Want to know one of the stories that inspired our latest collection 'C'est magnigifue!'? Then keep on reading.
It started just like any other trip...but it ended up being this amazing adventure.
I've been many times to Paris for work and holidays but never anywhere else in France. There was one year in particular I had this fascination with lavender fields. Taking the opportunity that my birthday was going to be on a late July Sunday (exactly the weeks that lavender is in full bloom), we organised with my boyfriend this little road-trip around Provence.
We landed in Marseille on Friday night and drove to Aix-en-Provence to a picturesque chateau where we stayed overnight.
For breakfast we went to the town, which had a beautiful Saturday market. You could see all sorts of local product, cheese, pastries, Provencal herbs, fruits, etc. I do love a street market, since I was a child - we had one every Saturday in my hometown and it was an unmissable event. There are so many things you can observe about the locals while strolling around a market, how they're dressed, how they greet each other, how they shop.
Whenever I'd arrive to Paris, the first step of my ritual would be grocery shopping which would always include a baguette, French cheese and a bottle of wine. So, Provence wasn't any different, and even better, we were preparing for a picnic by the lavender fields.
We then drove off to our first stop in the lavender fields of Valensole. However, together with the realisation that they were really picturesque, we understood that there's not much to do than walk in the fields - smell the lavender and buy a lavender bouquet. Remember, it was July in the south of France, that means heat and lots of bees.
So, our next stop was a chateau where we bought some local wine. Unless you go on an organised wine tasting tour of the region, it's actually really hard to find a chateau you can just drop in. In one of the villages we were passing, we also tasted lavender flavoured ice-cream. I'm sorry, I'd much rather prefer even a plain vanilla one - it's one of these ice-cream flavours that I'm uncertain of the reasons they were created for (hihi).
Then, we found this wonderful lake in the Verdun Gorge that its water had the colour of the sea. It was the perfect spot for our picnic! There were lots of local families there swimming and enjoying the beach which was covered in pebbles.
After resting there for a bit, we drove off to a wonderful village in the mountains, called Mousters-Sainte-Mairie. It was so traditional and unspoilt. I loved it!
It had this river running between the colourful buildings that ended up in a waterfall right under a bridge.
And we finished off the day, with watching the sunset above the lavender fields. Smelling the lavender and watching the beautiful colours of the sky above purple fields was an unforgettable experience.
We arrived right on time for dinner in Aups - a little Provencal town in between Nice and the Valensole Plateau. It was this type of town that is quite buzzing in the morning but really really quiet in the evening - even on a Saturday night, really fitting the type of trip this was.
In the morning, after picking up breakfast and tarte citron from the town's main boulangerie, we observed the locals at the main fountain café. This boulangerie and the lady that owned it (probably?) was a sight of its own. We speak no French but her vivid personality made it so easy to communicate. She was like a movie character!
We then strolled around the town observing the magnificent Provencal aesthetics on the windows, pavements, arches, doors.
In brown, beige, ivory, light blue and lavender colours.
Some would be a little more extravagant combining warm red and green tones.
Then we drove off to Nice to spend the day on the beach. The waters were a delightful turquoise blue colour (probably due to the underwater pebbles) and the umbrellas were very vintage looking.
While sitting on the beach a really interesting incident happened; there was a guy sitting peacefully on the rock on the curve of the beach, sipping some wine. Suddenly, three policemen came to him and started questioning him for a few hours, at points they went as aggressive as pushing his hand with his wine - probably annoyed at the fact that he was still sitting peacefully. There was lots of havoc caused on the beach and the promenade due to that, it was almost like everyone stopped to watch. Then, the police left him alone and he just took off his clothes and dived into the sea. And the whole crowd on the beach just clapped and cheered at that! How bizarre, right? Reminds you to not judge on first appearances!
In the afternoon, we strolled around the beautiful old town of Nice heading to a seaside bar. And at that point, we ended up having a little argument with my boyfriend.
So, to make up, instead of going for a drink to this beautiful seaside bar, we ended up having a full blown dinner with a little birthday cake in the end. That's how we both forgot about checking-in to our flight. And then, one delay led to another and we made it to the airport 30 minutes prior to the flight - not having even checked-in! So we missed it. And had to drive back to Marseille to catch a very early morning flight back to London. Arrived at 2am, flew at 6am. Life has to balance somehow for the spontaneous fancy dinner, right? Hahahah
The next day, we were both a spectacle at our offices; one arriving in a floral dress and a couple of lavender bouquets and the other with a beach umbrella. Not the ending I was expecting but a really fun one!
This is one of the trips that inspired the collection 'C'est magnifique!'. More stories from my Parisian trips will be coming!