Dear Everyone,

Good morning!  My clock on my computer still says the time in California, so it is 12:32am there and 9:32am here. I’m propped up on my bed in my tiny room at Le Manoir, but happy and content. I have floor to ceiling French doors that open to a lovely tree outside my wrought iron railing (where I’ve hung some wash, hidden by the trees) and the courtyard beyond. The sun is shining bright through my window, just the way it used to in my apartment here.   Coming here last night felt so good. It is just a few blocks from my apartment in Aix, in the same neighborhood, so I knew where I was going. The sky is bright blue and the air crisp.

This is my last full day in France and it is a powerful feeling to know that tomorrow I get on the big metal ‘time machine’ and go back to California, English and modern life. This building is at least 300 years old if not older and it feels different, not to mention life in French.

Yesterday, I was totally pampered for the day. I didn’t swim in the morning since it was cloudy–I let my mind win there. I also wanted to be ready to go when the taxi came at 10:45 to go to the village. What a gorgeous area of France. It is all vineyards, farms, country houses, tiny villages and then the Mediterranean shining just a few kilometers away.

I arrived at La Cadière d’Azur a few minutes early, so left my bags and wandered around the tiny village. Then the manager of the hotel met me and spent about an hour taking me on a tour of the hotel and spa. It is the only hotel in the village and the rooms are in little houses right next to the hotel. The restaurant is a one star Michelin and more about that later! It was started by a mom and dad 40 years ago and now their son and daughter came back to help. The son is a chef, like his dad.

After an aperitif, champagne with peach liquer in it, then it was lunch in the restaurant with a breathtaking view of the valley. The lunch was so delicious-I took photos of the light, small courses. Then I went on to the spa for a massage and soaking time in their warm pool and steam room. They use aromatherapy for their treatments and I chose lavender. Just walking into the spa, there’s a fragrance that I recognize and go ‘Ahhh’.

After the spa, we had a quick tour of their farm where they grow a lot of their own vegetables and herbs (organic). Then back in to a taxi to the train station.

It took 2 1/2 hours to get to Aix and then the walk through town with the bags, but it is great to be here. So comforting to feel at home.  I spent the whole day yesterday in French, not one word of English, though I still hear English inside my own head. Though sometimes, after a day like yesterday, it starts talking French!

I wanted to find a bowl of vegetable soup, but couldn’t, so ended up with a picnic in my room of cheese, wine, tabouli and some cookies. I’d missed the party because I got here so late.  But the bath was hot and the room cozy, so I was fine.

I’m going to the English speaking coffee this morning, then probably to an airport hotel tonight.  It will be hard to leave Aix again, not to mention France.

Going to sign off now and send some photos of yesterday.
More soon.

Love,

Diane

'Fall in Provence' 2008

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