Provence is so large and diverse, it really is hard to describe it all. When traveling by car, one is often fooled by the distance and time it takes to get around. Although there are some highways, a lot of the roads, are secondary roads which meander and wind through the small villages, towns, and countryside. In fact, "the mode" of getting around Provence seems to support the relaxed tempo of life here.
In the Luberon region of Provence, the large regional Luberon Park protects the countryside from random development and preserves its wonderful valley floors and rising Luberon foothill views.
The wind can be a factor in Provence. There are actually several winds which occur in this region. The mistral, probably the best known, originates in Siberia and barrels towards Provence through the Cote du Rhone valley, sometimes with violent force and sometimes for days. During a mistral wind, everyone has a favorite legendary "mistral story" to tell.
Many of the hillside villages are from medieval times, and some started as Roman beginnings, when that was the best way to defend yourself from invaders. Often well-preserved, and with commanding views, these villages have wonderful bistros, weekly markets, honey-stone churches to explore, village tradition, artisan crafts, and lively local culture to take in.
Provence is soothing and peaceful visually. How can you not be moved looking out at its verdant quilted patchwork countryside, gentle rising foothills, valley floors, and vast blue horizon, seemingly untouched for centuries. Incredibly, you can still experience fields of happy sunflowers, acres of scented lavender, flocks of sheep migrating, producing olive groves, and noteworthy vineyards, as part of normal everyday Provencal life.
Springtime in Provence, when these photos were taken, show how simply beautiful the countryside is. Much of the landscape in spring consists of budding vineyards, gnarled mature olive trees, towering cypress, blossoming fruit trees, climbing roses, blooming wisteria, and the dramatic red poppy in mass.
Have you been to Provence in the spring? What is your favorite memory?