Over the last few posts we have been exploring how Provence captures our senses. We have explored the sights, sounds, scents and tastes of this special place in the South of France, and now I want to talk about touch, or rather, the textures of Provence.
The Artists are Inspired
Provence has a diverse landscape which in itself creates a wide range of textures for the eye as well as the up close tactile feeling. This diversity of texture has inspired artists, writers and travelers for centuries. Drawing them in, and inspiring them to appreciate and capture the layers of texture in their work.
Vincent van Gogh created the now famous painting, ‘Farmhouse in Provence’ (also known as Entrance Gate to a Farm with Haystacks) which is an oil on canvas painting that he did in 1888. He used several contrasting colors in his painting to bring out the intensity of color contrast of the textures of this little glimpse of Provençal life. This painting is now owned by the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C.
Photographers, from the amateur to the professional, have also captured the beauty and rich textures of Provence.
I’ve been enjoying the beautiful book ‘An American in Provence’ by the award-winning photographer, Jamie Beck. Her book, ‘An American in Provence is a beautiful collection of exquisite portrait, scenic, and still-life photography’. Liam Hess of Vogue magazine said about her book – “The ultimate takeaway, though, is the value of slow living that Beck has learned in Provence.” Visit her online shop and follow her on Instagram @jamiebeck.co
The way she captures the textures of Provence shows the warmth and richness of this beautiful part of the South of France. A feast of texture for your eyes and your soul.
The Natural Vistas
Outside the eye of an artist, the average person can feast their eyes on the textures of Provence at almost every turn. Depending on the season you will experience the richness of texture in the landscape, whether it is the rows of vibrant purple lavender stretching out in delightful purple blooms, or fields of sunflowers with their golden-yellow heads stretching towards the warm Provençal sunshine. The contrast of the soft lavender and the bright yellow against the bright blue skies creating a texture of color. There are so many more vignettes that you will find expressing the textures of Provence through its natural beauty – the vineyards, the mountains, the lemon trees, the sea and the beaches, it is an abundance of natural texture. The texture of the flora and fauna, and the changing colors throughout the seasons create dynamic and picturesque scenes.
The Textures of Human Life
The natural textures of Provence are stunning and almost equally so are those created by the human inhabitants of this region. Centuries of residents and visitors alike have shaped the rich textures created by the streets and buildings.
The medieval architecture is found in many towns and cities in Provence, such as Avignon and Aix-en-Provence, including narrow alleyways, stone arches, and ornate facades. The weathered texture of the stone buildings and cobblestone streets, the rustic shutters on the windows combined with the colors, and the trees and plants mixed in and around the buildings layer in the charm, creating a visual texture.
All of it together adds to the sense of history and authenticity to this region of France. You will be taken in by the warmth of it all, and be impressed by the idea of it standing there for years before, and knowing it will do so for years to come.
And of course there are the markets, a staple for me, our Jackdaw Journeys trips and for Provençal life. They are truly where the abundance of texture culminates. The sights (the colors of the fruits and vegetables, the textiles, the treasures), the scents (the fresh produce, the flowers, the perfumes), the tastes (the street food and the restaurants) the sounds (the warmth of shared conversations, the laughter, and the vibrancy of community)…all of it coming together to create the textures of Provence.
Ah quelle vie! Mon cœur est plein.
Oh what a life! My heart is full.
Thank you for coming along for this sensory journey of Provence with me through these last few posts. If you missed any of them you can find them here on our Travel Blog:
I invite you to experience the sensory pleasure of Provence for yourself on one of our upcoming Jackdaw Journeys trips, book your spot today.
Share your Experience
Have you experienced the magic of Provence yourself and have a desire to share your experience in a guest blog post? I would love to hear from you if you are interested. Send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org with your idea or submission.