Compared to some fortunate, adventurous and arguably wealthy people, I am not particularly well travelled. However, considering my age, I have visited a few countries. I count myself extraordinarily lucky to have seen some of the places I have. I might not be the kind of person to take off to pastures new every other month, but I value the trips I’ve been on and the lessons I have learnt. I think it’s easy to take for granted, as a young British student, the opportunities which have been placed before me. What I mean is- 80% of the world lives on less than £7 a day, so the fact I’ve even had enough money to leave my home country at all makes me blessed.
Thus, I am even more blessed to have visited enough countries to choose a favourite: France. Particularly, Provence. I am a proud Francophile and adore all things French. I have chosen to study the language at university (albeit badly), my DVD collections features French cinema such as La Vie En Rose, Amélie, Les Intouchables, and my iTunes is punctuated by Zaz, Yelle, and Daft Punk, bien sur…
This has been triggered by frequent visits, over the years, to what I feel is the most sophisticated place on earth. Provence boasts the Côte d’Azur and it’s sparkly, star studded coastal towns, and also the authentic, rugged hilltop towns which lie inland, nestled in areas which many forget. These are my favourite towns; the ones where the whole town shuts down for a nap in the afternoon, the older gentlemen can be seen in the town square playing Boules, the older ladies are immaculately dressed and carry themselves with such class that it can be hard to differentiate between generations. Daily wine is de rigeur, and they eat cheese and smoke like chimneys, yet have the lowest obesity and heart disease rates in the whole of Europe.
The air smells like pine and the balmy evenings are so god damn romantic, it makes you want to give up all affiliation with your home country and sign yourself over to France (coincidentally, I know more words to La Marseillaise than I do God Save The Queen.)
Their driving is reckless, their manners are appalling, they aren’t much keen on Brits, and yet I have never been so charmed by a place in my entire life.