Paris & Provence, France (with the Mum’s)!

Where it began…

To preempt this post, I’d like to start with two statements:

  1. Trev and I both have amazing mommas.
  2. Our amazing mum’s have built an independent friendship together, and it’s the best.

The mom’s called us this past Spring with a profound statement, “We’re coming to London together in October, and we want you to take us to the wine country.” The only thing worse than telling one mom “no”, is telling two mom’s “no”, so that was that. (Who are we kidding…we’d never turn down a trip with our mom’s…especially when requesting a wine-country extravaganza.)

Planning began, and it didn’t take long to choose France as the winning destination. We’d take a Tuesday evening Eurostar to Paris, spend 1 full day in the city of love, and then catch a train onto Provence Thursday-Sunday.

36 Hours in the City of Love

Designing our short stay in Paris, trying to fit in all we love of a beautiful city with endless things to see and do, proved challenging. But thanks to TripAdvisor & the Uber dynasty, we were able to tour the entire city and visit nearly every place on our list in the spread of one sunrise to sunset.

A major contributor to this feat was the Paris Secrets and Charms 4-hour, electric bike tour. (http://www.parischarmssecrets.com) Within the hours of 9am-1am, we’d whizzed around a majority of the city, hitting some of the major tourist attractions, while also stopping to discover several hidden gems and hear stories of wild history past; such as how Champaign came to be and where it was made famous, the location of the first guillotine, a restaurant housing the letter Marie Antoinette wrote to her sister-in-law on the morning she was executed, and a visit to see  Napoleon’s hat! This tour was loads of fun, even for us “seasoned” Parisians (or so we’d like to believe ;P), and the electric bikes were easy and a blast to use!

After the tour, we grabbed a bite on the go and stopped at a sweets shop to stalk up on beautiful delicacies – then headed to enjoy our treats under the beautiful Eiffel. ❤

The following day,  we woke early for our train from Paris to Avignon, France; into the depths of the French wine country! The train ride is beautifully scenic and peaceful…just ask these two.



Once in Avignon, we rented a car and drove to what would be our home base for the remainder of our trip; the beautiful village of Crillon-le-Brave.

The master of online research (Trev) had put so much thought and time into determining where to stay in Provence – and I can’t even tell you how well he did! Crillon-le-Brave is a Provencial dream. Essentially, it’s a village that was bought and turned into a hotel complex, which sits atop a mountain, overlooking the beautiful wine country. Trev rented out the Sousto Village House for the moms…and I kid you not, there were tears when we checked into the house. It was the perfect (two-story, two-bedroom with luxurious bathroom, fireplace and sound system) escape for our mommas. Trev and I stayed in a bedroom across the street, and it was equally as lovely. I’ll make it clear that this place is not inexpensive in any way, but if you’re looking to splurge on somebody special (like your sweet mommas ;)) it will not disappoint. It’s also a great home base for wine country exploration.

http://www.crillonlebrave.com/


Provence is arguably the most stunning region we’ve visited in France. It’s everything relaxing, beautiful, and delicious and the people are so incredibly welcoming. The region is probably best know for the brilliant lavender fields that span miles of fields. Unfortunately, these bloom and are harvested all within the month of July, so we were unable to see it ourselves.

Our first day in Provence, we hired a private guide to drive us around the Chateuneuf du Pape region for wine tasting. We’d selected this particular region based upon a couple of incredible bottles we’d enjoyed at various points on trips to Paris. We scheduled a day with Romain Gouvernet, whom you can find and book through various website just by searching his name. Romain was awesome. Super friendly, professional, knowledgeable and full of good laughs, he customized the perfect day for our mommas.



We visited 3 different wineries, stopping in between at a quaint spot for lunch, and Romain was even kind enough, although it was very late in the day, to take us by the Palais des Papes on the way home for a couple of beautiful photo opps.

Day 2 in Provence, we crafted our own road trip agenda to visit a a few places we’d found and/or had been recommended to visit. We made our first stop in the town of Lourmarin, a quaint village with loads of little shops full of local art, clothing, and other Knick-knacks to bring back home (soooo much lavender soap!).


Mom and I struck gold at a boutique clothing store that had just opened it’s doors that day! We bought jewelry, beautiful long sweaters, and made best friends with the owner, whom informed us as we were leaving that we were, indeed, her first customers! 😀


In the meantime, Trev and Esther sat in the sunshine and enjoyed a nice chat over a cappuccino.


Our second stop of the day for lunch, more shopping, and photo opp heaven, was Gordes. Gordes is a quaint and quiet, with a couple of brilliantly located coffee shops and restaurants overlooking the rolling hills of the wine country. We were able to snap a group photo just as the sunset behind the hill.


As our last stop on the drive home, Trev chased down the daylight for a peep of Senanque Abbey. This beautiful abbey harvests lavender in the summer, all around the main building. Although it has all been cultivated months before, mom managed to find a couple of left over sprigs. We learned a little too late that it was indeed not for picking, and may have been silently urged off the grounds by a monk. Luckily, we snapped a couple of photos prior to the mishap.

On our drive back to Crillon-le-Brave, we stopped roadside several times to take advantage of the beautiful landscape photo opportunities. ❤


Day 3, our final day in Provence, led us to the town of L’Isle Sur le Sorgue for a stroll around their famous Sunday market. We scored big with delicious treats and admired the antique water wheel standing over the main river through town.


I’ve left perhaps one of the most noteworthy factors of this entire trip until the end, because it deserves its own section. French food. Trev and I are major foodies, and we were so delighted that our mums joined in culinary adventure with us. They tried everything we ordered, including frog legs, escargot, foie gras, pâtes, and more! The food was out of this world. Have a look for yourself!


Provence is everything goodness for wine, food, scenery, relaxation and excellent customer service. This was such a special trip for us to be together, and we couldn’t have chosen a more magical place for the adventure.

***

I recorded a good bit of the trip on our GoPro and created a short documentary as a gift to our mommas. It’s a great summary of all we experienced. I’ve shared the link below for anybody interested:

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