France is one of my favourite countries - there's amazing cheese and wine, a beautiful language and so much diversity.
From my days of school exchanges in Renne to my most recent romantic getaway with himself in Paris, each destination offers a completely new and cultural experience while still holding that iconic French charm.
This week I was fortunate enough to visit the beautiful Aix-En-Provence area, a dreamy region with sweeping vistas, rustic buildings and a strong farming trade.
I headed over with Fever Tree tonics to explore some of the areas where their produce is sourced.
Provence is a place that I've always longed to visit after reading so much about it in my school books and watching films such as "Jean De Florette" and "Manon Des Sources" in my teens. Though these were filmed in the 80's, the area remains untouched by 21st century trends and looks exactly how it did back then, minus a few more cars and cyclists zooming up and down the roads.
If you're looking to escape reality, smell the flowers and recharge the batteries, Provence is a must.
Where To Stay:
I stayed a village called Apt. It's a small area with only a handful of cafes, restaurants, bakeries and gift shops. Most villages in this region are virtually the same.
It's a much more welcoming area than the likes of Paris in my opinion, the locals are full of chatter and there's a much more chilled vibe - when the farmers aren't farming they're sitting in bars sipping on the local wines and tucking into fresh baguettes - how French!
I stayed in a hotel called Auberge Du Luberon - it's very simple, old-fashioned but the owner was so friendly, it felt like he was welcoming me to his home rather than his business.
From my room I looked out to the river that separated me from the village.
During my stay, I also visited Roussillon, a beautiful village that overlooks the vast Apt Valley.
The unique spectacle of the ocher cliffs and its cultural and historical environment makes it a treasure for everyone.
There is a hotel located in the heart of this idyllic village called Le Clos De La Glycine that I'd recommend for sure - amazing views and a great atmosphere.
What To Do:
If you're a nature-nut there's not much you need to do per say in Provence, except immerse yourself in your surroundings.
Don't expect to find booming nightclubs, high street shops or hipster coffee shops - it's all about being away from that.
During my trip, I visited a few farms where Fever Tree Tonic's produce is grown, harvested and distilled. It was amazing to see that everything they use is the best of the best and completely natural.
Visit The Lavender Fields
Our first stop was Apt Aromatiques which produces a huge amount of Lavender. If you're in this region, you'd be silly not to visit a lavender farm, it's an overload to the senses from the plethora of smells and colours.
Lavender grows in Provence between June and July, so that's the best time to go.
There's an array of farms around Luberon with most places being open to visitors. Tourists are asked not to pick it as it's important for the farmers to harvest as much as possible but pictures are welcome.
Some popular tourist spots are Valensole, Sénanque, Luberon and Salut.
View this post on Instagram
Ce soir c'est le départ pour notre prochaine destination : Lisbonne. @brunomaltor nous voilà 😉😉 ☆ On a hâte de quitter la grisaille et la pluie pour retrouver le soleil ☀️ ☆ Mais le choc thermique va être brutal, on a regardé la météo et ils annoncent des températures ressenties allant jusqu'à 42° 😲 ☆ En attendant une petite photo de lavande, la saison va bientôt commencer.
Browse The Markets
Most villages in Aix-En-Provence host food and flower markets during the week. This is a great place to pick up some freshly picked and homegrown fruit as well as some nice gifts like soap and lavender oils.
Check Out The Works Of Cezanne
Art is a very important part to Provencian culture.
Famous painter Cezanne was born within the city-commune and there are many museums and tours dedicated to him.
The "Footsteps Of Cezanne" is a good walking tour to try as well as Atelier Cezanne, a gallery filled with his works.
View this post on Instagram
2018 Was a Great Year Series 27th of June to 4th of July Provence - France . 🃏🌟always tag👉 #fx_hdr 👈🌟🃏 for your chance to be featured! ✨❗Come visit us @fx_hdr ❗✨ 💣 No drama just fun!💣 💡 #fx_member 💡 . . #Provence #France #Aixenprovence #Marseille #FR #HistoricalCities #worldcup2018 #streets #summer #trip #vacation #férias #labastideduroyrene #Love #Beautiful #PaulCezanne #Cezanne #ateliercezanne
Where To Eat
I started my evening here with a premium Fever Tree G&T looking out at the incredible canyon-like cliffs and breathtaking landscape that surrounded it.
Restaurant David is ideal for special occasions. It's recognised by Michelin and serves up top class dishes using unusual flavours.
You can choose between a set menu or A La Carte, one thing is for sure though - you must try the cheese board while sipping on some local rosé.
Le Pont de l'Orme
This family-owned business in the outskirts of the countryside is well worth a visit.
It's great value and typically French.
Bistro La France
Walking into Bistro La France in Apt, I have to admit, I wasn't expecting much. There was dusty football ornaments all around the walls, sad-looking chairs and those rotten red paper serviettes on the tables.
It was busy though, so I guessed they must be doing something right, unless it was the only place to eat in the area.
I ordered a truffle ravioli and soon felt ashamed for judging a book by its cover. Truffles grow a-plenty in Provence and they're my favourite thing ever so having fresh, locally-grown truffles in my pasta for a very reasonable price was a true blessing.
I'll be dreaming of this dish when I think of Provence.
Provence is one of the most lovely places I've been to in quite some time - tranquil is not the word.
Being there I realised how crazy life and living in the city can be. Sometimes you need to take a step away from it all to appreciate how stunning this world is and how important it is to take the foot of the pedal every now and then.
Je reviendrai !