Thursday, September 23, 2010

A chateau and an Apt adventure

My parents awoke slightly less tired and ready for a short morning adventure. Alan drove us down to Loumarin, the next town after Bonnieux on the south side of the mountains. Peter Mayle—author of A Year in Provence, a book about his first year living in this area—lives near this town. I really enjoyed reading the book, and if you are looking for a fun, quick read or to learn a little more about the area and the French people you should pick it up.

Chateau de Loumarin
We first visited the Chateau de Loumarin, a building built partly in the 15 century and partly in the Renaissance style. The best part of the whole place was the staircase. It totally reminds me of a DNA strand made out of stone and going up 4 stories high!

 The chateau’s room housed various antique furniture and household items. Piano concerts are often held in the main dinning hall, and an older gentleman was playing one of the pianos in the music room, filling the stone mansion with lovely music as we toured around it. Someone in the olive groves on the grounds below had a fire going, and the smell of smoke combined with the music made me feel as if I could close my eyes and travel back to a time when the chateau held more than antiques and echos.

Looking back at the town of Loumarin

The town of Lourmain called us next, with its more upscale shops and nice homes. We spent just enough time walking around that Alan missed lunch at the café, so we bought a delicious looking dark loaf of bread at the local bakery and all went home to eat.

Alan (who does actually have class and other such duties) left us for the afternoon. We need to run some errands, and our first stop was to find Madame Collette so Mom could ask her if she had an extra key (so Alan wouldn’t have to be locked out the whole time we were gone, especially in the future when we might be gone all day). The owners had said it would be fine, but we had received only one. She didn’t have an extra, but told Mom where we could get a copy made in Apt.

So Dad drove us off to Apt, where we spent more time than expected going from banks (which don’t change money) to the tourist office (who told us that only the Post Office does that) to the long line in La Poste (which luckily was the right line to change money, which we weren’t sure of) to Mr. Bricolage (the hardware store where keys can be copied and Dad now keeps wanting to go back to as it was “really neat”) to the grocery store (which always takes forever especially when you spend 5 minutes trying to find the peanut butter on the exotic specialty isle).

An exhausted trio finally returned home and called it a day.

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