It’s early spring in Provence. I drive past the Super U and around the roundabout with the Édith Piaf sign. Just ahead I whiz past the home where Paul and Julia Child lived. They were neighbors of Simone (Simca) Beck and her second husband Jean. I recognize the horse stables and the golf course. I know it’s not far to where we’ll be spending another glorious week in the Provençal countryside.
Xavier and Robby have opened their B & B for us a week ahead of their usual schedule. The leaves on the grape vines are just beginning to unfurl and the buds pop on the fruit trees. Some of the olive trees on the property are hundreds of, as in 500 years old. Xavier mentioned that when you plant an olive tree you plant it for your grandchildren.
There’s also a mill nearby where he takes his olives to be pressed and bottled. That is, if the fruit is not decimated by a nasty fly; as it was last autumn. Sometimes nature wins when you follow organic practices.
It wasn’t too long after we arrived when we were greeted with Xavier pouring us a glass of his vin de masion; his homemade bitter orange wine more aply called an apéritif. He bottles enough to sell for only 10€ a bottle. Having made my own vin de masion, that’s a steal! This was my drink of choice each evening when we gathered with our hosts and the other guests who arrived later in the week.
We woke up to this view every morning, hearing only bird songs.
It’s Sunday evening in the village square of Valbonne. After our apéritif we head to the village for dinner. Who cares that you left the Midwest at 5:00pm the day before and if your lucky got a few winks on the flight. You are in Provence and it’s best to get acclimated to the local time anyway, right?
During our post dinner stroll, we came upon yet another restaurant. We’ll have to put this one on our list for next time. And…this is only the end of just our first day. It will be an amazing week of great food, delicious wines, market tours, and cooking classes in the Côte d’Azur. If you’re on this side of the pond you may hear it referred to English as the French Riviera.