This was my dream.
Having visited our good friend, Caline de Gasquet, in Aix en Provence for many years, every time I was there, I wanted to stay. My mantra to my husband Don was, ”Why do we live in Atlanta, Georgia? Tell me why?” When we could live where the sunlight is strong and shines a lot, where the air is clear and dry, where the food is beyond delicious, and French… fresh and grown locally, where the architecture is old and oh, so paintable, where the pace of life is slower and seemingly more genuine.
Well, I said this enough that, finally, in August of 2011, he said, “Ok, why not?” So, in March of 2012, we packed up nine suitcases, and two carry-ons, the cats, Ellie Belly and Priscilla, and did it. We moved to Provence!
Our new Dutch friend (that we had met on an earlier trip), Christel Van Marlsen, found us a charming apartment to rent in the lovely, old village of Lourmarin, (where I had painted years ago), right in the heart of the Luberon Valley north of Aix. And for three and half years, we ate oysters on the half shell (and washed them down with a little white wine from vineyards right around the corner), partook of a pot de feu with friends once in a while, visited wineries by the dozens in the area, trained to Paris to walk the familiar boulevards where we once lived in the eighties, struggled with our meager French (and still do!) and just flat enjoyed life.
But Alice is never happy…unless she has a house to call her own and a garden to create. So, after pleading a bit too long and loud, and knowing we were here to stay, we found an old mas (farmhouse) nearby, built in 1843, in need of some love and attention. Three months of the notorious French tape to buy it, and then three months of renovation, while we lived in the cuisine d’ete (summer kitchen) sans bathroom!, we are now, for the past year and a bit, truly at home in France. We are fulfilling our goal of spending most of our time in France.