In June of 2008 we joined 21 friends in Provence for a week’s holiday in a grand chateau east of Avignon. Now a week might not sound like a terribly long time to be someplace, but for us as Americans our vacations are so limited that 2 days here and 3 days there is the norm.
Châteauneuf de Gadagne is tiny! Two bakeries, 1 bar/pizza shop and the post office. That’s it. The chateau sits atop the hill gazing at the town below. Each day we would stop at a neighboring village’s outdoor market and pick up fresh strawberries, a chicken, some sausages or salad makings. And wine; lots and lots of wine.
I guess I haven’t mentioned that these friends of ours (us included) are “foodies”. Serious, serious foodies. Many of us have been known to travel the globe just to eat at a certain restaurant or by a certain chef.
But this time we never went out for dinner. Not even once! In an area with Michelin- starred restaurants peppering the region we stayed at home. We enjoyed watching the sunset each evening from our patio over plates of local cheeses, olives and bread. And then on the last night all 23 of us created an amazing 5-course dinner and toasted our wonderful holiday.
The week felt luxuriously long and we felt like we had a home in Provence. Slowing down and settling in connected us not only with the town but also with each other.