Provence in December

Old Dec 28th, 2022, 12:20 PM
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I spent a bit of time in the Panier last year as well.

The "Panier" district of Marseille | Any Port in a Storm (proboards.com)
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 03:46 PM
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Thank you to everyone who has responded for your kind comments. I really, really appreciate them.

Kerouac, I thoroughly enjoyed your blog on The Panier! The information you included about the destruction during WWII is fascinating. The monument to the people sent to death camps is especially sad and difficult to view.
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 03:52 PM
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Christmas Market in Senas

We visited the Christmas market in the small village of Senas, and it was probably the most “Christmas-y” of all the markets we visited. Senas is off the beaten path, so you won’t encounter many tourists here. The market was held just for one weekend. It was the market I enjoyed the most for being the most Christmas-y.



Bewitching Bonnieux

We visited the beautiful hilltop town of Bonnieux for the first time on this trip. Not sure why we never visited during previous visits. Guess there is just too much to see and do in Provence! Bonnieux still preserves its medieval character with stone buildings, walls, steps, and hidden staircases and narrow lanes. Visually, it is very different from Roussillon, Gordes, St. Remy or L’Isle Sur La Sorgue. Probably the most medieval looking village that we have visited.

Bonnieux is very quiet in December. Many restaurants, hotels, and stores were closed. The best thing to do in Bonnieux is to wander its ancient streets and slowly make your way to the 12th century Eglise Vielle du Haut at the top of the hill. The journey there is very atmospheric with gorgeous views of the countryside. And don’t forget: there’s a market on Fridays!

As we were slowly making our way back down to our car, we came across one of the few restaurants that were open. We had a delicious lunch at Maeve. I tried looking it up so I could include the link but I can’t find it. The name on our receipt is Maeve. My husband and I shared half a dozen oysters. I ordered a salad with 3 triangles of goat cheese wrapped in dough. I think my husband had a meat dish. I didn’t take notes so I am going by memory, photos, and receipts.

Bonnieux and Menerbes or Bonnieux and LaCoste would be a nice combination to visit in one day.
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 03:56 PM
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Christmas market in the small village of Senas

Christmas market in Senas

Antique carousel

Beautiful Christmas display

Senas Christmas market

Dancing snowflakes
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 03:59 PM
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More photos from the Christmas market

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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 04:13 PM
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Merci mille fois for taking the time to do this. Provence is one place we hope to visit sometime soon, although in warmer climes. Tried last spring, but we decided against it as COVID rates were too high for us at the time. Love your photos from Isle sur la Sorgue. Looking forward to more.
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 04:26 PM
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The medieval village of Bonnieux

Center of Bonnieux

Bonnieux rooftops

Bonnieux street scene
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 04:33 PM
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Our slow ascent to the 12th century Eglise Vielle du Haut

One of many steep pathways in Bonnieux

Old stone house

Typical steep staircase

Another steep staircase

Pretty courtyard
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 04:39 PM
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I love all the stone work!

Getting closer to the top

View of the Luberon Valley from the church grounds

Another view of the Luberon Valley

On the grounds of the old church

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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 04:50 PM
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Descending from the church

View from the arch way

I love these trees!
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 04:54 PM
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Scenic Bonnieux


Our lunch in Bonnieux - I think my husband had a Provencal beef stew

My delicious salad with goat cheese triangles wrapped in pastry
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 06:36 PM
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Thank you for posting your trip report and pictures. I love the one with the arch.
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 07:45 PM
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Thank you for this trip report. Weve only been to Provence once (many years ago), and this is another reminder that we must return, potentially including Marseille which weve never visited.
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Old Dec 28th, 2022, 09:16 PM
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That final shot showing tiled rooftops---don't you just love them! A collage of complimentary colors, always so lovely to see.
I am done. the Mayles country
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 03:15 AM
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Loving this! I feel like I’m walking along with you along those ancient stone walkways! And your salad, with the pastry-wrapped goat cheese triangles, looks delicious!

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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 02:12 PM
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Lovely pictures of Bonnieux. We stayed a few years ago just outside the old town (near the Chateau of Mayles fame), in a lovely B&B. The Belgian owners were down to open for the season -- they said Easter to early November, and then things shut down. They gave us their favorite restaurants to eat in the town, which was so great. Some very nice vineyards close by as well, made for an excellent stay

Since then, we did meet a couple that bought a house just outside the center. It is such a seasonal town, that can be challenging, but the peak tourists are nothing like Gordes or Roussillon.
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 02:18 PM
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Eygalieres – off the beaten path

Eygalieres is one of my favorite villages in Provence because it is not on the typical tourist path. We have visited many times, and we have very rarely heard any English spoken, except for some restaurant staff. You will not be surrounded by American tourists. Most of the people who come to the Friday morning market are French locals, or perhaps from a few other European countries. Eygalieres is about a 15-minute drive from St. Remy.

We always visit on a Friday to browse and shop in the market. Additionally, the restaurants in Eygalieres serve a special white fish dish only on Fridays. We have had this dish at Café le Progress and Chez Paulette, which we like better than Café le Progress.

When we visited on this trip, we arrived close to noon on Friday, and most vendors were already packing up their wares. The market is a much smaller scale in December as we noticed at other markets we visited. The market is typically open for shopping at 8am and starts closing up around 1pm.

So we headed straight to Chez Paulette for lunch. My husband ordered the special white fish that comes with potatoes, veggies, and in this case, a hard boiled egg. Not all restaurants include the hard-boiled egg. I decided to order bouillabaisse, which was very good but perhaps a tad too rich and spicy for me. I notice as I get older I can’t eat very rich foods. For dessert, we shared a delicious pear and almond tart, which was perfect, not too sweet.

Then we decided to walk up the hill to visit the ruins of the Ancienne Eglise Saint-Laurent. We hadn’t done this on previous visits; I think because it was summer and too hot for us. December was perfect for the uphill walk. The church was built in the 12th century. The original bell tower was destroyed during the French Revolution. A new St. Laurent church was built in the 20th century and is located in the center of the village, near Chez Paulette. When you reach the top, you will be rewarded with beautiful views of the Alpilles.

Last edited by KarenWoo; Dec 29th, 2022 at 02:57 PM.
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 02:29 PM
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Great report. It must be lovely having family in Provence and be able to make lots of visits. I think we would wear out our welcome if we had family in France!!! Having local knowledge as well lets you visit some places the average tourist might miss.

We visited Bonnieux in 2014 and walked up to the church. Your photos brought back happy memories.

Looking forward to more.
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 02:40 PM
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Street scene of Eygalieres, one of my favorite villages

Street scene of Eygalieres

Eygalieres

Eygalieres

A lovely home in Eygalieres

The new St. Laurent Church, built in the 20th century
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 02:44 PM
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Small grocery in Eygalieres

Street scene in Eygalieres
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