South of France: Provence

We spent the second half of our trip in Provence and stayed at Hotel Crillon Le Brave, which came highly recommended from some friends. If you are looking to splurge or doing a celebratory trip, I can’t recommend this hotel more. We lucked out with a special they were running and booked three nights for the price of two & in an upgraded room and it was absolute heaven. It’s one of those special hotels that has thought of everything and takes the best care of you. Completely worth every penny! I loved all of the design details throughout and was taking a zillion pictures to remember for our future home one day.

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Provence is all about exploring the little towns and enjoying incredible food and wine. One of our favorite villages was Gordes. It is one of the Les Plus Beaux Villages de France aka “Most Beautiful Villages of France,” which is an official government seal of approval for a number of villages. It truly is breathtaking and exactly what you picture when you think of a Provencal town.

Gordes is built onto a hilltop and has insane views of the Luberon (see below). We loved walking through the streets and emerging at the end to beautiful vistas. After wandering, we stopped at La Bastide des Gordes, which is a gorgeous hotel in the center of town. We sat outside on their patio overlooking the valley with a couple glasses of rosé and some snacks.

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L’isle-sur-la-sorgue is the spot for antique shopping. The town is full of antique shops and stalls and if you are able to go on a Sunday, there are even more vendors set up along the edge of the town. As a forewarning, prices are a little steep and I had to really search to find the mid-century vintage pieces I was hoping for. I forgot when you’re in Europe, antiques can be super super old! My favorite spot was 50 Cinquante, which was located in a back courtyard and full of mid-century pieces. There was also an amazing vintage clothing shop in the same courtyard (think lots of white eyelet blouses and dresses).

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One thing I wish we had done more of was market shopping. Each town has their own market and they vary which day of the week so I recommend researching ahead of time and planning your visit accordingly. The markets close very promptly at 12 noon and it seemed like we were always arriving at 11am, with not enough time to truly explore and savor it. Next time!

I particularly loved the markets in L’isle-sur-la-sorgue (Sundays), Vaison-la-Romaine (Tuesdays) and Aix-en-Provence (Thursdays).

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Hands down favorite meal of the trip goes to La Bastide de Marie. We booked a reservation here without knowing much about it and could not have been more in love. The property is a hotel, restaurant and vineyard with the most incredible roses and flowers I’ve maybe ever seen. Dinner starts with a drink and apértif in the garden during sunset and eventually you move inside to a rustic dining room overlooking the vineyards. The meal was our first true gastronomic experience and we loved every part of it. We jokingly thought the meal would be outrageously expensive (I forgot to check prices beforehand!) but it ended up being totally reasonable for an outstanding and memorable dining experience. A definite must visit or stay if you are in the area!

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