Ah….life in Southern France! I arrived early evening June 29, 2015. I was greeted by my hosts and friends Maysan and Glenn at the Hyeres airport. As expected, the weather was hot and humid. Perfect! Generally the weather gets up to 29-35 C in the afternoon with greater than 60% humidity. Things grow well here and one does start to accept the logic behind midday siestas.
On our way from the airport back to the villa we stopped to pick up some fresh fruit. This is France by the way! A local farmer had set up a small stand and was selling very petite but extremely delicious strawberries. We just had to pick up three cartons to happily consume over the next few days.
My friend’s villa is actually located in the very picturesque and quaint village of Bormes-les-Mimosas which is approximately a 20 minute drive from the airport. Bormes-les-Mimosas is a commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. It has a Mediterranean climate. Bormes-les-Mimosas is a city in bloom and won the 2003 Gold Medal awarded by the Entente Florale. The Fort de Brégançon, located in the commune, is the official retreat for the President of the French Republic.
I stayed here previously with Anna in 2011. It is a perfect place to experience the French Mediterranean life and to completely disconnect from the hurried pace of North America. What I love about the villa is the fact that it is off the main beach district and roadway which can be unbelievably busy during the summer months. The infinity pool located at the Villa is far superior to the crowded beaches. There are panoramic views from the deck surrounding the infinity pool looking out towards Le Lavandou and the Mediterranean Sea. If you want to go down to the local beaches it is simply a walk down the hill for about 40 minutes.
The villa itself is extremely beautiful and has all the modern amenities one requires. The pace of life here is much more considered and allows you to truly appreciate the beautiful surroundings, aromas, people and life as it is in the village.
I was given my own private air-conditioned room which is very important to get a good sleep in the evenings. It is called the “Africa room” based on its design motif and has the best shower in the villa.
My first week in France was not about trying to squeeze in as many activities as I could. Maysan and Glenn insisted I adopt the southern French lifestyle which can really be summed up as follows:
1) Get up at a reasonably early time to do your physical activities before the heat of the midday. Don’t aim to destroy yourself but enjoy the activity as the heat of the day starts to build. This either involved a 30-50 km bike ride on beautiful country roads, rail to trail multi-use pathways or a run of about 10-12 kilometers.
2) Come back to the villa for a quick cool down by dipping in the infinity pool and then having a leisurely café au lait with fresh chevre cheese, yogurt, freshly cut fruit, a croissant or baguette with fresh preserves. Wonderful!
3) Change down into and stay in one’s bathing suit for the remainder of the morning and most of the afternoon poolside with frequent dips into the infinity pool in order to cool down while one is either sleeping, reading a book or just contemplating how great life can be. Lunch would be served about 2-3:30 PM and would involve a cool drink and fresh fruit salad.
4) Proceed to walk into town or get into the car and explore one of the local villages for an amazing meal at one of the local restaurants. Of course, this was often preceded by aperitifs, olives and crackers as well as relaxing conversation.
5) Return to the villa (possibly followed by a moonlight swim in the infinity pool) and then a plunge into a cooled down bedroom to drift away into slumber ready to do it all again the next day.
It will be very difficult to leave this lifestyle to return to the one that unfortunately we have adopted in North America. Mind you, because life is so busy in North America I appreciate the lifestyle here even more.
Just a few pictures to show you my home away from home in southern France during the month of July 2015.
I want you to be envious!
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