February 2005by Robert William Degnan
The road that led to our destination had more twists and turns than a French folk-tale. We passed through the arid landscape with the scent of olive trees and various forms of native flora inspiring our minds and relaxing our souls. A myriad of shops and small stores set the scene as we took a quick left up a road that led us by a sign announcing "Foie Gras"; definitely homemade. It was not long before the entrance to the Four Seasons Provence greeted us.
After the most welcoming check-in we have ever experienced, our day began with a guided tour led by the Four Seasons' Marketing Director, David Barillot. Mr. Barillot is a charming man who loves not only his job, but is the very essence of Provence and what the region has to offer. Mr. Barillot then escorted us on a tour of the guest rooms, golf course, the spa and fitness centers, and my favorite, the pool; more on that in a bit. The quality of the furnishings and the sense of professionalism that is put into every aspect of the Four Seasons Resort fills the guests with a feeling of being at home. Without knowing it, we had checked our worries and concerns at the door with our luggage. Baggage goes with baggage.
Although I lapped up every bit of our tour, I was anxious to get to my favorite portion of any day, lunch. Today's lunch was by far one of my most memorable in recent memory. We were seated on the outside terrace for a "casual" lunch of chilled wine and the most delectable plate of smoked and marinated salmon I have ever blessed my palate with. Severine delighted in her goat cheese salad, while David chose the salmon too. A barely noticeable breeze gave our skin a welcome relief from the warm afternoon sun as we dined and chatted about everything and anything that came to our minds.
The backdrop for this "motion-picturesque" scene was a chain of mountains, speckled with four small villages that rested amongst the trees and rocky crags giving the ancient steep slopes a touch of human charm and coexistence. Occasionally a plane would silently sweep through the distant horizon with a glider in tow, preparing to make its swan-like freefall; the Fayence area is not far from the resort and is very well known for its glider expeditions.
The remainder of our afternoon was spent by the pool. We were greeted at the pool area by the hostess who took our names and room number, then asked us where we preferred to lounge. The hostess escorted us to a partially shaded area next to the pool and placed two thick towels over our lounge chairs, one to dry off with and the other for a pillow. The hostess took our drink orders and left us to enjoy the breathtaking view of the surrounding mountains, gliders and villages.
The pool area is equipped with a shallow children's pool, two Jacuzzis and a nearly Olympic-size pool. At the far end of the pool, parallel to another grassy lounging area, a waterfall exists that softens the pool’s edge, giving the swimmer the optical illusion that the pool is never ending. An entire trip report could be written about this portion of the day alone, but for now we shall leave it as another integral part of our state of nirvana in the ancient hillsides of Provence.
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