Provence Travel Guide

Provence, France Travel Guide

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While I’d been to France before, I’d never had the chance to spend any time in the Provence region - an area in the South of France dotted with adorable towns, fantastic wine, and fields upon fields of lavender. Our trip began at the very end of July and beginning of August, which meant that temperatures were in the 80s (Fahrenheit) and we had just narrowly missed peak tourist season. However, since Provence is a sleepier area of France, things never felt very crowded or tourist-filled. We stayed for four days in a tiny, central town and rented a car - which was an absolute must, in my book. Each day we would grab local bread and pastries from the little bakery near us, cook breakfast, and then hop in the car to explore a new neighboring town. We’d wrap up our days with wine tastings and either head to a local supermarket to grab food to cook for dinner or check out a new restaurant. I honestly could have stayed for an entire month.

Provence Travel Guide

WHERE I STAYED:

The small town of Mormoiron (about an hour-long drive from Marseille airport) was our home base for this trip. We rented a beautiful, spacious Airbnb (highly recommend!) that had an outdoor patio, laundry, about 5 different coffee machines, convenient parking, and was right around the corner from a small bakery and supermarket. There’s not a lot going on in the town itself, but it has beautiful views of Mont Ventoux and is a great, centralized location for exploring other parts of Provence.

WHERE TO GO:

Gordes: This was the first town we visited and it did not disappoint! The view of the town (which sits on top of a hill) as we drove into it was gorgeous, and after grabbing some food on the outdoor patio of a restaurant, we walked around the cute cobblestone streets, got ice cream, people watched, and took in the view of the valleys below.

Carpentras: We came into Carpentras after finding a restaurant online that we wanted to check out. Much to our surprise, a lot of local restaurants only take reservations (and not walk-ins!), so we were excited when we called Chez Serge and they were not only open, but had space for us. They had some wonderful truffled items on their menu and friendly staff. In fact, the restaurant owner came out to chat with us near the end of our dinner and brought each of us a small bottle of their truffle oil to take home.

Provence Travel Guide: Roussillon

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Roussillon
: This was the town I had bookmarked the second we started planning this trip. It’s the pink/red/orange-hued town of my DREAMS. The buildings in this area of Provence boast these colors due to the natural ochre in the area. An ideal day in Roussillon includes: wandering the colorful streets and snapping photos of your favorite buildings, making your way to the top of the hill next to the town for a stunning view of the entire pink city, stopping to get an ice cream cone on your way back down (I chose Nutella, but Lavender is a local favorite!), popping into some of the shops to pick up local souvenirs, and taking one of the ochre trails, which take you through regions where you can see the natural pigment in the land.

Langes: Langes was on out list thanks to a single destination: Domaine Tourbillon. This winery has a sleek, modern tasting room where you can find refreshing Provençal rosés, beloved Chateauneuf-de-Pape reds, and an incredibly knowledgeable and friendly staff.

Provence Travel Guide

Sault: We had just missed peak lavender bloom season, but I had done my research on the lavender harvest (ha!) and discovered that the town of Sault tends to have a later harvest in preparation for the town’s Lavender Festival in mid-August. Crossing our fingers, we made the short drive to Sault- and when the town came into view, so did dozens of purple fields dotting the landscape. We pulled over at one field right by the road and it was absolute heaven. Of course, it smells incredible - but what I wasn’t expecting were the bees! The field hummed with all the buzzing of bees around the plants. Luckily, the lavender kept them busy and they didn’t bother us at all. Afterwards, we drove into the town center and walked around Sault, stepping into shops to discover all the different ways they incorporate lavender into products - everything from honeys and jams to soaps and perfumes.

Chateauneuf-de-Pape: More wine is made in this one area of southern Rhône than in the entirety of the northern Rhône region! We came into town expecting to do a tasting or two - but what we didn’t expect was to come into town on the exact day of the town’s wine festival, when they celebrate the grapes turning from green to red. The town was alive with festivities (including street performances, live music, and even a petting zoo complete with baby goats!). For 5 euro, you could buy a wine glass that would then allow you to go wine tasting at any of the tasting rooms in town. We had some incredible wines (and bought quite a few bottles!), walked all the way to the top of the castle, and then stopped for dinner on our way back down. I still can’t believe we managed to visit the town on the exact day of their celebration!

Blogger's Guide to Provence, France

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Apt
: Most of the major towns in Provence have a weekly market (“grand marché”), where you can get everything from fresh produce and flowers to local souvenirs, clothes, bags, and more. I had read that Apt was supposed to have one of the largest (and best) markets, so we decided to make theirs a priority on our final day in Provence. The Apt grand marchés are on Saturdays, but be sure to check other towns for their market days, since they happen throughout the week (and different towns have different market days!). I highly recommend going to at least one of the markets if you’re in the area. Apt’s market took over most of Apt’s town center and was so much fun. If you go, keep in mind that these markets will be very busy, so I suggest arriving on the earlier side (most start at around 8 or 9am and end at around 12:30pm).

Avignon: Our final stop before leaving Provence! Avignon stood out from the rest of the towns we visited due to its architecture (it definitely reminded me of Parisian architecture) and a slightly more metropolitan feel. We didn’t get to spend more than a few hours in Avignon, but we spent our time checking out the beautiful town square and cathedral. Afterwards, we walked around the neighboring park and then through the town’s main shopping street, which was lovely. I’m hoping to go back someday, because I really loved the vibe of this town.

Feel free to comment any questions you may have (or reach out to me on Instagram @maevestier) - and enjoy Provence!

Tea For Two

Pink Tea Room (Ladyfinger Lounge) via @maevestier

Matching set: top & skirt (c/o & Other Stories) | Headband | Shoes | Bag via Julia Rose Boston

It’s as if an interior designer looked inside my head and then created a tea room.

Road-tripping to this gorgeous spot in Newburyport, MA was a no-brainer. We made a whole day of it: walking through the cute town centers and stopping into little antique stores. Still, our time spent at the Garrison Inn and having tea in this stunning tea room (open to hotel guests only) was the highlight of our stay. The boutique hotel goes above and beyond expectations - balancing their rich history with an understanding of today’s chic modern traveler. Think: marbled bathrooms, Bvlgari bath amenities, afternoon teas, and even a fun little lingerie boutique. At the Garrison Inn, they’ve really hit the nail on the head.

I chose to wear this ladylike ensemble for our afternoon tea, but I love that this is actually a two-piece set, which brings a modern element to the whole look. Paired with a puffy pink headband and this stunning YSL bag in the perfect matching-pink hue, I can’t wait to have an excuse to wear this outfit again. Until then, I’ll be dreaming of these baby pink chairs and freshly baked lemon-filled cookies

Afternoon Tea Vibes (via @maevestier)
Blush Pink Yves Saint Laurent Bag (from Julia Rose Boston)
Ladyfinger Lounge at the Garrison Hotel (via @maevestier)
Ladylike OOTD (via @maevestier)

Experience provided by the Garrison Inn.

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Spritz Season!

Itz Spritz New York (via @maevestier)

Note: the content in this blog post is intended for those 21+

Finally: the days are longer, the temperatures are higher, and we’re just a few weeks away from our favorite rooftops opening again.

(Can you tell I’m a warm weather kind of girl?)
And you know what that means: S P R I T Z E R S E A S O N. I’ve always been such a fan of Spritzers - and I can’t help but associate them with springtime picnics, sunsets on the Boston Esplanade, cocktail hour with the girls, and brunches under patio umbrellas. I don’t think it gets much better - which is why this spring, I’m so happy to be partnering with Itz Spritz: an all-natural (nothing artificial!) canned spritz drink with an ABV of only 4.2 (think: refreshing, not super boozy).

Springtime Essentials with Itz Spritz (via @maevestier)

Of their three flavors (which you can check out here), their Elderflower Citrus is definitely my favorite. I brought a case along on my girls weekend trip to NYC and they were a huuuuge hit with my friends - especially because one friend has a gluten intolerance, and Itz Spritz is 100% gluten free! Plus, cheers-ing with spritzers overlooking the NYC skyline was the best way to celebrate Spring’s arrival.

Spritzer Season with Itz Spritz (via @maevestier)

If you want to try out Itz Spritz for yourself, you can check out the Store Locator on the Itz Spritz website. Warning: you may have a new favorite brunch beverage.

Brunch with Itz Spritz (via @maevestier)

Cheers!

This post was created in partnership with Itz Spritz.

Calistoga, Here We Come

Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa (@maevestier)

At the beginning of the year, while visiting San Francisco, my boyfriend and I road-tripped into wine country to visit the charming town of Calistoga, CA for a weekend getaway.
WHERE WE STAYED:
Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa is a bright, boutique hotel with mid-century modern decor and a playful spirit. This 1940’s roadside motel has gotten a major facelift, but I love that it still reflects its roots. This place really did feel like a road-trip hotspot - and one that was outfitted with gorgeous views and an incredible spa to boot. Before checking out at the end of the weekend, we spent the morning at the hotel’s Moonacre Spa, getting “Perfectly Muddled” - aka painting ourselves head-to-toe with Calistoga’s famous mud, which turned out to be a fun and super-relaxing end to our trip.

Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa (@maevestier)
Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa (@maevestier)
Calistoga Motor Lodge and Spa (@maevestier)

WHAT TO DO:
Wine tastings. Since Calistoga is at the top of Napa Valley, the wine in this area is wonderful (and Ubers to and from the vineyards are very inexpensive!). We ended up visiting three vineyards during our stay.
Our first stop, Chateau Montelena, has a little bit of everything I was looking for in a vineyard experience: great wine, a gorgeous property, and an interesting backstory. In the Paris Wine Tasting of 1976 (also called wine’s “Judgement of Paris”), Parisian judges carried out blind taste tests of wines from France and California. Though the judges were certain that French wines would win over their American counterparts, they ended up ranking a chardonnay from Chateau Montelena as a winner! After our tasting, we strolled around the property’s gorgeous Chinese Gardens and took in the view of the Chateau’s facade (see photo below!). I would recommend coming here in the summer months, when all those vines up the Chateau walls come to life!

Chateau Montelena, Calistoga (@maevestier)

More wine tastings. We also checked out Vincent Arroyo Winery and Castello di Amorosa while we were in town. Vincent Arroyo was a super-friendly vineyard: an adorable black lab named Rosie came to greet us as our car pulled in, and the staff were so kind (and very generous with the wine). We arrived at an off-time, so our lovely guide ended up walking us around the vineyard and really going above and beyond for our tasting. The wine was great - and I especially liked their port.
Castello di Amorosa is a well-oiled machine when it comes to wine tastings and tours. To get the full experience, we took a guided tour of the entire castle (which is gorgeous!) and then ended with a wine tasting in their cellars. Our guide was funny and very knowledgable and the wine was fantastic (the vineyard even has an impressive list of celebrity club members to show for it).

Calistoga Motor Lodge (@maevestier)

Thank you to Calistoga Motor Lodge & Spa and Chateau Montelena for a lovely weekend!

Newbury Strolls

Blue Velvet Top (@maevestier)

Top c/o & Other Stories | Denim | Boots | Bag c/o Gigi New York

It feels so good to be back in Boston! I spent the last week in sunny & beautiful San Francisco, and while I’m definitely missing the weather, it feels so good to be home. I’ve been spending my afternoon along Newbury Street, one of my all-time favorite spots in Boston. As I write this, I’m sitting in the same place as the photo below: in Cafe Susu, sipping on an oat milk mocha.
This top has been such a fun piece to wear between the burned-out velvet pattern and the balloon sleeves. It’s one of those effortless statement pieces that transitions so well from running errands during the day to grabbing drinks with friends.

Cafe Susu, Boston (@maevestier)
Boston Coffeeshops (@maevestier)

Photos by Anna Elizabeth.

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