For our own sake, I’m thankful the Mediterranean does exist and can provide us with a little tiny bit of summer when it seems to have vanished elsewhere. 2014 is a sad year for the summer weather. I was happy my first months in Paris were coinciding with late Spring and mostly Summer. Well, I got a taste of Autumn instead, so the search for that lost summer had to begin. Oh, how I miss my long Italian holidays (my very own madeleine de Proust).

But yes, I had a plan B: hopping on a train and going down to the marvellous French regions of Languedoc-Roussillon and Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. This time, I’ll unwrap my article in 6 chapters. Ready? Let’s go. And please, read what follows with your best French accent.

1. Le Clos de la Pousterle
St Bonnet du Gard, 30 min away from Nîmes. A very small village, made of small streets and old houses. One of them is Le Clos de la Pousterle. From the outside, you would never guess what’s inside. Beauty is shy and at its best when it can’t be seen by everyone. It’s only when you open the front door that you can measure the preciousness of the place.

The four walls circle a courtyard, almost protecting it from the outer world. Once inside, the guests are in their own hidden palace, made of peace and serenity.

The Clos is owned by a young couple, Claire & Guillaume. Amazingly enough, upon our arrival, we came to learn that they had lived in Brussels for 10 years. In fact, Claire is from Belgium, while Guillaume is from St Bonnet du Gard.

We had booked the Tourelle bedroom, the most romantic of their rooms. The mood was set: flowers, a palette of soft and natural colours, exposed beams, bird cages…

We also need to talk about the pool for a sec… I admit it, I felt like a little princess having the pool all for myself. The Clos is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever stayed at. 

They opened the place only two years ago, so it’s still relatively “unknown”, but I’m pretty sure this will change very soon. Such an exceptional place cannot go unnoticed for too long. Plus, Claire gave us super good restaurant suggestions as we were telling her our plans day by day.

2. Le Tracteur
Without a doubt, this is my love at first sight (and love at first bite) spot. Literally located in the middle of nowhere, I had never seen such a place before. Le Tracteur is charming and raw, astonishing and unexpected.

Poetic and bohemian, my lunch at Le Tracteur felt like I was embarking on a delicious journey. The coolest place ever!

The menu is a short one, with a selection of several appetizers, main courses and desserts, obviously all made with fresh and local products.

3. Les Jarres / Castillon du Gard
Castillon du Gard is a tiny village we discovered a by chance, along the road.

Soaked up with sunlight, the streets and houses looked like they came straight out of a movie set.

One evening, for dinner, we went to try Les Jarres restaurant, on the main square of the village. Just like Le Tracteur, the menu is concise, but full of good stuff. Tapenade d’olives for starters, followed by two bull steacks. Well, I’m not a huge carnivore, but that meat was damn tasty. 

Cooked to perfection, accompanied by savoury potatoes and vegetables, this helped me reconcile with red meat. 

4. Uzès
Uzès is exactly what you would imagine for a typical small town in the South of France. Pedestrian streets, lots of cafés and restaurants, little shops, lovely old buildings with blue or green shutters…

5. Camargue: Aigues Mortes & the Salt Marshes
The occasion was too perfect not to seize it: we were close to the Camargue area. I’d never been there and it always had something fascinating in my imagination.

Unfortunately, we didn’t have enough time to see what I really really hoped for: the horses, the bulls and the flamingos.

Instead, we visited the medieval town of Aigues Mortes and the Salt Marshes right next to it. 

So maybe I didn’t get to see the flamingos and their eye-catching pink colour… but I got served with something else that was pink. The Salt Marshes.

Those colours were incredible, nature definitely is a magician.

6. Avignon /Pont du Gard
Last but not least, the famous city of Avignon which I don’t even have to introduce.

We walked around the Papal Palace and the main streets, trying to find a less crowded spot to enjoy our last rays of sunshine.

Our very last expedition took us to the Pont du Gard, an ancient Roman aqueduct bridge that crosses the Gardon river. By night. The majestic bridge is lightened up in various colours, and it turned out to be quite romantic to sit on the ground and watch one colour fading into another.

I believe this French escapde closes my summer getaways for this year. Which basically leaves me less than a year to plan for 2015! And my gal Anita surely has more to come… Stay tuned!