Provence, France Day 9

Worked out some kinks. My ants were delayed, but eventually snuck in.

Jason took himself off for a walk, Kat and BW for breakfast. Just before midday, we’re cleaned up and strolling up to the hotel for our car. Driving–rather being driven–in Europe will always be an adventure for this country girl Yank. And driving into villages–even good-sized ones like Fayence, more so. Parking proves easy this time, so score! And there’s a shop offering ice cream close by our spot. Something to look forward to after our climb back.

We walk down the steep street–no trotting!–to the tourist office. Closed for lunch. Okay then, we’ll have lunch, too. A busy outdoor cafe under a big red awning’s right there. A wine local to Fayence seems right–and proves just right. Hey, I haven’t had pizza in days–time to fix that. Kat and Jason get enormous, beautiful salads, BW some pasta with mushroom sauce. (Only Kat will have a sample thereof.)

Passageway. Photo by j a-b
Street view. Photo by j a-b
Lunch. Photo by j a-b

People stream by as the waitstaff hustles in and out of the cafe–and the adjoining cafe that appears to make the desserts. We’re saving ourselves for that ice cream stand, so we begin our walk.

Little shops in those old stone buildings selling souvenirs–have a garden wall cicada that sings when you walk by? Ah, no. And lovely bottles of olive oil, herbs, wine. I will absolutely get some of all of those before we head by across the Atlantic.

Gorgeous bottles of perfumes with flowers floating inside, summer clothes, beach clothes. But we want views first, and climb up, up, up to the Panorama. My legs remind me I experienced a horse the day before. But up we go, and it’s lovely. A big shady area with benches–those fabulous trees (called plane trees here, and as BW and Carolyn, a helpful FB reader, identified as sycamores). But there’s even a better view from the watch tower, so up stone steps we go.

Stunning, really just stunning. You see the red tiled roofs just below, jutting and joining, then out and out to the entire valley. Another painting, perfectly pastoral. Green forests, rich brown fields, rows of crops lined up from this distance like soldiers. A patchwork of natural colors flowing toward the hills with the hills rising up to mountains.

The view. Photo by j a-b
Intrepid travelers with a view. Photo by kat’s phone
Pano with helpful wall detail for the view. Photo by j a-b
BW’s take on the view. Photo by BW

There had to be roads, but I barely noticed them. And it all seemed so still and peaceful, like a world caught in glass.

We go down, and down some more, making Kat our navigator (she has the map from the tourist office) once again as we walk. The heat builds, I find. Heat rarely bothers me, but I think the stone buildings, the narrow street act like an oven.


Little shops again, all so cute. Kat and I wander into one as we’ve seen a colorful shirt–literally as its pattern is paint swatches–that we both agree says JASON. And in wandering in, I see these adorable woven shoes. Colorful, fun. I have to at least try a pair on. My usual size feels a little big, but they have a size down. They’re ridiculously comfortable. I must have them, and the shirt, too. Kat assures me if it doesn’t fit Jason, she’ll have it for her own.

Who cares about the heat when you have fun new shoes?

Woven shoes. Photo by NR

Okay, now I’m dripping. I don’t sweat like that unless I’m working out and hard, but it’s HOT, and humid with it in this particular spot. I sit on the curb awhile while Jason and Kat poke into more shops. They’ve found the most adorable little dog (or cat in their case) feeder.  An iron dog with little bowls for food and water. It has some weight. I watch the heavy bag–and the parade of people. I see some sandals I wish were mine on someone else’s feet. Lots of dogs. A miniature poodle on a leash stops to say hello.

Artful bottle display. Photo by j a-b
Choices, choices. Photo by BW
BW called this “Manikin Fail.” Photo by BW

I see a young man with an impressive tanned torso–he shows it off by folding up his oversized tee-shirt. It must be cleverly pinned on the inside. It’s an odd look, but there is that torso.

Shopped out, we walk up and up, up some more, and find a church. A large and lovely one. And it’s cool inside. Stations of the Cross, holy water basins, flickering candles, statues of saints, and as always the BVM.

Church as seen by j a-b

Up some more, and oh yeah, ice cream. Just sparkling water for BW (though he has a couple samples of my cone) as he’s having a tooth deal. Something broken off on a back tooth–likely a filling–that’s rubbing sharply. We put, by text, the intrepid Alain and the efficient Elania at the hotel on the case. He may have a stint in a dentist’s chair in the morning.

Back home we go for a well-deserved rest.

BW takes a swim, and it inspires me to do the same. Just the perfect thing after a sweaty adventure. As is the belini I make after the swim. After a rest, Jason and Kat (younger and more resilient) decide on another walk to the market. They’ll go the long route, and their ETA back here is 8.

Bellini. Photo by NR

BW finds whatever tooth deal he had has resolved. Most excellent news. I lose track of time until it’s coming on 8, remind BW he has to decide what he wants to order for dinner as none of us want to clean up sufficiently for dinner in public.

Jason and Kat return right on time, with more bottles of champagne, sodas and whatever else hit the list.

Dinner on the terrace–just that lovely, smooth soup for me, and okay, a few fries.

Another pretty, relaxing meal–a little entertainment, then bed time.

Since the dentist’s been averted, I’ll do my workout, and work (new charger arrived as promised!!!), then BW and I have both booked massages for this afternoon. Kat and Jason will motor off for yarn.

We have yet to decide how we’ll play the evening.

Neither my mourning dove nor the cat as visited me this morning. I’m about to snatch BW’s laptop and work out, so we’ll see about the ants.  


BW joins today’s #randomkatness:

Mantis by BW.
Mantis by Kat.


25 thoughts on “Provence, France Day 9”

  1. Wear the shoes in good health!

    So glad to learn you are mortal…heat and humidity I find a loathsome duo!!!

    Trip sounds magical!

  2. Another wonderful day in Provence. Great pictures and love the shoes. Kat’s take on the mantis is an awesome pic. I am happy to learn you are mortal as well. I always think of you as The Goddess. Thank you for the travelogue. As always it’s first rate!

  3. Nora, I’ve just been absolutely loving reading your daily adventures! Looking forward to more . . . BTW, really like your new shoes 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your explorations.

  4. I have to say the photo with the golden field and red tiled roof tops was my favorite for the day. Lovely.
    I’m so not a photographer but I like how some of your pictures have a “rounded” view. There was another “rounded” one the other day, but I forgot to mention it.

  5. I had a pair of shoes like those from Mexico. I swear they were the most comfortable shoes I ever owned. You might should get 2 pairs LOL.
    Your vacation sounds so wonderful. What a lovely thing that you do by sharing your adventures with all of us.

  6. That mantis appears to applauding in the first photo, not praying, or at least that was my impression. How wonderful to happen across colorful, comfy shoes. And every single time you wear them, you will think of the place where you found them. They sort of remind me of Bernie Mev shoes. Google those and see if you notice the similarities. Out of curiosity, do you bring extra suitcases (empty, of course) to haul your stash of souvenirs home or just have everything shipped?

  7. I, too love those shoes! Again, the scenery is just exceptional, the photos excellent. The mantis is helping with the workouts by doing squats!

  8. What a beautiful place. My favorite so far. But…’s Katy’s picture of the mantis that won my best picture of the day!

  9. So happy to have your travelogue as a diversion for my morning. Couldn’t help but worry about you intrepid travelers in Europe, way, way too close to the troubles in Spain. For the sake of all of us who love you – and your family – please PLEASE: while you’re enjoying your sultry days and blissful nights, put your head on a swivel and be aware. I think I speak for all of us: we want you back safe.

    Faites attention!

  10. I am intrigued, what does Kat do with all this yarn?! 🙂 Wonderful trip, enjoying it immensely through your eyes. I have never been to Provence though love Nice and the surrounding area along the coast there!

  11. What was the name of the book where Roarke first found about his family?

  12. You made me feel the heat and humidity. I would have been right beside you on the curb. Love the sandals – you definitely had to get them. The photos, as always, are spectacular and enhance the narrative. The manti is beautiful.

  13. Lov the shoes. As I’m a shoe fanatic, i own 2 pairs of bernie mev shoes. They are woven fabric squares, but yours look cuter, & more comfy than plain sandals.
    Your photos look divine, & I’m just amazed ay you. Even slightly envious, that after all that climbing & cardio, you just suffice with some soup & a few fries for dinner. That’s why you look as good as you do. That, & all the workouts you do. Bettet you than me.

  14. Love all your travel stories… make us see everything through your eyes and enjoy reading about all your adventures to places I’ll never get a chance to go to….Love the shoes, they look wonderful.. thanks again for sharing a part of your life with us , your faithful readers.

  15. Thank you for sharing your trip with us. The shoes are so nice, and if they are comfortable that makes them even better!

  16. Laura what is the time difference? I mean I live in CST so it is 9:30 pm here and you are 1 hour ahead of me so what is Provences’ time? Thank you all for helping us t see this wonderful jouney!

    1. Provence is 6 hours ahead of me, 7 for you. I get these when I wake up (around 5:30) and so everyone is well on the way to adventure by the time I post.


  17. I was blessed with two praying mantis on my porch this summer, busily taking care of a plague of grasshoppers. Fascinating, how they blend right into the plant. Then the very next day, there’s mayhem in my local library as one had found its way inside. Evidently I was the only one aware that humans aren’t on their menu and escorted it out to a safe tree. My legs are aching in sympathy to yours! Beautiful, beautiful pictures. Thank you.

  18. We really almost feel like we are on vacation with you all, it’s wonderful. Thank you again for sharing!

  19. Wow! I just love the play of shadows on those mantises. Fantastic photos!
    p.s. How do you make your belinis???

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