We spent the first week of September in sunny and warm Provence, France. It was the best vacation that I have ever been on, it felt like a retreat. A retreat to nature, to calm, to quiet, to the mountains, to so many of the things that we are so fond of in Santa Fe and parts of California. Our villa was just 2 kilometers outsides of the village, Bonnieux. We spent our time hiking in the morning, finding lunch in Bonnieux and area villages, then returning home for a nap, then pool time, and then dinner.

In the early morning before Gabe woke up, Lua and I walked into the village to the boulangerie for fresh, still warm, pain au chocolate – it was divine. We made most of  our own dinners, but our friends Jason and Chris had found this wonderful pizza restaurant in Bonnieux that become our favorite place. For three nights in a row we indulged in wonderful, thin-crust, wood-oven pizza.

Our first hike was to Lacoste, where on top of the hill at the top of the village sat ruins of one of the Marquis de Sade’s castles. It was an adventurous hike which started in Bonnieux and weaved through farmland, olive groves, vineyards, and even a small marsh. Bees swarmed in the thick bushes creating a constant humming tone throughout the 4 hour hike. Yes, it was a long hike for only 5 kilometers, but after a few wrong turns, climbing up hill, and hiking with a three year old, it took 4 hours. We were relieved to make it to the village, however when we arrived we soon found the village to be extremely quiet and vacant. It was nothing like the lively energy of Bonnieux just on the other side of a small valley.

Lacoste was picturesque with narrow cobblestone roads, stone buildings, and of course at the top, ruins of a castle. After this hike we found that our favorite part of the day was the hiking. It became clear that it was what we missed most after living in London – a space to retreat to nature. So for the remainder of the trip, we hiked in the Luberon Valley and then explored other villages for lunch. All of which were fantastic. Our last lunch was our favorite at L’Arôme in Bonnieux. Gabe and I both ordered fish garnished with a roasted red pepper sauce and potatoes. Lua got the asparagus risotto, both Gabe and I agreed that it was the best risotto.

And for our final dinner we ate at the ever so popular pizza place – I figured it would my last taste of bread and cheese for a long time!! Here is what Lua insisted on wearing to our final dinner in wonderful Provence. So really the trip was all about hiking and food, what more could you ask for!