Fall in Colorado had turned to early winter and all was shades of brown as we drove to the airport to depart in early November for a month stay at Mas de la Perdrix. Arriving in Paris, we immediately boarded the TGV (fast train) from the airport to Avignon as it accelerated up to its cruising speed of 200 mph, the beauty of fall in France was evident, with shades of red, gold and crimson autumn colors flashing by in the countryside.
France, although on the same latitude as Montreal, is blessed by the wash of the Gulf Stream and presents a climate more similar to the southern US, which allows palm trees to flourish along the Mediterranean. Our Provencal home location rarely gets snow in the winter and low temperatures are almost never below 20 F. at night.
As always, as we sped through Lyon, the countryside and the light changed from that of the damp, cool paleness of northern Europe to the warm light bathing the red tile roofs and stone buildings of the south of France. We arrived in Avignon, right on time, and with a beautiful red sunset to the west. A hundred yards to the rental car agency and we were off to Mas de la Perdrix, arriving in the full darkness and sky full of stars, so typical of this rural area we consider paradise.
Awaiting us was an “arrival dinner” of a selection of cheese, baguette, roast chicken and vegetables and a chilled bottle of the local rose champagne. A dinner much appreciated and completed with chocolate mousse topped with crème fraiche.
We quickly settled into our Provence routine, making the Sunday Marche Paysan in Coustellet (one of our favorites) to provision with fresh vegetables and a fall tableau of winter squashes, leeks, farm-raised eggs and chicken, cheeses and the new harvest of olives (November is olive harvest time). It was a gorgeous day – 60’s and sunny – and the fall colors of the trees, orchards and grape vines looked as if the entire world is gold and burnt orange and every leaf shining with its own light. We think we are in heaven.