Guest Traveller Kate Murdoch is the author of the historical fantasy, “Stone Circle”, to be published in 2017 by Fireship Press. She exhibited as a painter and was a finalist in a number of prize shows before turning her hand to writing. Her short-form fiction is regularly published in Australia, UK, US and Canada. A self-confessed francophile, Kate recently travelled to Provence with her family to immerse herself in the language and culture. Based mainly in St Rémy, they explored a number of picturesque towns and villages. Join Kate as she travels Provence…
Our trip to Provence was something I’d dreamt of for a long time. My husband, two children and I joined my parents at the beautiful Le Chateau des Alpilles in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, using the town as our base to explore the area. All the rooms and suites are different, with unique views over the property’s magnificent gardens. We stayed in a suite with two large rooms, the living room converted into a bedroom for the children. There was also a small kitchenette. It was September and still warm enough to dine alfresco.
A day trip to Avignon was a highlight. A private guide showed us the Saint Bénézet Bridge and the Palais des Papes, the largest building of the Gothic period in Europe and the home of the Papal court in the 14th century. We also visited the indoor market, Les Halles, known for its exceptional produce.
Les-Baux-des-Provence is set atop a rocky outcrop at 804 feet high, with views across the Alpilles mountains. It is a stunning village with an interesting history. Its position made it ideal as a fortress and it was attacked many times. In the Middle Ages the village was at the height of its power, controlled by the Les Baux princes.
Nearby is Carrières de Lumières — a former stone quarry converted into a venue for multimedia shows. As you walk around the large space, images of art are projected on the walls to the sound of classical music. It is an otherworldly and memorable experience. Not to be missed.
For more information on Kate’s writing and upcoming novel, visit https://katemurdochauthor.com/ She writes at https://kabiba.wordpress.com/ Or connect on Twitter https://twitter.com/KateMurdoch3
Kate’s Top Five Tips for Travelling in Provence:
1. If visiting Avignon in July there’s the Festival d’Avignon, when actors, dancers and musicians come to the city. A great experience for both adults and children.
2. If hiring a car, driving is best enjoyed at weekends, as most large trucks and HGV vehicles are banned from French roads between 10pm on Saturday and 10pm on Sunday.
3. Provence is famous for its Rosé. Try Côtes de Provence Rosé or Tibouren.
4. If travelling with children who are fussy eaters, many bistros have a menu enfant (children’s menu) – pizza, pasta and steak hâché-frites (hamburger without bun and fries) are common. The French don’t take kindly to children running wild in restaurants.
5. Visit the Pont du Gard — hiring canoes and paddling beneath it is an experience not to be missed.
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