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Ventana - An Enchanting Resort in BIg Sur

Summary: I love Ventana. I highly recommend visiting  and exploring the landscape at Lime Kiln and Andrew Molera State Park which I've blogged about here. Please note this is #notsponsored . Yes, that means we paid our own bill! Lots of details in the following review. including a Post Ranch vs Ventana comparison.  Can you tell there's something exciting beyond this beautiful gate? There's something special about Big Sur, a magic in the light, the presence of the Pacific, the cliffs, beaches, redwood forests and the murmur of the surf. It's one of my favorite places in California. I couldn't think of anywhere else I wanted to be to celebrate turning fifty, because it's a place where there's a sense of nature, space and light and a wide horizon. We've been to Big Sur many times and for a celebration there are two fantastic hotels vying for your attention. The exclusive, modern and very private, cliff top Post Ranch Inn and on the other side of the road the …

Bonnieux to Lacoste - A Circular Hike


We often talk short day hikes when we're in rural France and have walked quite a bit around Bonnieux. This time we opted for a fairly short (7km) circular hike from Bonnieux to the nearby hill town of Lacoste, mainly known for the Marque de Sade's chateau which is being restored by Pierre Cardin the fashion designer. It made a wonderful day out and you can find a detailed descriptions of the route here.
This is a varied walk through woodlands, valley, vineyards and farmlands  leading to up to Lacoste. The views of Lacoste...

and Bonnieux were spectacular.
As you can see the spring greenery was dazzling. After all the rain we'd had in Paris it was such a relief to see and enjoy some sun. Some parts of the walk were very well marked - as you can see from the signposts above. However, we did get a little lost but because you could see the towns in the distance it wasn't too hard  to reorient ourselves.
There were some interesting sites along the way including this traditional stone structure, we presumed it was originally used for food storage.


It was wonderful to skirt the vineyards as the vines came into bud. It felt like everything was coming alive.
The route varied enormously, at some points we walked on small tracks, at others we walked on small roads.


After open countryside there was a beautiful shaded path as we climbed up to Lacoste.
It's a very picturesque town and many of the buildings are owned by the Savannah College of Art and Design which offers eight week terms in painting drawing, printmaking and photography.
After a quick stroll around town we stopped for a drink and admired the view of the valley at the Bar Restaurant de France.
The stroll back to Bonnieux took us along the road and then cut in through smaller farm tracks across the countryside, past farmhouses and vacation homes. It's a delightful route and highly recommended.



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