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Provence, France, Part 1: Goult
Provence, France, Part 1: Goult
Provence, France, Part 1: Goult

E and I visited Spain & France back in July 2019, but I’m just now getting around to sharing the first of WAY too many photos from our trip. I usually set aside time to edit our travel photos right after we get back because it’s harder to get the motivation to finish them up after time passes. But as many of you know, I was in the middle of first trimester fatigue when we returned, then I wasn’t, then I entered into busy season at work, and then went back into the first trimester fog this January…so you could say that life has been a bit of a whirlwind since we took this trip!

Now that we’re home for the summer due to COVID and not traveling anywhere for the foreseeable future, it’s been nice to have time to catch up on these photos. In a way, it was kind of like a chance to go to France and Spain all over again, just virtually this time! And it feels good to be getting the photo books finished before the baby arrives in September and I never have free time ever again. 😉

I’ve unsuccessfully tried to narrow these photos down dozens of times, so instead I’ve settled for breaking them up into five different parts. Although we spent the first half of our trip in Barcelona, I’m most excited to share the photos from Provence – so here’s the first of a few posts from France!

In the meantime, I’ll start with Goult! We chose this village as our central base from which to explore Provence, which is a very large region with many different towns. Rather than trying to pack up every few days and move (like we did on our Italian honeymoon), we spent all 10 days in France here and ventured out on day trips. It was so nice to be able to settle into the town, get oriented, and take our time.

If you’re interested in checking out the rest of our trip, you can find the posts here:

Provence: Part 1 (you are here) + Part 2  + Part 3
Barcelona: Part 1 + Part 2

 

This was one of our very first experiences with Goult: trying to fit a newly rented car into this super narrow tunnel…through the middle of a castle. Well, I can’t take credit for the driving at all – E did the hard work! He completed this pass at least a few times before we figured out there was an alternate, WAY easier route to get to the top of the village. Oops!

(Side note: you can rent the 900-year-old chateau for “only” $10,000 euros per week. A girl can dream!)

People recommended making the less touristy Goult our home base instead of the neighboring postcard town Gordes, and we definitely found that to be solid advice. We spent a lot of time just walking through the town, exploring little corners, and listening to the locals speaking French. The language sounds so beautiful (at least when it’s not spoken by me!)

Before visiting France, I always pictured quaint houses with blue shutters, and our little village had them around every corner. They looked just like I imagined they would!

Our Airbnb sat at the very top of the village, right next to this windmill dating from the 17th century. It was used to mine flour until 1919.

Here’s our lovely Airbnb for the week! Originally from Venice, our host Giuseppina created the most picturesque, relaxed home in Provence. It felt wonderful to slow down from our busy pace in Barcelona. We enjoyed lazy days here mixed with day trips throughout the Luberon valley.

For those wondering about booking the Airbnb: Giuseppina actually moved shortly after we stayed with her, so unfortunately this location is no longer on Airbnb. However, she is opening up a new location soon! You can find her Airbnb profile here, and more info about her cooking classes on her website. I also love seeing her newest creations on her Instagram. 🙂

Last year E and I focused on improving our health and cooking skills. Giuseppina is a trained chef, so of course we had to book a cooking class with her during our stay! Watching her work her magic in her lovely Provençal kitchen ended up being one of the most memorable experiences from our entire trip. We took the class with another American couple (wish I had a better picture of them!) and we enjoyed chatting with them while picking up cooking tips and tricks from Giuseppina.

Giuseppina decided that she would teach us how to de-bone chicken legs. I eat some meat but I’m entirely squeamish about cooking with it…yikes!! The only way I’ve adjusted to cooking chicken at home is with gloves on. I decided to let E do the hands-on chicken work and I took on the much more pleasant job of chopping tomatoes instead. One of these days I will get over my fears, but this was not it…ha! 😉 I will spare you the very stomach-churning “before” pictures and skip straight to the lovely “after” picture on the right!

One thing that amazed me about France is that we ate SO much “heavy” food (cheese, bread, oil, etc), but yet we actually lost weight over the course of the trip. I’m no food scientist, but the food there just seemed much more wholesome. Giuseppina talked about the importance of buying in season and straight from the source whenever possible. She even forages for her own food sometimes!

We ate dinner in the backyard surrounded by a grove of olive trees. Summer magic right there.

Giuseppina is the queen of hosting and put together this little mid-afternoon cooking break for us. She “spritzed the spritz” with bubbles and it felt so refreshing on that hot summer day!

Chef E with the real deal!

The finished meal ready to eat. I never knew that I could enjoy eggplant this much! She taught us how to bleed out the excess water using salt so it’s not soggy.

This peach tarte tatin tasted absolutely heavenly and it felt like magic to watch Giuseppina flip over the finished dish to reveal all of that caramelized color hiding underneath. We all stayed after dusk to chat amongst the olive trees and eat a second slice…well at least I did, anyway 😉 Too good to pass up!

After our delicious dinner the night before, we knew we needed to try Giuseppina’s brunch…and that turned out to be one of the most fun experiences of our trip! She put together the most gorgeous table for us at this little table overlooking the garden.

More scenes from exploring around the village of Goult…

Cafe de la Poste, located in the town’s only (tiny) square, became our favorite spot to sit and people-watch. E’s proudest accomplishment? Asking for a table in French, and then being offered the French menu instead of the English tourist version. He’s bilingual in Spanish and English, and I’m always amazed at his ability to quickly pick up new languages and just jump right in. I tried my best too, but my extremely limited French earned a lot of laughs…at me, not with me. 😉

We weren’t great about waking up early during our trip (we tended to hide inside during the afternoon heat and then stay up late once the sun went down), but we did make our best effort to get to the Saturday market in Apt. It’s the largest of the Luberon markets, which take place in different towns every day of the week. This particular market has existed for 900 years – almost four times the age of the United States. Fresh food is a huge part of Provence’s identity.

We had grand plans to get there by 8:00 a.m. (as recommended by the locals), but we slept through our alarm – oops! We managed to get there at the tail end of the market, and it was actually lovely since most of the crowds had already dissipated.

I had two requests: a baguette and a bouquet of flowers (had to fulfill my French market dreams, obviously!) We scored the baguette for only one Euro, and we took it with us to snack on at the beach later.

Many buildings in Goult and the surrounding towns feature walls made with ochre, which used to be mined in the area (especially nearby Rousillon, which unfortunately we didn’t get around to visiting). It became popular in the 19th century because it’s resistant to sun and heat, but I loved it for a more impractical reason: because of that beautiful peachy hue.

I spent way too much time staring at the layered textures and colors in these beautiful buildings packed with history.

Just a little peek at the heavenly lavender (the main reason I wanted to visit Provence in July, and a big dream checked off my bucket list).  I took so many photos of the lavender fields that I’m saving an entire post JUST for that purpose.

We loved our first brunch with Giuseppina so much that we requested another one on our very last morning. She pulled out all the stops and curated an especially colorful tablescape – she has such talent for putting together meals that are both delicious and gorgeous! We were so sad to say goodbye, but we couldn’t have asked for a better sendoff right before heading to the airport!

If you’re interested in checking out the rest of our trip, you can find the posts here:

Provence: Part 1 (you are here) + Part 2  + Part 3
Barcelona: Part 1 + Part 2

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