How to sample the true Provence in one easy step

16 Aug

My romantic dream of what you might do in Provence, France turned into reality in one beautiful location! Read on to find out how…

A typical Provence home

Les Pastras™: base camp for my dream Provençal activities

I don’t know about you but whenever I think of travelling through Provence in the autumn or early winter I get a somewhat clichéd, rose-tinted video of French activities streaming through my mind.

I’m playing petanque, foraging for truffles and mushrooms, picking olives and stomping on grapes. Then, after all that worthwhile activity, I take a seat in the late season sun with like-minded people and enjoy a glass of something with tasty cuisine from the local area.

I have lived and worked in France for 18 years but have not yet managed to participate in any of these activities! Each year I have these fanciful thoughts and always tell myself I’ll get to try a few of these things when I have more time.

Pair of feet in a stomping on red grapes in Provence

Les Pastras™: Grape stomping in Provence

Recently, I was searching online for a very specific gift for a friend’s 50th birthday. I had heard that you can buy an oak sapling impregnated with truffle spores and was looking for one online. On my search, I stumbled across a farm in Provence where you can do most of my fantasy French activities in one place!

Johann and Lisa Pepin at their organic farm, Les Pastras, located in the hills between Cadenet and Lourmarin, around 35km north-west of Aix-en-Provence, offer an inspired selection of themed visits. So, if you dream the same dream as me why not plan an autumn or winter visit?

The Pepins are a Franco-American couple who moved to the South of France from Chicago in 2003 to take over the Pepin family vineyard. (Their story is the kind that I’m sure many of you dream of living one day.) Their hosted activities at the farm, and other nearby venues, look like really great value for money, and their passion for what they do leaps off the page when you read their website:

Open hands full of truffles from Provence

Les Pastras™: autumn truffle hunting

Year-round events

The Les Pastras website will give you all the information you need about each different theme, and when you can do it. In a nutshell, their year-round events include:

  • Truffle hunting: May to September and November to March
  • Grape stomping: September
  • Olive harvest: November
  • Petanque, fossil hunting and fishing: all year long
  • Mushroom hunting: autumn

Before suggesting you go there I thought I’d better make sure you can get up their drive in a motorhome, so I sent Johann an e-mail to ask. He replied, explaining that it’s not a good idea as turning at the top of the drive is very tricky. However, he immediately suggested that you can park at the bottom of their hill and they will come and get you. What a helpful approach, they sound like our kind of people!

Man with dog searchin gfor truffles in Provence

Les Pastras™: Truffle hunting – found one!

Apart from the odd gap, we are fully booked until the end of September, but we currently have good availability from early October to the end of the year. So why not book an autumn or winter break and head for Provence in a motorhome to take part in some truly French activities. Get a campervan or motorhome quote today while we still have autumn and winter availability.

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