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84220 Gordes, France

Walking in Gordes, France

Modern travel by car has become a contest to get from point A to point B in the quickest amount of time. I lament the days I commuted to work by bicycle, or better yet, by foot. Given the vast distances in the United States not connected by safely traversable bike paths or pedestrian avenues, the joys of slower travel have largely become lost. I miss my years living in the Netherlands when biking was considered not only common, but downright fashionable! To be able to stop and enjoy scenes such as the one in this photo become impossible, because from the car, one rarely has enough time to notice, yet along photograph, such a perfect scene.

This photo was taken while taking a leisurely stroll in the fascinating hill town of Gordes, France, which is 14km from the Fontaine-de-Vaucluse (another town worth walking). There are very few places in the world that such perfect medieval lanes like this exist, and to date, I have only seen one other, and that was in Erice, Sicily. The south of France is the stuff of dreams: lavender, cicadas, bouillabaisse, and fine wines all come together in the most perfect of climates, ready to delight the intrepid visitor with exotic delights that leave an impression like none other. For me, this street scene in Gordes distills what is means to be sublimely pedestrian as a traveler, and France was never more beautiful or magical than this moment.