Perfectly Provincial in Bormes-les-Mimosas, France

Thanks to Princess Cruises for inviting us along and providing this perfectly provincial day! As always, all opinions are our own. See our entire Mediterranean voyage aboard the Royal Princess here

Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

As ships have done since Roman times, the Royal Princess sailed into Toulon Harbor on the south coast of France.

The Romans made this the base for their first province beyond the Alps, Provincia Romana. Nowadays, we just know the region as Provence.

Flora in Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

No offense to the city of Toulon, we're sure it has many fine qualities, but seeing as how we found ourselves in Provence, we figured we ought to get downright provincial, and we couldn't do that in the big city.

So we boarded a bus for a day of fresh air, flowers, and French countryside in the village of Bormes-les-Mimosas.

The flowers of Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

The name has nothing to do with champagne or orange juice; the town is all about the flowers and takes its name from the yellow flowering trees that cover the hillsides.

Unfortunately for us, our arrival did not coincide with their blooming, but there were plenty of other blossoms for us to enjoy. After all, the town did win a gold medal for excellence in horticultural displays from Entente Florale.

Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

Since we don't know our petunias from our hydrangeas, we accepted the flora as a delightful background to our explorations of the medieval village and headed up the hill to the old Chateau that overlooks the town.

What better place to start than at the top?

Castle of the Lords of Fos in Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

Castle of the Lords of Fos in Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

Le château des Seigneurs de Fos, or the Castle of the Lords of Fos, remains from the time of the Counts of Provence, some eight hundred years ago. But it doesn't look a day over seven hundred (ba-dum-ching!).

Seriously, it is incredibly well preserved, as is the rest of the town below. So we leisurely navigated the narrow streets and stairways down the steep slope, stopping here and there to while away the morning in a truly provincial manner.

A shopkeeper opens her shop in Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France
Wow: Did they "film" Beauty and the Beast here?

We had an early start, so the day's activities were just beginning to stir.

Merchants were sweeping and moving their offerings into the street, homemakers hanging out the laundry, and everywhere the scent of flowers, coffee, and bread filled the air.

Provincial life as it has been for centuries, completely unpretentious, so much so that the first little café we came across was named simply Le Bistro. Perfect.

Le Bistro in Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

Details of Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

Break your butt street in Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

It was obvious that cars had never used these roadways -- there's no way that they could fit -- so we felt perfectly safe walking right down the middle.

We continued down the cobblestones and under several arched gateways, on a street so small it looked like a garden path.

When we translated the name of the little lane, Rue Rompi Cuou, we discovered that it means… how should we put this?… bust your… no… let's say Break Your Butt Street.

Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

We managed to keep our hindquarters intact and reach the road that we came into town on.

One could say the intersection was at the highway and the bottom of old broken bottom road.

See our entire Mediterranean voyage here

Chapel of Saint François de Paule in Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France
It seemed out of place to see vehicles passing by, but we allowed ourselves back into modern times and followed the road back up the hill to the center of town.

Holding a place of honor in that center is the Chapel of Saint François de Paule.

Statue of Saint Francis of Paola looks out over Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

The Church was built in 1560 and dedicated to Saint Francis of Paola, who is the patron saint of the city.

He earned that distinction after being credited with driving out the plague when he passed through the area in 1482.

A statue of the saint stands in the walkway leading up to the chapel, but inside we found a shrine to another of France's most beloved saints, Jeanne d'Arc.

Joan of Arc statue inside Chapel of Saint François de Paule in Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

Joan of Arc has a special spot in the back of the chapel -- and in the hearts of the French citizenry -- and she is dressed in a suit of armor standing above a bank of candles so the townsfolk may pay homage.

Just across from the little church we found an outdoor café, perfect for taking a break from our trekking up and down the hillside.


Bormes-les-Mimosas, Provence, France

We sipped coffee on the terrace while gazing out on the islands in the blue Mediterranean far below. No wonder they call them Iles d'Or, or Golden Isles, off the Côte d'Azur, or Blue Coast.

The view and the village made for a most serene day, we would even say close to perfect.

Perfectly provincial.

David & Veronica, GypsyNester.com

Thanks to Princess Cruises for inviting us along and providing this perfectly provincial day! As always, all opinions are our own. See our entire Mediterranean voyage aboard the Royal Princess here

See all of our adventures in France!




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