“Cucuron by the Pond” – by Debbie Ambrous

img_0125Perhaps the delightful escape through the countryside with Jamie Ivey through the pages of his book “La Vie En Rosé” converted my bi-focal glasses to rose-colored lens.  Ivey’s enthusiasm for good wine, good food and exploration of little-known corners of France was good company for all 265 pages.  On one of the pages of this book, or another of his delicious books, he said he enjoyed stopping in Cucuron for lunch at the cafe by the beautiful pool of water – Bassin de l’Etang – lined with centuries-old plane trees.   Local people and visitors gravitate there alongside the water which seems to cool down the area on the hottest of days.  I followed Ivey’s footsteps and absorbed the colorful ambience on a beautiful autumn day.  Ripples of excitement, a bit of gooseflesh and a goofy smile crept across my face and body as I realized my dream of being in Provence in this delightful oh-so-French village.img_0127The village is not one of the popular tourist spots with streets lined with souvenir shops.  I felt like I should hide my camera and try to blend into the normal flow so I wouldn’t mar the beauty.img_0135

But I had to capture the beauty with my camera without intruding.  The scenes of people walking home with baskets of groceries for dinner and children playing in the street were normalement to them, but a joy for me to capture for many memories in the future.

 

 

A little dog raced along the street beside us and then stopped on a doorstep like he was trained to pose for the camera, a tourism office dog.img_1494-copy

If you can tear yourself away from the rosé by the rectangular pool and walk through the ancient arched entryway, a medieval part of the village is inside the old rampart walls with winding streets, fountains, laundry hung out to dry and a gorgeous view over the rooftops at the top of the village. img_1522-copy  Aristocratic homes and seventeenth-century buildings with beautiful doorways are too beautiful to miss!img_0130  One of the doors had “PetiteTara” engraved into the wood, the same as the Tara in the book “Gone with the Wind and the name of one of my best friend’s daughter.img_1516-copy

When we slowly blended into the atmospheric scenery, I followed an elderly gentleman across the street, hoping to capture a photo of him with the ancient ramparts as a background.  Husband Jim accused me of stalking the sweet fellow.  What is it with the elderly that is so photogenic?

“Young men’s magnificence is their strength; old men’s grandeur is white hair.” – Proverbs 20:29

An elderly woman was moving faster than the charming gent with her wildly, colorful skirt img_0129flapping in the breeze while she chatted on a cell phone planted next to her face.  I hoped to capture a photo, but she was moving uphill faster than most senior citizens.  She was keeping up her conversation and glancing back at me with the eyes of a detective.  I was caught in my covert actions, and she appeared to be strong enough to take me on like Granny Clampett of the Beverly Hillbillies and throw me into the cement pond, or L’etang.  Where was Jethro Jim to protect me from a walking cane lashing?

Jim had left me behind to walk uphill for the view, undisturbed on a peaceful terrace.img_1508-copy From the highest position, one can see Cezanne’s beloved Mont St. Victoire and the fertile farmland around which yields Luberon wine, cherries and olives.  Cucuron is home to farmers and shopkeepers and has a good collection of cafes, restaurants and a hotel.  If you are fortunate enough to linger for awhile, the village offers a nice assortment of activities other than people-watching by Bassin de l’Etang.  img_1488-copyCucuron was about twenty-five miles from our rental house when we visited this past October.  We drove there after our visit to Lourmarin which I featured in a story earlier and we returned for a second time because I liked the village very much.  Perhaps you would like to CLICK back to the story on Lourmarin if you missed it!  Cucuron is only four miles from Lourmarin with Ansouis, another Plus Beaux Village, just three miles farther away.  This cluster of villages creates an enticingly delightful area.

Marcia DeSanctis, in her book “100 Places in France Every Woman Should Go” has high praise for Cucuron: “One of the most enchanting places in the Luberon is the medieval village of Cucuron, where several scenes from A Good Year were filmed.   In the center of town is a large reflecting pool filled with fish and surrounded by ancient plane trees, their forked white trunks graced with pale green foliage that shuffles slightly.  In the corner of the square, in a pretty house with steel-blue shutters, is the restaurant La Petite Maison de Curcuron, where the chef gives group cooking lessons here every weekend.  Enough said.  No wonder Russell Crowe didn’t return to London.”img_1510-copyWhile Cucuron seems unspoiled, it certainly isn’t undiscovered!  I found reference to four movies that were filmed here, at least in part.  I kept my camera busy.  I hope you enjoy the photography and this very short story.   This is a very special place, so don’t put it low on your list since I didn’t devote as many words to it compared to others.  It is not a secret village, but it seems hidden away from the hordes of tourists especially if you can travel slightly out of high season.img_1479-copy

I’m getting ready for a visit to my adorable grandson.  I should say “we” since Jim will be traveling to Texas with me for the best visit of all, to see Daniel our only grandson!  I will take along a few extra hugs from you.

Please come and visit with us again!  Thank you very much for your encouragement and for sharing this website with others!