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Adventures in the South of France

April 17, 2014
by CEA MOJO
Thanks to our wonderful program directors, we've been fortunate enough to visit lots of little French towns in the Provence region, all of which I've fallen in love with. Yesterday we visited three different villages in southeastern France, one of which was tucked up against the side of a mountain, built around a spring in a valley at the foot of the Vaucluse Mountains. Called Fontaine-de-Vaucluse (“spring of Vaucluse”), it is named after the spring, the source of the River Sorgue. I felt like I had stepped into Beauty and the Beast, for the colorful houses and shops perfectly complemented
the natural landscape, with the water and mountains a stunning backdrop.
 
 Isle Sur La Sorgue Market

All of the towns had something in common: quaint, picturesque, and supremely peaceful. I could've walked around the market at Isle Sur La Sorgue for hours and hours and hours. There were spices, and perfumes, and leather bags and jackets, and all kinds of meats, and glittering jewelry. I had way too much fun picking out gifts for my many sisters back home. It really felt like something out of fairytale--the little old man who jollily stood behind his table of handmade wooden kitchenware smiled as I admired his work and delicate creations. I think it was the combination of his smiling eyes and his undeniably lovely wood-work that got me...I walked away with more bowls and spoons than I could possibly fit in my suitcase. But worth it it was!
 Fontaine-de-Vaucluse
 
 Lolo at work
 
 CEA feast at Lolo's

Aside from these lovely little trips to Provençal towns, there was another excursion that I'll never forget. Last weekend we all visited (all 30+ of us) an 89-year-old man named Lolo, who lives on a farm about an hour outside of Aix, in the Provence countryside. He alone prepared a five course meal that we enjoyed by a great, big fire, all the while sipping rosé and red wine form a nearby vineyard. Each course was brought out separately, and eaten slowly and leisurely– after all, the many hours that Lolo put into preparing the whole meal ought to have been fully appreciated (Mom, I think you’d be a fan of this…the work of the chef certainly doesn’t go unnoticed)! By the time we each lined up to give Lolo bisous, a kiss on each cheek, and waved “Au revoir,” it had been at least a four hour visit… a ritual indeed!
 Chez Lolo
 
 CEA students in Lolo's olive tree field

Emily Blume is the Spring 2014 CEA MOJO in Aix-en-Provence, France. She is currently a Sophomore at the University of Pittsburgh.

Read more about our CEA MOJO Bloggers & Photographers.
 
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