A deep-voiced bell tolls… sun pierces my eyelids… where am I? I roll over and, through the window, Caromb appears like a Provencal postcard – our whitewashed terrace; the neighbors’ red tiled roofs; farms and forest reaching back into the midground; Mount Ventoux watching aloofly over the scene from a distance.
We arrived here in the tranquillity of a village Sunday evening, under a lavendar-orange sunset. Ian ,who with his partner Axelle, owns La Vieil Hopital, guided us to the property , first by cell phone and then in person. No wonder our vehicle`s GPS struggled to locate it. The building, established in 1500, is hidden away down a cobbled, 8 foot wide street. Ian and Axelle greeted us warmly, leading us up two flights of red tiled stairs, flickering in candle light, to the apartment that will be our home for the next ten days.
Even through the haze of our fatigue, we recognize a jewel: we have our own kitchen, bathroom, two bedrooms, a solarium, and two terraces. A chilled bottle of Ventoux vineyard rose is chilling in the refrigerator. Ian and Axelle say goodnight and we head out to find food, any food. Though most of Caromb’s restaurants are already closed, we find an open pizzeria, and take the pie back to the terrace off the solarium. We look up into a silent, starry, starry night, finish off the pizza and the rose, and bed down in the solarium. This is Lorne’s choice since his injured left side is still not comfortable in a totally horizontal sleeping position. The solarium features a boho arrangement of beanbag pillows and mattresses, so we each claim a corner of the nest and drift off to sleep.
This morning, with Lorne still dozing peacefully, I get up to explore the apartment and the property in daylight. Every room is a decorator’s delight – at least, for those decorators who would rather have their work featured in Alternative Artist’s Anonymous than in Rooty Tooty Snooty Home and Gardens. Everywhere I look, there is a little surprise – a plant, a painting, a sculpture, a gnarled tree branch wrapped in minilights, a collection of vintage books. I feel at home, 10000 kilometres away from home.