Hilltop Village Hopping: Luberon

I can see why 2,000 calories a day was the recommended diet: our ancestors spent a good chunk of their day walking on some tough terrain. I absolutely loved the pedestrian-only paths and the altitude of these tiny tiny stone cobble towns. It’s like a StairMaster but with a much more beautiful view than the sweaty back of the person on the machine in front of you at the gym. Modern life, you can’t get me when I’m up here (but actually, the nationwide bread store had a franchise in each village…you win this round, capitalism). It is kinda sad to see these ancient cities turn so dependent on tourism and lose the real flavor of their culture. Maybe I’m wrong about that but I have to say, I heard more chatter English than French at these sites.

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Olive tree grove. The French have this great spread made from olives, olive oil, anchovies, and capers called “tapenade.” It’s my substitute for peanut butter. Read: I eat it a lot.

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Even on a rainy day, the colors of Provence do not fail to illuminate the scenery.

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Yeah, I visited a cemetery. French cemeteries are pretty different. The graves aren’t dug into the ground because the ground isn’t this grassy field but a gravely, stone terrain. I absolutely love Cypress trees and the reason there are so many in French cemeteries in Provence comes from an old Roman tradition. Since cypresses grow straight up, they believed that if you plant a cypress tree on top of the grave, you’ll send the deceased straight up to heaven. Isn’t that a nice sentiment?

They didn’t say we couldn’t take pictures inside but I felt weird whipping out my camera. Albert Camus, a Nobel Laureate in Literature and a major Provencal philosopher, is buried here with his wife. He died at age 46 in a car accident which is so ironic because Camus was afraid of cars and rarely. He was persuaded to travel with his publisher by car at the last minute that day. After the crash, they found an unused train ticket in his pocket. His books are really good for beginning French learners because he doesn’t use very complicated grammar or vocab. “The Stranger” uses almost exclusively only three tenses: present, past, imperfect. And they’re about existentialism. So read it.

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The French really do love their cats. My host mom feeds the strays near our apartment.

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Some trippy art sculptures on top of the village Lacoste next to an ancient chateau. Savannah College of Art has a abroad campus here. Of course an art school would base their study abroad in a mountain village with a population of 400.

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It makes more sense when you look at that view.

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The French seem to bring their pets everywhere. I’ve seen them in restaurants, bookstores, shoe shops. Everywhere.

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This place is a great source for the pigment used to make yellow ochre. Forgot the name.

Voila. A fast track drive through the Luberon region. I’m beginning to worry I’m touring more of France than my own backyard in the States.

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