Around the World Diaries: South of France

After having to say goodbye and tear myself away from Budapest, we continued on to the third leg of our journey. This time, instead of switching continents, we hopped on a bus and crossed through three countries ended up in one I am most fond of… France! It was my third time visiting France, so returning to the home of so many pleasant memories (plus a language and cuisine I love so dearly) made my heart happy. A few years ago, my family made a trip to the South of France and had one of the best weeks of our lives. Staying at a grand chateau in the countryside, we spent our days wandering through fields, picking fruit of trees, playing in waterholes, hiking to medieval villages and of course, eating a never-ending supply of delicious food. Now, after another week in the South of France, I have double the quantity of fond memories to remember this place by!

Getting There:

Well, I didn’t anticipate it would be such a feat to arrive at our next destination. Yet after thirty hours of being crammed on a toilet-less bus with but a few meager snack rations, the “struggle” became real. We arrived in Nimes at about two in the morning, only to discover the local bus to our accommodation wouldn’t start running till 7am. Hence, we did what all smart traveller do… Made the most of our time in a new place and started exploring. As we walked around the eerily empty streets, we got to experience seeing the sites of this beautiful city by moonlight. Once we were absolutely, positively worn out, we retreated to sleeping on the floor of the bus terminal. However, the nap was immediately terminated upon discovery of an infestation of cockroaches crawling beneath us as we frantically searched for higher ground to set up a new camp.

PPDP_2239 PPDP_2242 PPDP_2241

The Town:

Saint Hippolyte Du Fort, located in the Le Cevennes region of the South of France, became home for ten days as we lived in the beautiful Chateau Du Pointe. Our time here was primarily spent in class, learning about living in the spirit, and Saint Hippolyte Du Fort was the perfect environment for doing so. This sleepy little town was a such a refreshing escape from the city, and the perfect place to delight in God’s creation. We had meadows to dance in, rivers to splash around in, mountains to climb, and most important, a local bakery to get delicious baked goods on a daily basis. And when I say delicious, I’m talking make-your-mouth-water scrumptious. The town itself was delightful to explore. Wandering around the narrow alleyways and admiring the uniqueness of the front door on every house became one of my favorite things to do. Each Friday, we had an open worship session in a beautiful, big Catholic chapel in the heart of the town. Shortly after, we would spend the rest of the morning browsing the markets and eating croissants.

PPDP_2279 PPDP_2281 PPDP_2276PPDP_2303PPDP_2314PPDP_2315PPDP_2287PPDP_2243PPDP_2305PPDP_2245PPDP_2244PPDP_2301PPDP_2297PPDP_2313

Montpellier:

For a day, we traded small town Saint Hippolyte Du Fort for the nearest big city, Montpellier. An eclectic urban hub of french charm meets alternative youth culture so, it proves to be an interesting place to explore. Our first stop was to the supermarket and bakery, stocking up on cheese, bread, sparkling juice, berries, and most importantly, a delicious assortment of pastries to create the ultimate picnic in the park. The rest of the time I spent wandering the streets without an agenda, admiring the sporadic street art and beautifully aged buildings.

PPDP_2251PPDP_2257PPDP_2259 PPDP_2260PPDP_2261PPDP_2262PPDP_2265PPDP_2266PPDP_2264PPDP_2268PPDP_2267PPDP_2269PPDP_2271

 

La Selle:

La Selle is a semi self-sustaining community set up as free housing for those who need a place to stay. There are about 100 people currently living there, with the only conditions for people to stay being that they help out with duties to keep the place running and that they attend a weekly bible study. It really is an incredible place, founded by a couple who had a heart to reach out to the homeless. We were invited to La Celle to share testimonies, do dramas and sing worship songs. After we had dinner with the community, they invited us to this awesome musical hub where we got to jam with them by the bonfire.

PPDP_2306

The Flood:

Things quickly took a dramatic turn at the Chateau as the heavens opened and the rain started pouring. But none of us were prepared for what the storm did next…. Turning more and more furious as it welled up over Saint Hippolyte Du Fort, and the winds and the rain became relentless. What started out with closing a few windows and doors ended in digging trenches, moving everything on the first floor of the Chateau to a higher level, and then, as the flooding began, bailing close to knee deep water from our abode! In an attempt to keeping spirits high in the midst of disaster, our night turned in to bucketing water sing-a-long!

PPDP_2307PPDP_2308PPDP_2309PPDP_2310PPDP_2311PPDP_2312

 

France, you have been as delightful as ever, and it has been as hard as ever to say goodbye. No doubt my love for you will draw me back very soon.

For now, Au Revior!

N x

Nicola Easterby Bio Image

HEY THERE, I'M NICOLA!

I am on a mission to discover the BEST destinations & dishes from around the world. In fact, I’ve visited 54 countries and cooked 196 cuisines in this very pursuit. Whether it’s hopping on a plane or into the kitchen, come join the adventure!

CURRENTLY TRENDING:

Crepes with Creamy Mushrooms and Cheese (Palačinke)- Croatia

Palačinke is a crepe-pancake hybrid originating from Croatia. They are a blank canvas to whatever sweet or savoury filling your heart desires. We filled our crepes with creamy mushrooms, caramelised onions, rosemary and plenty of cheese. Country Number 41: Croatia...

5 Unique Places to Stay in Nature (without having to rough it!)

5 Unique Places to Stay in Nature (without having to rough it!)

An escape to nature doesn't have to mean sleeping in a tent and living off rations. Let these five incredibly unique properties inspire your next nature-based getaway. 2020… What a year it has been. After six years of non-stop globetrotting, not being able to travel...

Käsespätzle Recipe – Austrian Mac and Cheese

Käsespätzle Recipe – Austrian Mac and Cheese

Käsespätzle is a beloved Austrian vegetarian dish consisting of homemade egg noodles (spätzle) smothered in butter and topped with melted cheese, caramelized onions and fresh herbs. Think mac and cheese elevated to a whole new comforting level. Country Number 10:...

READ NEXT:

Torrijas Recipe (Cardamom French Toast)- Andorra Food

Torrijas Recipe (Cardamom French Toast)- Andorra Food

If French toast and churros had a baby, Andorran torrijas would be it. They are sweet and fluffy on the inside, crispy on the outside, coated in a layer of cinnamon sugar. This sweet fried bread makes for an irresistible breakfast or dessert.  Welcome to Andorra, the...

Byrek Me Kungull (Pumpkin Filo Pie) Recipe from Albania

Byrek Me Kungull (Pumpkin Filo Pie) Recipe from Albania

Byrek Me Kungull is an Albanian filo pie stuffed with mashed pumpkin and layered with filo pastry. This adaptation of the traditional recipe adds caramelized onions, feta, herbs and lemon zest into the mix. After successfully cooking an Afghan aushak for the...

Top things to do in Kanazawa, Japan

Top things to do in Kanazawa, Japan

If you want to experience the rich culture of Japan without following the typical tourist trail, the prefectural capital of Ishikawa, Kanazawa, may just be the place for you. Often referred to as "little Kyoto", Kanazawa rivals the popular town with its rich culture,...

READ NEXT:

Crepes with Creamy Mushrooms and Cheese (Palačinke)- Croatia

Palačinke is a crepe-pancake hybrid originating from Croatia. They are a blank canvas to whatever sweet or savoury filling your heart desires. We filled our crepes with creamy mushrooms, caramelised onions, rosemary and plenty of cheese. Country Number 41: Croatia...

5 Unique Places to Stay in Nature (without having to rough it!)

5 Unique Places to Stay in Nature (without having to rough it!)

An escape to nature doesn't have to mean sleeping in a tent and living off rations. Let these five incredibly unique properties inspire your next nature-based getaway. 2020… What a year it has been. After six years of non-stop globetrotting, not being able to travel...

Käsespätzle Recipe – Austrian Mac and Cheese

Käsespätzle Recipe – Austrian Mac and Cheese

Käsespätzle is a beloved Austrian vegetarian dish consisting of homemade egg noodles (spätzle) smothered in butter and topped with melted cheese, caramelized onions and fresh herbs. Think mac and cheese elevated to a whole new comforting level. Country Number 10:...