|Our town center|
In 1999, V. and I took a month long trip to Europe with our two boys then 10 and 7. The trip in itself was a dream come true (not our first trip to Europe but a first with the children) and I spent a lot of time planning and organizing the trip to make the most of the gift of travel and time with the boys.
This trip was the first time that we were doing property rentals and it happened that, while scouring the Internet for good places to stay, I came upon a lovely apartment in the Var in what is called Provence verte.
I contacted the owner to make arrangements for our stay but her place was rented for the summer. However, she knew of another owner in the Moulin who might be interested in renting.
|Home, where the heart is|
The Moulin is a 17th century olive oil mill that was refurbished about 25 years ago into 10 apartments. It sits by a small river with cascades about two blocks from the center of town.
As it happened, the owner was willing to rent his apartment for the two week period that we wanted.
We arrived there at about 8pm exhausted from a day of driving from Switzerland where we had been visiting with V.'s cousin.
|Pool with river flowing on the right|
It was getting dark and it was raining. Luckily, we had the apartment manager's number and we called him and arranged for him to show us where it was. Steep little street, narrow and dark after winding our way from above the town where we arrived from the north. The children were quiet, D. had been car sick.
We parked in the narrow street across from the Moulin, unloaded the car and made our way through the gate, down the path lined with lavender turning sharply to the left, through another wrought iron gate, through the hall where the arches containing the olive presses used to be and finally, to the door of the apartment.
When I stepped through the door and into the living area, I was delightfully surprised. Everything was neat, the decor was neutral but the materials were interesting. It was getting late so we shuffled the children to bed in the twin bedroom upstairs and we breathed a sigh of relief.
After a short time wrestling with the luggage up the stairs, we dropped into bed and slept like the dead.
|The stream flows on the left.|
We could not believe our luck.
Later, we would explore the extensive grounds and the lush greenness of the river valley surrounding a lovely pool, an aquamarine jewel in the summer sun.
We spent an idyllic two weeks enveloped by the sun, the sweet spring water and the clean air of this tiny French village. The weekly market alone was an adventure not to be missed: cheeses, saucisson, fresh produce, soaps, linens, and more filled the senses and the soul. We were in love.
During the eight years that followed, we were never able to set aside our fairy tale summer in Provence. We remembered our trip fondly and frequently. We made a little video of our time spent there and I played it regularly on my computer. I would dream about it regularly and redecorate the apartment it in my mind over and over. In 2006, I made a dream board about the home I wanted to own in the area.
Late in 2007, I contacted the owner to ask him to let us know should he ever want to sell his apartment. Although we could not really afford it, one year later, a little over nine years after that fateful summer, we would travel to France on a five day fall break to sign the papers for the sale.
We have never looked back.
Bonsoir, bons rêves,