in St. Remy last September and we did a “village day”, hitting most of the good spots in the Luberon, making a big circle.

      If you start in St. Remy, you can hit the Lavender Museum in Coustellet, the Village des Bories (little ancient huts), Gordes, lunch in Roussillon (and go to the ocher quarry!), Pont Julien, wine tasting at Chateau la Canorgue, more wine tasting in Menerbes, and then back to St. Remy in time for dinner. It’s a lovely day! The towns are very small so you don’t need a whole day for each one. I am linking to the google map I created for my trip – hopefully you will be able to access it.

      I do recommend Rick Steve’s Provence book if you don’t already have it. It’s an invaluable resource for this region.

      https://maps.google.com/maps/ms?msid=205509471570180056274.0004c89adefecea3ca07b&msa=0&ll=43.79588,4.972687&spn=0.421777,0.852127

      15 May 2013 | Reply
      1. Colleen said: replied:

        Thanks so much Heidi! So helpful! I am absolutely going to use your map!

        17 May 2013 | Reply
    2. Heidi said: replied:

      Also be sure to get to the Castelas olive mill (it’s the expensive stuff they sell at Williams Sonoma but super cheap from the source!) and Les Baux de Provence, which are both very close to St. Remy.

      15 May 2013 | Reply

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