This past week I took a much anticipated trip down South with my parents. It had been many years since we had taken a trip just the three of us, something I have always loved to do as they love to discover new places and old ruins as much I do. We were to meet my brother and his family in Toulouse but decided to take the long way there via the Alps and Provence. They indulged me in a trip down memory lane.
Being as close as we are, I also like this quieter time together to talk about serious things and catch up (I’ll always be their baby after all). French highways and a little trip under the Southern sun were perfect for that. I hope you enjoy the photographs below and maybe discover or re-discover other facets and areas of France.
Our first stop was the Hautes Alpes where we have had a chalet there for more than 30 years. I grew up spending every summer and winter there from the time I was four until I left for the US. Every major step of my life as a person, child to adult was pretty much spent there (and Provence). This is there where I learned how to bike without training wheels, swim without swimmies, took my first glider ride, learned how to build a fort,...
Our chalet sits at the foot of the little village of Saint Crepin which has changed in so many ways and at the same time remains the same. Everything in that curvy main street is a witness to the changes of time and economics. Being resilient and adaptable is not an attitude here, it’s a necessity.
Here I would watch my grandfather wait for the rain to stop and get out with his cane in the woods behind the chalet and hunt for snails. Here, we would sleep in the front yard to watch meteor showers and we took many hard turns and falls on our bikes, down the stairs or in the woods. A place for growth. A place for change.
This is also where Bill met my parents for the first time and assured my dad of his best intentions in spite the challenges or age difference and the distance between us could bring to this new relationship. A special place for sure.
There are places I crave. This is one of them. As you can see, mountain villages are as sight to be seen. Colors. Flowers. Wood. Old stones. The green pastures and clear meadows of the Queyras behold such beauty. There are places that just put the world right by you. This is one of mine.
We only stayed a couple of days but it was enough to get a fill for all the things I missed. The town of Guillestre with its typical narrow streets and old barns now renovated and turned into homes or restaurants. The Citadel of Mont Dauphin, built under Louis XIV, still intact (never attacked!) with its cobblestone streets, gorgeous blues and artisans (pottery, leather, painters,…).
It was pretty darn perfect to notice my body instinctively repeat moves and turns or my brain to remember missing stones and oddities I only knew as a child. I could have stayed there an entire month but we had more to see and more highways to cover. Next stop was the town of Aix En Provence and the small village of Calas where I grew up but that will be for next time.
I leave you with a snapshot that my dad sneaked of me while in Fontvieille, one of my many favorite places in Provence. I have so many though…stay tuned!