21st June, Saturday

It was time to leave Le Luc. We had hired a villa for a week in Graveson, Provence which would run Saturday to Saturday. Our plan was to leave around 11.00, then travel via St Maximin and Aix-en-Provence.

I had woken up quite early and was busy contemplating whether I should go out for a run. I knew that it would only be possible in the early morning when it was still cool. I wanted to go, because I know it will be far harder to get back into it once I get back if I don’t, but I was feeling so lazy. The “better me” won, I dragged myself out and did it. My legs felt like lead and I was really struggling, but the main thing was: I did it!

We ended up setting off a little earlier than planned. The cathedral at St Maximin was spectacular – original parts built in the 13th century. Unfortunately the monastery, that we had really gone to go and see, had been turned into a hotel.

We had a coffee at a cafe (only 5.80 euros as it isn’t on the main tourist route), before continuing onto Aix-en-Provence. Unfortunately we didn’t have enough time here to do the town justice, so we have promised to go back, especially as they have a Cezanne and Picasso exhibition on. I did, however, have my first Salade Nicoise, something I associate with Provence and did my first bit of shopping: a tin for my kitchen and pretty serviettes.

We continued onto Graveson where we had to meet our hosts/landlords at 4.00 pm. We drove up and down the street trying to find the villa, but eventually had to ring them up. It turns out the house is on a farm some distance from the town – about 3.5 miles outside the town. Not that we really mind. It is lovely. It’s a 3-bedroomed house with its own swimming pool. And the piece de resistence is cat called Vanina with her 2 tiny kittens called Gloria and Caramel who live here. The owners of the house have moved into their cottage for the summer, and are renting out the main house. They do this annually from June to September. But I think the animals aren’t used to this arrangement yet, so we have the cats and dog, Elliott, visiting us frequently, which we love!