Escape the winter blues and head for southern France in January and explore fine food, outstanding wines and exotic truffles. What a way to start the New Year.
Truffle Hunting in Provence
January in Provence is generally not that cold and usually sunny. And, if you’re really lucky you may catch a day or two of snow flurries when the countryside has a light white dusting and the houses seem to shimmer.
It’s the perfect time to enjoy truffle hunting in the gorgeous Luberon area with an expert and his dog; much better than pigs as they don’t eat the truffles when they find them.
“The most learned men have been questioned as to the nature of this tuber, and after two thousand years of argument and discussion their answer is the same as it was on the first day: we do not know. The truffles themselves have been interrogated, and have answered simply: eat us and praise the Lord.” Said the great French writer Alexandre Dumas, and who are we to argue. January is when the truffle aroma is at its very best – utterly sublime and delicious.
Chill out with hot chocolate or roasted chestnuts at a vibrant street market in Arles or Avignon. Or enjoy sitting round a crackling log fire or in a cosy café where the welcome is warm and the aroma of delicious dishes tempts you to stay longer.
Provence in January
Emily Durand, who runs Your Private Provence, says January is really the perfect time to get to know Provence in many ways. There are fewer tourists which means you’ll get to see it as the locals do. Wine lovers will be able to enjoy tastings and wine growers love this quiet time when they can share their expertise and knowledge with visitors. One of Emily’s favourite places to do a wine tasting is at the Chateau Canorgue. This lovely castle was the setting for the fabulous Ridley Scott film “A Good Year” starring Russell Crowe.
Restaurants are not so packed but menus include gourmet dinners often featuring truffles found locally. Emily recommends that you try places that are known and loved by the locals such as in Richerenches where the truffle market is famous in these parts, or Crestet where you’re bound to fall in love with the Fleur Bleu restaurant.
So pack your gloves and scarf, head for the sun in the south of France and see Provence in all its winter finery. It’s an easy trip from Paris and a truly special time to visit.
Emily runs a fabulous Provence Truffle and Wine Tour – see her website for details: www.yourprivateprovence.com