Reminiscing about Provence in Autumn: My favorite time of year

Reminiscing about autumn in Provence and I just love it. Before winter sets in properly and after a very hot summer where the main goal seemed to be finding a place to cool off while finding somewhere that wasn’t overloaded with tourists, autumn brings back to a sense of normalcy.

With the cooling temperatures, I got out on my bike exploring and it is never anything short of spectacular.

I’m not always sure where I’ll end up but I almost always begin by heading to Cucuron.

Along the way, it is just a joy to ride by the many vineyards and admire the colors that are starting to change.  Pops of bright gold and leaves that are beginning to turn red, especially on the vines.  The olive trees are bright green and are full of fruit just waiting to be harvested.  The air feels fresh and everything seems right in the world.

In awe of Cucuron

When I finally do arrive in Cucuron I always find a place to sit at the Bar d’Etang. While here, I love to look up and admire the beautiful Plantains trees that line the pond and provide much-needed protection from the heat.  Even in autumn, if the sun is beating down, it can feel like summer.

Provence in AutumAs I’ve been coming here often, I am now starting to recognize some of the locals who are usually there at the same spot enjoying a drink and catching up with friends.

It’s a scene that never gets old.  In my eyes, Cucuron perfectly describes life in Provence.  It’s quiet, it’s beautiful and here one can indulge in what the French do best… enjoy life.

A nice day to go to Cucuron is on Tuesday which is market day.  On this day there’s a bit more of a buzz as people are out doing their weekly shop for fresh vegetables and the like.  It is a lovely place and I wouldn’t miss it if you’re in the area.  It’s become my favorite.

Provence in Autumn

After some time spent at the cafe, I usually take a walk into the center of town.  As the pond is a bit on the fringe, it’s nice to have a wander through Cucuron itself.  I love the tiny little square that feels like a straight line.  As you enter the heart of the village, you’ll walk by a shop or two, there’s a restaurant, and a bit further on there’s a little open space where kids like to play.  Depending on the day, there’s also a little ‘pop-up’ restaurant where you can get burgers and such.  It looks so old here and like so much of the area, I can’t help but imagine what life in this very square was like in another century.  Fascinating!

A bit further on and at the end of the straight line, you come upon the church.  To the right there’s a lovely bench and beyond it, a view of the Luberon which is a dream.  This is a nice photo stop.  I come here every time

Provence in Autumn

The tiny bijoux that is Vaugines

Once I’ve had my Cucuron fix, I jump back on my bike and head up to Vaugines.

This is the sweetest little village and I just enjoy riding through just to say hello.  In the square, there’s one restaurant that offers pizza and always a plat du jour.  Otherwise. It’s the usual. Post office, Mairie, and a church. It’s lovely and the fountain is a nice place to stop and look around.  I find it very peaceful here.  It’s a tiny bijoux.

From Vaugines, I will then take the small roads heading towards Lourmarin.  Here, I’ll pass many farms and, again vineyards until I hit the main road.   It’s a bit of a downhill ride and the views are breathtaking.

It takes about 15 minutes, and before I know it I’m walking myself through Lourmarin.

Provence in Autumn

Autumn is the nicest time of year in Lourmarin

It’s the nicest time of year in Lourmarin.  Arriving by the main parking area and looking across the field at the chateau, signs of autumn are everywhere.  There are always horses grazing in the field and there are little bursts of autumn tones from the wildflowers growing in the midst.

Provence in Autumn

I usually pass this field and head directly into the village.  Working my way to Gaby’s where sometimes I’ll see a familiar face.

This is the hangout.

I may sit and have lunch or just a drink while watching the ever-bustling scene here.  This is a popular place and the locals love it as much as everyone else.  It’s casual and has the best spot on the square.

I enjoy shopping in Lourmarin as there are many unique shops selling clothes, jewelry, and other crafts for the home.  Lots of art galleries too.  Autumn is still a good time to be here as before long many of the small boutiques close their doors to end the season.

Provence in autumn

Autumn is my favorite time of year in Provence.  The temperature is perfect, the villages are still open but the calm has come back after a busy tourist season. The colors are changing and it always feels like the beginning of ‘cozy’.  The days are getting shorter and my candles are out.

Each day is precious and we wonder if this is the last one before the weather turns.  As we wait, we enjoy.

On est bien ici – All is good here.

Have you been to Provence in autumn? Do you agree with Suzanne? Please share your experiences with Suzanne below.

About the Contributor

Suzanne Vidal

I have a long history with France as I married a French man in 1988 and have 3 dual-national children.  I've lived in different parts of France over the years and I'm currently living in Aix-en-Provence.  I enjoy sharing my experiences and bringing France to life via storytelling.  Read more on my blog or follow me on Instagram @suzannegrossovidal.  À bientôt!

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  1. Kelley Dec 9, 2023 at 1:46 AM - Reply

    Love this Suzanne! You transported me- Felt like I was there next to you on my bike exploring. You have me hankering for Europe again. What a wonderful life you’ve had -full of adventures!

    • Suzanne Grosso Vidal Dec 9, 2023 at 3:17 AM - Reply

      Awww. Thanks Kelley! I’m so glad you enjoyed it. Europe is waiting for your return 🤗

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