There is more to the South of France than vineyards and lavender fields, I have come to find out. Recently I experienced an entirely new landscape of the Camargue region which is a flat wetland between the Mediterranean and the Rhône river, not unlike the Everglades in Florida. It’s a totally different landscape known for it’s flamingos, rice fields, salts, bulls and most famously, white horses. This led me to doorstep of Le Mas de Peint, a family run hotel in a 17th-century farmhouse renovated into 13 guest rooms decorated in Provençal style in the heart of the Camargue.
It honestly does not get more authentic than this. Durning our first night there over dinner of a seasonal Provençal cuisine set in the old kitchen, this French cowboy comes up to our table to introduce himself. His name is Frederic Bon, the son of born cattleman Jacques Bon, who has taken over the expansive property he was born and raised on which includes managing rice fields and ranching. He is proud and humble, as I find people who work so closely with nature to be. After a long discussion over the history of the family and farmhouse we arranged for a morning ride to see his bulls herds he raises, the famous white horses and peaceful rice fields. Horseback riding is one of my favorite ways to explore a country’s terroir as I discovered in Argentina and Patagonia.
Practical information- The hotel only has 13 rooms so it’s important to plan your visit. You can arrange excursions such as horse back riding or a 4 wheel drive tour. The property has a large pool, wifi, and an amazing restaurant with a menu that changes daily based on what is in season and from the garden. The most important thing to remember is bug spray though!
It’s that time of year, where were we all desperately want 60 degree days and to see the color green again fill our parks… but alas, here we are, soon the snow will begin falling quietly outside. The mother of a friend taught me something new recently that I have been trying to live by since my recent transformation: “Make it fun”. We all get stuck in situations that are not ideal (like winter) and instead of being negative about it, find a way to make it fun!
A couple of weekends ago Kevin used HowAboutWe for Couples to turn these last few winter days into a fun memory of the season with a romantic snow-covered mountain horseback ride! I’m beside myself with excitement waiting for the next season of Game of Thrones to begin so it was quite fun being a couple hours outside the city in complete silence pretending I was Khaleesi. You know I love horseback riding…I love seeing the world from a slightly higher perspective, watching winter’s angular shadows dance by as if they were the ballerina legs of nature.
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We headed out for adventure. Deep into Chilean Patagonia in Torres del Paine National Park we rode horses for hours with gauchos, explored caves where giants used to live, stared in awe at Cleopatra’s Needles, stopped to take in the first sights of guanaco I have only read about in Charles Darwin’s descriptions and enjoyed endless fields of baby sheep. The first thing that struck me about Patagonia was how untouched it is by man. No red lights or bill boards, no gas stations or pavement and no cell service. It is truly a completely unpolluted environment. You stand in the center of Patagonia, so far from anything familiar, so alone, hours from other humans and as far as the eye can see there is infinite beauty, purity and vast wonderment.
“What on earth makes you choose such an outlandish part of the world to go to? What can be the attraction? These, and similar questions and exclamations I heard from the lips of my friends and acquaintances, when I told them of my intended trip to Patagonia, the land of the Giants. What was the attraction in going to an outlandish place so many miles away? The answer to the question was contained in its own words. Precisely because it was an outlandish place and so far away, I chose it. Palled for the moment with civilization and its surroundings, I wanted to escape somewhere where I could be as far removed from them as possible. There I would be able to penetrate into vast wilds, virgin as yet to the foot of man. Scenes of infinite beauty and grandeur might be lying hidden in the silent solitude of the mountains that bound the barren plains of the Pampas, into whose mysterious recesses no one as yet had ever ventured.”
–Lady Florence Dixie, 1880
Continue reading “Patagonia’s Land” →
“Some trails are happy ones,
Others are blue.
It’s the way you ride the trail that counts,
Here’s a happy one for you.”
A morning ride- Ben Brook, Texas
Home on the range- I told y’all I’m from Texas!
I’ll be taking a week break from blogging as I travel the great state of Texas. I will be back with new content, stories, adventures and pictures to share after June 9th, From Me To You