When the temperatures in Provence get too much to handle, as they did a couple of weeks ago, it can be hard to know what to do with yourself.
The mercury rises, the breeze dies leaving you hardly able to breathe, never mind move or think.
But I know a great little place to cool off.
Fontaine de Vaucluse is a charming little village at the source of the Sorgue river.
A settlement since Neolithic times, it was part of a major trade route for the Phoenicians, then the Romans, in the middle ages a local hermit performed so many miracles that he was eventually consecrated as the Bishop of Cavaillon, monasteries were built on an ancient sanctuary dedicated to a pagan god of the waters. The healing waters have attracted people from far & wide for hundreds and hundreds of years.
Filled with plane trees it’s a shady place to escape the relentless heat.
The cool river flowing through brings with it a fresh breeze and the tantalising scent of adventure.
The water swirls and glitters beneath riverside cafes and restaurants.
The perfect place to sit and cool off.
A quiet spot to just watch the world go by.
A short stroll will reveal a handful of shops selling all sorts of lavender scented trinkets, and many a restaurant.
A little fountain in the square offers a taste from the spring.
But further down stream is what I’m interested in.
Head south and you’ll come across a hundred and one “kayak expedition” companies, all vying for your business. If canoeing is your thing, try one!
For those who like a slower pace, there’s a huge space to pull over and park just below the village. Park up here and stroll along the water’s edge.
You’ll find a number of little beaches where you can slip in undisturbed.
The water is deliciously cool and crystal clear.
The crickets singing, coupled with the breeze dancing through the leaves above, mingles with the sound of distant laughter, making it feel as though you’re floating through a dream.
Lily enjoyed dipping her toes and giggling at the surrounding ripples, broken up by the occasional duck popping by to say bonjour, and disappearing again when it became clear we didn’t have any baguette to share.
^ The cool water also offers some relief from the smattering of mosquito bites we received on a nightly basis!
Perhaps it will seem silly to some, but I feel like I’ve waited my whole life to share experiences like this with a little one of my own.
There’s so much world to show her, so many adventures to be had.
This exact moment in the middle of our first summer together is one I want to remember forever.
Perhaps they really are magical waters, because I’ve never felt more alive or happy than right there and then.
Even the queen of comfort, who hates anything colder than a bath, couldn’t resist a dip!
Gliding through as though she were born from the source itself.
While Lily and I had a picnic on the rocks.
We returned many times during our stay in Provence, racing to the river before breakfast for a coffee, a croissant and a swim.
Sure we had a pool at home, but nothing, nothing can compare to the beauty of wild swimming.
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Ps. Before you jump in, always check it’s safe, don’t wear any sunscreen or any chemicals that could upset the balance of the waters, and leave the river and the banks cleaner than how you found them.