Some friends had advised us that, in the small towns of the south of France, you’re often better off eating at your hotel than taking your chances in the nearest city, as you might have to drive some miles before finding something to eat. We found out soon enough that our meals at La Bastide du Boulbon were very decent value-for-money too. It’s not that the meals were cheap – basically, nothing is once you convert Singapore dollars to Euros – but the quality and quantity of food were just so darn satisfying that it really didn’t matter if breakfast cost 10 – 20% more than at a random cafe elsewhere.
There were also vast quantities of fresh fruit and cereals, and all the coffee/tea/juice we wanted. James in particular fell in love with the apricot juice (partly hidden by a slice of bread in the photo just above) and has been very sad indeed that nothing we get at home comes close.
Jan, the hotel proprietor, had lots of great recommendations for how to spend a day in the area around Boulbon. He set us up with brochures and a map, and sent us off on our way.
First stop: the Moulin du Calanquet, a family-owned olive mill. They do let tourists get quite close to the production process, but we didn’t want to be a bother so we amused ourselves by watching their in-house video and then buying a few bottles of olive oil as gifts and to bring home.
Before the next stop on Jan’s map, there was an instruction to stop at the bend in the road between two huge rocks because of the great photo opportunities. Okayyyyy…
Onward we went, to the Carrières de Lumières, an absolutely brilliant multimedia show set inside a rocky cavern. It actually sounds really kitschy when I think about how best to describe it, but here goes: the works of various artists who lived and worked in the Mediterranean are projected onto the walls and floor of an entirely dark series of caves, and the projection is animated and set to music. (I swear, it is nowhere near as kitschy as I’m making it sound!) The whole experience was highly sensory, and for someone like me who doesn’t always ‘get’ art, it was a great way to take in some beautiful works by artists like Monet and Chagall.