Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Provence Light

We just returned from a week in Provence followed by a week in Dardogne, the poor-man’s Provence (Provence-lite if you will).

I loved the light in Provence, that clear yellow luminance that held everything in its crystalline precision, daring you to paint it or write poetry to it or at least cook a great meal and eat it outdoors.

All activities in Provence were accompanied by the Cicadas, who I thought were saying “ne t’inquiet pas” (don’t worry) but who my more bloody-minded boys decided were saying ne tue mois (don’t kill me).

In Provence, we stayed near Beaume de Venise and drank their sweet wine (great on glass one, a bit much on glass two, undrinkable on glass three). Austen was enthralled by the local go-kart track. He has decided that his life’s calling for this month is to be a race-car driver. Alexander loved wallowing in the pool with his signature drowning water-rat stroke. Yvonne took advantage of her first week to contract a scary case of strep throat.

We ate out at the local public pool, whose no-name restaurant featured a different and extraordinary local specialty each day. This to me is the essence of France – that you can walk into a public pool, saunter over to the snack bar, and have an exquisite, home-cooked meal. Savoir faire impresses most where you expect it least.