A Provençal Oasis in the Luberon Valley

IMG_4313.JPGI really don’t want to share this one, I really don’t. But it’s pure kindness that makes me not withhold. In the Luberon valley, just below Bonnieux and Lacoste, lies an oasis of perfection called Mas des Sens. Le mas is a gorgeously manicured property in a quiet, rural location and is made up of three rentals along with two private lavender fields. Our rental was Suite Gordes, my favorite due to its being completely private and in a separate building away from the other two rentals that face the pool.IMG_4293.JPGIMG_5559.JPGIt was a Provençal dream to awake each morning to the sight of a hot air balloon over the valley. And each day I watched as my own private lavender field turned more vivid in purple. From my bedroom, I had a view of Bonnieux from one window and of  Lacoste from the other. And each night, I watched a spectacular light show as the sun set over the valley, the light changing minute by minute. As never before, I sensed just why this place is so special.IMG_4845.JPGIMG_5505IMG_5570.JPGThe English caretakers of Mas des Sens are an absolute delight. They prepared a gorgeous breakfast for us on the first morning of our stay. Breakfast can be requested for an additional charge and delivered to your own private terrace outside your door.IMG_4289.JPGThe bike path passes right by the rental, making it a perfect location to rent bikes. In fact, the bike shop in Bonnieux will deliver bikes and pick them up for your convenience.

What a peaceful place to stay! Staying down in the valley instead of up in a village was a whole new delight, surrounded by farmhouses and quiet country lanes. Here are a few photos of the surroundings.

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À bientôt!

Plockton—The “Jewel of the Highlands”

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“I’ve a feeling we’re not in Provence anymore!” Far away from the land with over 300 days of sunshine a year, our travels take us to the misty, captivating land of Scotland—a land of rolling hills, majestic mountains, cascading waterfalls, and more sheep than there are people. Travel along as we visit the “Jewel of the Highlands”—the picturesque village of Plockton.

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Sitting on the shores of Loch Carron lies this sleepy little village with its whitewashed chocolate-box cottages and photo opportunities for days. From boats bobbing in the calm waters and picturesque islands off the shore, not to mention the chance of spotting a seal or an otter, this village is a place to stop and explore.

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There are several scenic walks around the village, which take you through open moorland to vistas overlooking the sea and through enchanted forests. Ian’s walk is an easy hike that offers beautiful views of the sea. The Woodland walk takes you through a forest with tranquil views of Plockton. The marked shoreline path takes you to Duncraig Castle. And last but not least, most definitely walk the peaceful country road above the village, looking down on the loch and charming string of cottages.

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For home-cooked comfort food at its best, stop at the cozy Plockton Inn. The menu changes daily from a selection that includes fish-and-chips, shepherd’s pie, fish pie, fish soup with tomato and basil, and braised beef and potatoes. All were excellent. But the fish pie was outstanding. It was a smoked fish with potatoes and vegetables in a crust. There is also the Plockton Hotel and the Plockton Shores restaurant, both serving fresh and delicious food. The carrot and coriander soup at the Plockton Hotel was memorable.

If venturing to the Highlands on your way to the Isle of Skye, stop at the “Jewel of the Highlands.” Like us, you might even find your car surrounded by a herd of Highland cattle as you make your way around the winding roads of the village.

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À bientôt! Or see ye efter! (as they say in Scotland)