We are very fortunate in that my parents live in Provence and we have spent at least two weeks every year enjoying the amazing food and beautiful weather that the South of France has to offer, not to mention excellent, if slightly batty, company. And so, the Wednesday following our wedding found us, with mum and dad, in Stansted Wetherspoons drinking pints, eating bacon sandwiches and waiting for the very civilised 12:55 flight to Nice.
After a couple of good nights’ sleep James and I were well rested enough to venture beyond the house and decided to visit our local village of Fayence. We have been there many times before but this would be our first visit as windswept and interesting travellers so we thought that we had better do the thing properly and include it in the blog. Fayence is known as a “perched village” due to the fact that it is built on a hilltop. This feature affords it, and the other villages like it, a stunning (or AFS in Aldridge speak) panoramic view of the surrounding area. The viewpoint at the top of the village is naturally the best spot to appreciate this view and I was a little embarrassed when James told me that in our nearly 10 year relationship I had never taken him to see it, in fact he did not know that it existed…. my bad.Being one of the largest villages in the area comes with its pros and cons; during summer it is very popular with tourists resulting in rammed parking areas and shoulder to shoulder shopping in the market during peak season. On the plus side, the tourists bring money and this means that Fayence market is thriving three mornings a week and the village is full of excellent restaurants and cafes that still retain their local charm. Kiki’s, a bar incongruously placed in the middle of the car park, is worth a visit if only for the photo opportunity. As there are lots of tourists, nearly all of the local people you come across will speak a good level of English and, if they realise that you are an English speaker, will immediately assume that you would like to be spoken to in English. As a general rule, the locals love it when you at least attempt to speak French so do persevere and they will follow your lead eventually.
Unmissable in the centre of the village is the Eglise Saint Jean-Baptiste which dominates the market place and, whilst the exterior is not particularly eye catching, the interior is beautiful so worth popping your head in if only for a couple of minutes.There are so many beautiful villages in this area and there are many things to recommend them all. Seillans, just down the road, is possibly the most beautiful village I have visited but I just have a bit of a soft spot for Fayence after many summers spent there.
An Afterthought: Although not on our agenda for this visit, I have two other recommendations depending on what you are in the mood for. If you are looking to while away a couple of hours, then settle down at the boulodrome and watch the highly competitive games of pétanque, there always seems to be someone playing regardless what time of day it is. For those feeling more energetic; head to the beautiful Lac de Saint-Cassien where you can rent pedalos, go horse riding or simply swim in the glorious water which leaves your hair and skin feeling amazing.