picture-perfect provence

GordesThe splendour of the big screen came to life in France for Intrepid’s Tamara Palinkas, when she enjoyed a walking holiday in Provence

“In my opinion critics have been a little tough on the movie A Good Year, starring Russell Crowe and directed by Ridley Scott. It’s true that the story is a bit predictable: Max, a British broker, inherits a rustic chateau with a vineyard in Provence. He decides to sell it, but he falls in love with the laid-back Provencal lifestyle and Fanny, a beautiful French woman.  However, I loved watching it for the real star of the movie: the stunning countryside of Provence.

A few months ago, I suddenly had the chance to travel in Provence and I couldn’t believe my luck. Travelling around the Luberon, I realised that much of the movie was filmed in this wonderful region. I went to Bonnieux, a picture-perfect hilltop village, where most of the cast were based. A short distance from here you can find the chateau itself, which – in reality – is an organic winery called Chateau la Canorgue.

I also spent time in Gordes, which appears several times in the movie. A great view of it can be admired when Max’s plane is arriving, then you can see the main square when Max keeps driving around the roundabout. And most importantly, Fanny’s restaurant – actually Hotel le Renaissance – can be found in a small corner by the castle.

Looking for the chateau, Max gets lost a couple of times. First between two quaint villages, Oppede and Menerbes. Later, when he stops at a vineyard, you can see Lacoste with the castle of the Marquis de Sade in the background…I enjoyed exploring all these lovely places on my holiday.

Of course, not only these locations are worth a visit. In the Luberon, most villages are similar, perched on top of a hill, characterised by steep cobblestone streets, ancient stone houses with colourful shutters, old wooden doors and terracotta roof tiles, trickling fountains and tiny cafes. They are surrounded by vineyards, bright lavender fields, orchards, olive groves, peaceful farms, colourful ochre cliffs, and seemingly endless blue sky. It was fantastic to enjoy all this European beauty, taste delicious food and wine, shop at vibrant outdoor markets and meet charming locals. I just wish I inherited a little house somewhere in Provence!”

photo: Gordes by Tamara Palinkas

About the author

Sue Elliot - Like many of us, Sue contracted a serious travel bug at an early age. She's visited over 90 countries in search of a cure, but her wanderlust just seems to get worse. Thankfully at Intrepid Travel she's amongst people who understand the affliction and since 1998 Sue has enjoyed being our blog and newsletter editor. Here you'll find helpful travel advice and inspiring tales from Sue and other Intrepid travellers.

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