You can keep Salon as a base for another night and go and explore the Massif des Alpilles and all the beautiful - and some very famous - villages west of Salon but staying east of the Rhone.
You could also alter or shorten this itinerary to spend the night at L'Ousteau de Beaumaniere, one of the best establisments that France has to offer in terms of location, extraordinary food and luxurious accommodation.
You won't get much change out of a 1000 euros for two if you want to do justice to the wine list and the gorgeous shop on the premises!
But let start with another children play ground: Lamanon
Lamanon is the only prehistoric troglodyte settlement known this side of the Rhone and its setting high up in the hills with views to the north into the Rhone Valley, it is the perfect place for playing endless games of hide and seek - trust me, i have spent hours there with my sister, cousins and my own children doing just that and enjoying a picnic under the beautiful pine trees. You can also do a bit of escalade over the rocky outcrops which hide the caverns. And if you are "sans infants" and you are there outside of week-ends and school holidays, you may well have the place to yourselves with your significant other, and i will let your imagination run wild over the romantic possibilities...
Eyguieres - our first glimpse of the Alpilles
From Eyguieres to Maussanne: the olive country
From Eyguieres to Maussanne, and Mouries in between, you will find the most extraordinary plantations of olive trees, some more than 400 years old. No wonder that some of the finest olive oil in the world is produced here, although in very small quantities, compared to Italy, Spain greece and...Australia
I recommend you subscribe to our Newsletter to access my article on olives and olive oils here
Mouries will always have a special place in my heart, as I would not be here if it didn't exist - I explain...
Mouries was the place where my Mum and Dad met towards the end of World War 2. The American troops were stationed near by, and although Dad was French, he returned with FFL and the American Mediteranean Debarquement contingent after spending a few years in Morocco and Nebraska in the US of A.
It just happened that my grandfather, who shot all the ID photos for these young men, was invited by the local commander to a "bal" in Mouries and my Mum-to-be tagged along and was subsequently asked for a dance by a handsome, yet shy young man. She accepted, and the rest is, as the sying goes, history.
It is fitting that it will be Mother's Day tomorrow in Australia, and this is a little tribute to her years of dedication as a wife for 645years and a Mum for almost as long...So, thanks Mum for having been - and up until this day - an inspiration and a model of positive thinking and optimism.
Fontvieille and Alphonse Daudet
Fontvieille is again a gorgeous typical provencal village which was made famous by the local poet: Alphonse Daudet. Daudet wrote poetry in provencal language and was very influential in reviving it and helping keeping it alive to these days. His main oeuvre, Lettres a mon Moulin - Letters to my Windmill" are all set around a famous widmill, still standing today.
Exploring Les Baux, a fortified village on a rocky outcrop near Les Alpilles will certainly take you the balance of the day, enjoying the sunset on the valley below planted with vines and olive trees. There are also a number of shops, galleries and antiques that will tempt you with their wares. Some are really beyond the ordinary tourist souvenirs and you can find beautiful furniture, homewards, tableware and linen. And if you like silver jewellery, then you have to visit Mr Moniquet, down in the Valley and you should do that just before retiring to the Ousteau de Beaumaniere for a sumptuous dinner and a luxurious night.
And yes, it is an indulgence! But if you can afford it, go for it! It will cost you at least 700 euros for a night there including the fabulous degustation menu, a bottle of wine - choose carefully - a room and breakfast the next morning. But you could spend twice as much if you want one the suites and a Cote-Rotie with dinner!
Now, if you can't spend that sort of money - and I never did - you should just go for lunch to get to experience the food, the service and just the confort and prettyness of the place (that includes the beautiful gardens and the pool). The lunch menu is a weekly surprise and at 99 euros per person, quite a treat! So no excuses...
Going back to Salon...leisurely
The next morning, you will want to linger over breakfast, try the pool and visit the somptuous shop, and then you might want to head up north towards St Remy-de-Provence, the paradise for antiques lovers
Eygalieres - our last stop for the day
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Born in France, well travelled, relocated to Sydney in 1997.
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