Often I find that good trips become better in retrospect. I reflect on one particular moment, and I long to be back in that moment. I remember, for example, sitting in Frontignan’s town square among French families and couples enjoying late-evening karaoke outdoors. That moment was not scripted into our trip, as were the many tours that I also enjoyed. We had simply walked into town on an impulse after dinner. Sitting in that square with a glass of wine, listening to a young girl perform “La Vie En Rose,” well, life doesn’t get any better than that.
During each of our ten days traveling in the Languedoc-Roussillon region, I knew there would be moments I would remember long after I returned home: an exquisite lunch in Chateauneuf du Pape; marveling at the Roman arena in Arles; a hay ride through olive groves — I could go on.
If permitted to use a metaphor, I would say that like a good red wine, our trip in the south of France grows better as it breathes. The aroma becomes intense and each sip presents the palate with something that is full-bodied and delicious to the very last drop.
I will need moments of tranquility and joy to reflect on. We all need them. In my busy life back home, I am continually looking for tools to subdue stress. I seek out methods to combat the barrage of activity that forces agendas on me. There are many philosophers who emphasize the importance of living in the now as a means of eliminating the anxiety that too much to do creates. For me, though, it helps to live in the past, to immerse myself in those moments that brought such joy, or as they say in France, la joie de vivre. Following are a few of those memories.