Travel Dates: August 30 – September 10, 2016
Accommodations: Airbnb Bonnieux
One of our all time favorite movies is The Hundred Foot Journey. It’s a heartwarming story about an Indian family that moves to a small French village after tragedy strikes. It was that beautiful charming village in the movie that inspired Amit to seek out a place in the South of France so we could cultivate a similar experience.
Our home for the next 9 days was a charming maison in Bonnieux, a small village in the region of Provence, in the southeastern part of France. Bonnieux is one of the many villages that sits on the Luberon hills, overlooking the valley. Our home was surrounded by sprawling acres of grape orchards from the neighboring vineyards. Peaceful and picturesque, just what we were looking for.
Guy, the owner of the maison was there to greet us upon arrival. He was the most hospitable host we could ask for, surprising us with fresh flowers, fruit and wine! The house had all the country charm we desired, complete with a fully equipped kitchen with expansive sliding glass doors that overlooked the tranquil garden and pool. Amit’s second job, after family porter, became the pool boy, which he took very seriously.
I always secretly wished I could speak French – it’s such a romantic language. And now that we’re here, knowing a little French would’ve definitely come in handy. Unlike most other European countries, most French do not speak English. Our favorite phrase during our stay was “Parlez vous anglais” which is “Do you speak English.” In most cases the answer was no. With our limited French vocabulary (Bonjour and Merci) we were pretty helpless. Sign language mixed with a little unintentional Spanish was how we got by. To improve our French we immersed ourselves in the culture, listening to French music and watching French movies with English subtitles. One of our favorite films during our stay was Romantics Anonymous…cheesy but entertaining nonetheless.
We spent most of our days going to farmer’s markets hosted in neighboring villages. This gave us the perfect opportunity to explore the surrounding medieval towns of Apt, Roussillon, and Gordes. One day while exploring Apt, we stumbled upon an unassuming patisserie with the best custard filled cream puffs I’ve ever had! Just thinking about them now still makes my mouth water. And the organic fruits and vegetables were just incredible! The only things that appeared to be genetically modified were the mutant houseflies that I waged war against everyday inside our country residence.
On occasion we would find a cute place to dine in town but our favorite meals in France happened to be the ones made from home with love. We purchased meats from the local butcher, baguettes from the local bakery, wine from a local vineyards and fruits and vegetables from the farmer’s markets and would have ourselves an amazing feast.
Our time in Bonnieux was relaxing and just what we needed before we geared up to meet our friends Dave and Vee in Scandinavia but first we would make a pitstop in Paris for one night.
Accommodations: W Hotel Opera
As much as I loved spending a few quiet days in the country, I know I am a city girl at heart. The minute we stepped off the train platform in Paris, it was instant chaos. People everywhere, cars weaving in and out of nonexistent lanes, horns blaring. It was an overload of the senses yet somehow I felt right at home.
We stayed at the W Hotel centrally located across the street from the Opera Garnier and close proximity to tons of retail shops on Boulevard Haussmann. As tempted as I was to shop, I have absolutely no available space left in my luggage. I’m sure that makes Amit happy. I wonder if my credit card companies and Revolve are concerned about me since they have no way of knowing I’m still alive…
Since our time here was really limited, the only thing we really had time for was to eat! We had a lovely lunch at Cafe Honore. We got seated on the terrace where we munched on calamari and tuna tartar while we people watched amongst the locals. For dinner, we were both in the mood for Vietnamese (Oh how I miss Vietnamese food). We dined at Hanoi Ca Phe which turned out to be a local hot spot for Parisian hipsters. We ordered buns and springs rolls and gorged ourselves as a DJ spun 90’s tunes in the background. Overall the restaurant had a cool vibe and the food wasn’t stellar but it satisfied my Vietnamese craving.
Until next time Paris!