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Friday, October 5, 2018

Week 5: Balades to Ansouis...Lourmarin...The Camargue



New French word to share: Balade (noun)-a ramble, wander, amble, jaunt.  You get it.... Later I'll come up with a word that expands balade as it is coupled with easels and a picnic (ideally).  We have been doing a lot of this in discovered or recommended beautiful villages and/ports all over Provence. And yet, we have BARELY scratched the surface and feel the weeks sifting by too quickly. Okay, right, live in the moment.


Ansouis came recommended by Jean-Luigi who sold us our FIAT Panda, as a lovely old village, barely 20 mins NE of Rognes. So while the teens slept in last Saturday am, Frank air lifted me to the summit of this village and then returned to his spot below, to paint, looking up at the village. I was quickly smitten with alleyways, stone paths, ceramic signs, pergolas covered over in grapes, hops, wisteria, cafes, dogs, plants, views, ancient cathedrals, all that charm in reach.
Frank and the FIAT...Look up to Ansouis above...Can you see me waving from the tippity top, next to the  cathedral???

From the top of Ansouis where the 360 view was more of this!


When he is finished with the Ansouis painting, I will post. Equally as charming, and even more of a destination for visitors/tourists is Lourmarin, with a castle and tons of shops/galleries/markets and a massive cafe culture.  We ambled, jaunted and browsed the Saturday "brocante" some antiques, some junk. Frank and I painted together but Frank returned a bunch of times to catch the light just the way he wanted it....





Lourmarin, Provence. 10x20" oil painting by Frank Bruckmann


We took a balade to the Camargue region of Provence, to the seaside town of Stes-Maries-de-la-Mer, including a visit to St. Gilles, a canal port where we'd been 18 years ago (me: preggers with Arlo who btw turned 18 this week!) to pick up our bateau de plaisance (barge). I was flooded with memories as we walked along the port... 
....and pretty sure that this little barge hadn't budged since then....
(no, we didn't rent THAT barge)

The Camargue is mostly known for it's cream colored roaming wild horses and the pink flamingos that visit on their migratory path...we visited at the Parc Ornithologique where I admit at times I have felt like this ruffled up lady with her head down in the muck....




We found a "great" place 
(because Jorgie liked the 70s-80s disco music) for lunch in Stes Maries, where in years past my bro and nephews and I had clambered up onto a cathedral roof/terrace and gazed over the Mediterranean.  This trip we witnessed the Camargue cowboys herd bulls down Main Street and into the bull ring...
The day ended with a visit to the fortified walled city of Aigues-Mortes... saw the massive tons of salt piles lining the flats, looked up to the fort's ramparts (closed), got scolded for not paying enough attention to Hazel who was sniffing and planning to lick licorice in a barrel (well...it was placed right at the height of her mouth!!!)  then hit the road to catch the sunset on a beach near a town called Grau- du-Roi. Lots of sunset seekers were parked and also sneaking dogs onto the beach to catch the last glimpse of the day....

what is that thing about owners resembling their pets????




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