The 25th May is a public holiday in France – Ascension Day, signifying the 40th day of Easter when Jesus dropped the mic here on Earth and went to heaven. We took advantage of this in the south of France. Luckily for us, public holidays and weekends are completely irrelevant for the time being. However, the time off meant we could spend an extra long weekend with Laurent and Agnes and family.

Svet had found us an ace Airbnb place in Aurons, in the Provincial countryside. The charming little house was just right for the 4 Melik-Binghams and 5 Brus. The front garden was a wonderful setting for breakfast each morning. For the evenings we ate at home, dinners were also set under the trees overlooking the amazing view.

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Aurons itself is a small, quiet, one-cafe town. From there we spent the next few days exploring Provence.

In a case of lucky timing, on Thursday Pelissanne was host to a festival celebrating the town’s history. Locals were in typical regional clothes and there was a hand-made, wooden carousel that was powered by parents on a seesaw. In the beating summer sun, young and old put on a very entertaining display of traditional dances.

 

Salon-de-Provence, Lourmarin and Bonnieux are picturesque villages of vary size set amongst the mountains. We spent many enjoyable hours meandering through the alleys, and climbing the hills in search of unbelievable panoramic views.

 

Lourmarin has a market each Friday. While collecting a selection of local produce for a picnic, we came across the world’s most delicious honey. Made locally, this nectar of the gods is stirred until it is light and fluffy. We also bought some eye-wateringly expensive nougat, which we then left in a hotel fridge on the way home. Just outside Lourmarin was a field of poppies. We stopped, and wandered in. Turns out it was a pea farm, and the poppies are just there incidentally. The farmer was super nice about finding us wandering through their peas.

 

Aix-en-Provence (pronounced ‘Ex’) is the major city in the region. Despite spending a full, long day there, and looping the main sights via the tacky-tourist-bus-train, we really only scratched the surface.

How good is crepes for dinner!
How good is crepes for dinner!

 

The drive from Venice to Aurons was 9 hours. On the way up we just went straight through. On the way home though, we broke the journey in half at Imperia. Just on the Italian side of the border, Imperia is a seaside resort town that struck me as a more attractive version of Surfer’s Paradise. Whilst we only had an evening there, it was an enjoyable pitstop.

In Imperia, a pretty little beach that even had sand!
In Imperia, a pretty little beach that even had sand!

 

As part of their homeschooling, the kids wrote some observations of their time in France.


Oliver :

On the 24th May we drove for seven hours and 45 minutes to meet the Brus in Aurons. Aurons is in the south of France about two hours west from Italy. Dad had to use his mad reversing skills to drive through the zigzagging road that lead up the hill to where we were staying. We had fun with the Brus even though the kids don’t know much English and we don’t know much French. Altogether we had a great holiday.

Things I saw

We saw lots of towns like Aix-en-Provence, Bonnieux, Lourmarin and Salon de Provence. My favourite town was Aix-en-Provence, because of the fountains and the antique market. Another thing I saw was a poppy field. It was a big field full of poppies and beans. You weren’t allowed to run or walk on the poppies but carefully stroll through the paths. I collected the beans off the ground until my pockets were bulging. The last thing I saw was an abbey. I went in the Bru’s car. The people in our car saw two squirrels but I only think I saw one’s head. Inside the abbey I didn’t do much. The only interesting thing was I heard a rat scratching rocks inside the wall.

Things I ate

In Lourmarin we went to a food market and bought the best honey ever created. it was so smooth. I also tasted my first nougat. We bought half a block of fig and half a block of normal. We ended up losing it in the fridge of room 304 in the hotel Miramare. Another food I had was crepes. I didn’t particularly like the savoury crepe but I loved the nutella one.

Things I bought

At the antique market in Aix-en-Provence I bought a World War II American bomber. Apparently it was the property of a boy during World War II. I got the plane for €5. I also got a soldier at a second hand store near the market. The last thing is I got two fidget spinners. One was metal and I lost the ball bearing down the drain and the other is not down the drain.

Things I did with the Brus

One thing I did with the Brus was play tag. They call it touche touche in French which means touch touch in English. Another thing we did was tell stories through Google translate. The last thing is we went on lots of picnics. We would bring chorizo, bread, cheese and lots more.

The End

Unfortunately we won’t be seeing our French friends this year again, but we will hopefully see them in Tasmania next year in February.


Lucy :

On the 24th May we went to France. It took nine hours. When we went up a very crazy road to get to the house. Dad had to reverse into the carpark. It was quite fun. Mum had to get out and help dad. Later we found out there was a better road to drive on. When we got in we saw our friends. The Bru family: Laurent, Agnes, Cyprien, Josephine and Solene.

Happy things

When the Brus speak English they have a big French accent. I thought it was funny. As a fun game we player touch touch. Touche touche means touch touch in France words. At last we had friends.

What was sad

One thing that was sad was when Oli lost the middle of his fidget spinner. Now it is just a fidget. When we went to the antique market Oli got another one. It was black and had metal on it.

Things we saw

When we were driving to Lourmarin we saw a big patch of poppy and wanted to go in the poppies. Before we had a picnic. Then we got to go to the poppies and collect peas. We also went to an abbey called Abbaye de Silvacane. We had a little run and then went in.

We went to a old fair with singing and dancing. There was a carousel and face painting. All the stuff was like the olden days. The carousel was old-fashioned, from 18th century, and made out of wood. People had to sit on a seesaw to make it work.

I got a bracelet at a market.

What we ate

For breakfast we ate outside every day. We had cereal, bread and this delicious honey. The honey was stirred five thousand hundred times. We got it from this place called Lourmarin at a market.

For lunch and dinner we had crepes but ate with a knife and fork. We also had pasta with salad and pepper on top.

The End

We sadly said goodbye and went back to Venice.