Hole in the Donut Cultural Travel

I tilted my chin up and let the sunshine warm my face. Day after day in Provence brought crystal blue skies and fresh breezes that kept the sweltering summer heat at bay. I had come to southern France for its sunshine, but not for the same reason as most sun worshipers. What drew me were the famous Charentais melons of Provence. In addition to making me sigh with bliss, the sunshine of southern France combines with the region’s pure water, rich soil, and Mistral winds to create the perfect growing conditions for this delicious fruit.

Many evenings I dined at Au Rendez-Vous Bar, where they always included half a melon on my veggie platter

Many evenings I dined at Au Rendez-Vous Bar, where they always included half a melon on my veggie platter

I’d been curious about Charentais melons for quite some time. In the wee hours of the morning, on one of those rare occasions when I was in the U.S., I’d watched an informercial with a Hollywood cosmetic surgeon who claimed he could reverse the aging process. His secret? A ingredient extracted from the melons of Provence, France. Read More

The old Jewish Synagogue in Cavaillon, France

Click on title to view photo in large format. Between the Middle Ages and the French Revolution, Cavaillon, France, was home to a significant Jewish population. While Jewish communities in other parts of Europe were suffering horrific pogroms, the Jews of Provence were luckier. The Popes of Avignon, recognizing that Jesus was a Jew, decreed that they be treated with tolerance. However, because Jews were also seen as the murderers of Jesus, they established strict regulations Read More

Cloister inside Cavaillon Cathedral of Notre Dame and Saint Veran in Cavaillon, France

Click on title to view photo in large format. Though it was tiny, I really liked this pretty little cloister inside the Cathedral in Cavaillon, France. Unlike other cloisters, which are meticulously trimmed and neat, this one was a riot of unkempt wildflowers. Somehow, that added to its charm, as did the beam of sunlight that fell on its cross, turning it to burnished gold. Read More

Typical street scene in Cavaillon, France, gateway to the Luberon region

Click on title to view photo in large format. This sleepy street scene in Cavaillon, France might make you think nothing much happens in this village. In fact, that couldn’t be further from the truth. Situated in the heart of Provence, Cavaillon hosts two popular weekly markets. Additionally, with its location at the foot of the Luberon Mountains, it is the gateway for people who come from around the world to hike its trails and climb its rock faces. If that’s not enough, Read More

Oppede-le-Vieux, a lesser known but very beautiful hilltop village in Provence, France

Click on title to view photo in large format. Oppede-le-Vieux is one the lesser known but very beautiful hilltop towns scattered across Provence, France. These towns emerged during medieval times, when it was common for bands of raiders to sweep through the plains, pillaging and killing everything in their wake. The locals fled to high ground, building encircling walls that provided protection against the hordes. Read More

Lavender Fields in Provence France

Click on title to view photo in large format. The Lavender fields in Provence, France reach their peak between mid-July and the beginning of August each year. For more than a month, the air of Provence is saturated with the sweet musky scent of lavender as the blooms are harvested. They are sent to local distilleries, where their fragrance is used in soap, lotions, shampoos, and essential oils. Some of the stalks are trimmed, banded and hung upside-down to dry. When cured, they are sold as bouquets or sachets. Read More