My craving for the South of France commenced nearly eighteen years ago with my first cooking school in a Provencal village called Plascassier. Here, I had the pleasure of staying in an old vine-covered farmhouse encompassed by olive trees, cypress trees and of course surrounded by lavender plants. The cooking school’s location happened to reside in the past home of Julie and Paul Child. Yes, how lucky was I! I knew the farmhouse was called “La Pitchoune” but did not know that to the locals it was simply known as, “La Peetch.” So, for the next week this sweet little French house, still full of the Child’s personal belongings, became my home away from home.
Little did I know that my stay at “La Peetch” would lead me several years later to the creation of a travel business called Jackdaw Journeys.
Never in my life (being from Mississippi) had I been exposed to the sights (landscapes and seascapes), taste (Camembert in Puff Pastry and Pavlove au Chocolat), sounds (Cicadas), smells (lavender) and spectacular views of old medieval villages that I experienced that week. What I didn’t know at the time was that I was experiencing what is known to many as, THE SPIRIT OF PROVENCE! After many years of repeated visits to the South of France, I learned that the Spirit of Provence wears two distinct faces: one called Provence and one called The French Riviera. I also didn’t know that the Spirit of Provence would become an addiction for me for many years to follow.
The many landscapes of Provence are quiet different. On the coast line you have a region called the “Cote d’Azur. Here, you find alluring coves of clear blue cool waters, yachts and boats of all sizes and colors, Belle Epoque architecture, marvelous villas, beautiful people, fast cars and always bougainvillea draped lanes and houses.
Then you have what is often just called Provence! Provence is the countryside with mountains and vineyards. It is enchanting château’s and medieval hill top villages, gently winding roads with vineyards, weekly markets and lively bistros. There are Roman ruins, fields and fields of lavender (blooming in June and July) and sunflowers and poppies (blooming in April ) and a crystal, pure light that has attracted many artists over the years. All being said, let’s jump many years ahead to the birth of Jackdaw Journeys Tours.
Once Jackdaw Journeys was formed I wasn’t able to choose which part of the South of France to spoil my guest with. The only solution was to treat them to both regions when on tour; the alluring villages and lands of Provence and the awe-inspiring coastline of the French Riviera. Why not come along with me on my Jackdaw Journey’s tours? You too will soon be craving the South of France and you just might start your own addiction.