Early spring, we arrived in France to begin holiday. The timing was ideal. Spring had just begun with cool temps in Provence, northern Italy and Northern Spain.
In the hospitality business we call this timeframe the "shoulder season", and historically it is a great time to avoid large masses of holiday makers and make use of the wonderful off-season attitudes. Things seem less rushed, shopkeepers have more time. We can linger....Downside is the occasional cold and rain.
We can only imagine how crowded it must be during high season.
But we will only imagine.
We have no plans to hit Europe in summer. Spring or Autumn for me- and Texans never complain about a little rain.
"The Bourgeoisie Pensioners" arrived in Provence when the French southern countryside was just waking up.
Early flowers had delicately bloomed in protected gardens.
Lavender irises line the alleys and lanes, encouraging the eye to follow. Visual rewards of another private pathway or a small stone bench, always delighted us.
Every walk or drive in Provence proved to be memorable, with the French garden's early blooming peony bramble or the ancient ruin of a terrace framing new growth of vines.
Driving through the countryside, meadows are checkered with dark green wheat, a winter crop-and a bright yellow rape plant. The fields make the seque to vineyards a patchwork of man-made kaleidoscopes slides of crops.
We have only nodded off briefly, as we ride through Europa, and only after dusk! The drives are so entertaining.
Our routes are purposefully designed by Deb Hill, to absorb the visual water colored silks flying along the windows. We are fond of the waters of France. Diane laughingly states we enjoy seeing water in the Rhone, as Texas seems to become dry banked in our endless droughts.
The Natural Parks & Forests of France seem to be threaded through our travel routes, waterways and marshes are sprinkled with villages, bike paths and agricultural fields.