Its no secret I love France. I love discovering new regions, exploring the vast country and appreciating the regional differences, but that said I always and I mean always want to return to Provence. I mean I absolutely love Provence, the sound of cicadas, the scent of lavender, the beautiful landscape, the taste of tapenade and of course the wine. So I try to pick a new area of Provence each time to explore. The best of both worlds. A new area and still my favourite place. The Provencal lifestyle is appealing as is the food and well just about everything! Everytime I go to France I don’t feel like I have really been to France if I don’t go to Provence. In fact I have called it it like going home.
But lately I have wondered about that statement. I do love Provence. I feel comfortable there, I know my way around, I love the food, the feel, the welcome but is is where I feel like home? Maybe but Provence is my heart, I love it more than I can say but home? Home to me in spirit is actually Burgundy (Bourgogne). Bourgogne truly feels like home. Just like visiting London on Tower Bridge felt like all my childhood expectations of London coming true that first time, so does Burgundy represent that for France. For one. wine is not only a source of pride and artistry but also identity. Its complex, boutique and like nothing else you will experience. But as well all my culinary stereotypes of France actually have their regional roots in Burgundy. Boeuf Bourgignon? check, Coq Au Vin? check? Charlois beef? check? escargot? check? and the list goes on. Burgundy with its small and beautiful wine villages, dark wood cozy bistros, less crowded local markets, and stunning countryside is where I feel completely at peace and really feels like I am home.
If I could have my way I would live in Burgundy for 6 months each year and Provence the other 6 months. Nourishing both my heart and soul. So if you want to find out just why I love these areas so much here are my tips to make the most of your visit
- Try the wine. Provence is vastly underrated for its wine. The roses are well known for a reason but the reds are often overlooked. Also it is important to note, although part of Provence, many of the wine appellations actually belong to the Southern Rhone AOCS including. Luberon, Ventoux and the famous Chateauneuf du Pape. Make sure to try Chateau de la Gardine http://www.gardine.com/en/ and Domaine Le Galantin http://www.le-galantin.com/
- Visit the markets: L’isle sur La Sorgue is my favourite, but @benton8tor prefers the less busy but still great Roussillon and Cadanet markets.
- See the lavender fields. Head up to Sault for some truly stunning views and scents!
- Try the local food. As I mentioned before Avignon Gourmet tours introduced us to some of Provence’s best food from tapenade to semi dried tomatoes to mussels to pastries I was amazed. Also try Bouillabaisse in Marseille! https://www.avignongourmetours.com/
- Relax and enjoy. There is lots to see in Provence for sure but some of the best fun is to be a had a local patio, sipping on rose or another wine, just people watching. Provence is great to unwind, relax, and enjoy.
- Go to Beaune the heart of wine county. Stay at the Henri II near the centre. The hotel is beautiful, the service spectacular and it is in walking distance to most sites. http://www.henry2.fr/UK/index.php
- Visit the Marches Au Vin. Understanding Burgundy wine can be intimidating and the Marches Au Vin offers tastings at a reasonable price. The tastings are self guided but their is a roving sommelier and it is a great introduction to understanding Burgundy wines http://www.marcheauxvins.com/?lang=en
- Go to the villages in the Cote D’Or surrounding Burgundy. Have a 5 course decadent lunch at Olivier Le Flaive paired with some truly amazing wines! https://www.olivier-leflaive.com/en/
- Enjoy the food! Burgundy is a culinary paradise. The first meal we had in Beaune was at a local spot where my mom ordered the ham sandwich and salad. Both the sandwich and salad was a rather large portion and she didn’t think she could eat it all. We start eating and chatting but my mom is rather silent. She scarfed down her salad and sandwich in record time. ” I couldn’t help it” she says as we sat staring at her ” it was just so good.” I rolled my eyes, how could a sandwich be that good? Fast forward 4 years and @benton8tor and I are at the Au Carnot, a beautiful bistro in Beaune and I had a ham sandwich that was that good. http://www.brasserielecarnot.com/ But so was the gazpacho and the beef tartare. Same could be said for the food at LA Grilladine, with its pate, beef and escargot. https://lagrilladine.fr/spip.php?article2 Beaune is a foodie and wine haven.
- Check out the markets full of amazing food, spices and local goods with considerable less tourists.
If you are going to Provence or Burgundy, you can’t go wrong, after all they are the heart and soul of France (Just don’t tell Bordeaux)