Erin and her family have lived in Provence for nearly 8 years and her journey is one of those “oh wow” expat stories you come across from time to time. I’m always amazed when people have the courage, and the spirit, to pick up their lives and move to their “dream” destination.
I hope you’ll enjoy hearing more about Erin’s Provençal adventures and her charming life in beautiful Aix-en-Provence.
What is your connection to Provence, and how long have you been living in or traveling to the region?
I moved to Aix-en-Provence in 2010 with my husband and two young daughters for a one-year life experience, and we’ve remained for more than seven years now. I studied for a semester in Avignon during university and fell in love with France. We also enjoyed several vacations to the region as a family before becoming expats. The Provence is such a wonderful place, and it’s well situated for day and weekend trips in all directions. Both our daughters are perfectly bilingual now, having gone to school in the international sections of our local public French schools, and I’ve progressed to becoming fluent as well.
Where is your favorite place to visit? (a tough one!)
After more than seven years, I find that I’m still discovering new things about Aix everyday, so I’d definitely still include it on my favorites. We have good friends in St. Rémy and are up there often, especially for events like Transhumance and the occasional passing through of the Tour de France riders. Truth be told, the Provence has so many charming villages to explore and things to do that my favorites can change depending on the season.
Do you have a “best travel memory” for the region?
The first vacation my husband and I took to France with both our daughters was to Bormes-Les-Mimosas. The girls were very young (5 and 2), and we were joined by my mother and her husband for a week. My mother has since passed away and the girls are growing up too fast, so I have very fond memories of sharing that time all together in that stage of life. We still make occasional visits to Bormes, and I always find that each petite rue and chemin brings back a nostalgic feeling for me.
Can you think of one piece of advice or recommendation for travelers to Provence?
I enjoy every time of year in the Provence and think each has something special for visitors to the region to enjoy, but when visiting in the winter time, be sure to bring warm clothing. Many people may think that the Provence is warm or hot year-round, but it can get quite chilly for short durations during winter, especially when the mistral winds come through. Although no matter the season, it’s almost always sunny so you can enjoy having a coffee or lunch outside in a little café year-round, which I just love.
Finally, can you give us one sentence which you feel describes Provence?
I think that the Provence has a character unique from the rest of France, blending the metropolitan influences of Marseille with chic style in towns such as Aix-en-Provence and an abundance of outdoor activities and historic sites just waiting to be explored.
A very big “merci” to Erin for her lovely insights about Provence and also for sharing her travel tips for the south of France.
If you’d like to learn more about Erin and the tours she offers, please visit the Aixploring Provence website: www.aixploringprovence.com
You can also connect with Erin on her Facebook page.