Provence is a big region and although I feel like we cover a lot of ground in our travels, our life in the Var (department) is actually just a small part of it. But what a beautiful part it is.
After two years of living in this area, I find we’re constantly going back to the same towns and villages and walking a well-worn path with other locals and tourists. Le Castellet is one such village which no one seems to tire of – even if a speedy tour could take you across town in less than 15 minutes.
But no one goes to Le Castellet to just whip through and cross another destination off their Provence to-do list. This hilltop village is rich in what the French love, and do so well, ambiance. The stone houses are painted just “that” color of Provençal blue, the balconies and terraces overflow with wildflowers, and the sunlight squares are filled with café-goers and Rosé enthusiasts. Le Castellet is so typically Provençal in fact, that we’ve had a few of our guests ask… is this real?
And I knew exactly what they were talking about. For outsiders, perhaps especially Americans, the village is like someone took your best ideas of what an idyllic South of France town should look like and brought it to life. And it only gets better in the spring.
Everything’s in bloom and it’s hard not to spend most of your day taking snapshots of every nook and blooming corner. But then that would be missing out all the fab “shabby chic” boutiques that line the village streets. And no matter how beautiful this place is, missing a shopping opportunity is definitely a major French faux pas.
Even if you don’t buy anything, there’s a lot of cozy inspiration, not to mention some mighty good-smelling lavender, in the furniture and textile shops. It’s also a great spot for “authentic” Provençal souvenirs… And then of course there’s always the option of wine-tasting at any of the vineyards dotting the hills below the village.
Not surprisingly, I think we’ll be back on our Le Castellet “tourist path” very, very soon.