28.11.2013

Expat life: long-term tourist

28.11.2013

Expat life: long-term tourist

Long-term tourist

Third post on Expat Life.
Having acquired a brand new way of looking at things and having explored every corner of my new city, I thought I would also take a look at my wider surroundings.
There is an invaluable privilege to being an Expat, which is that you are effectively a long-term tourist; so what could be better than taking full advantage of your situation? In the two years that I lived in the South of France, I tried to travel around as much as possible and, during these tourist trips, I saw a great number of beautiful cities, small villages and vast beaches.
Of course, these wanderings couldn’t fail to include the famous region of Provence.
I arrived one spring afternoon, during a time of difficult decisions; it seemed as though, before this crossroads, someone had come along and switched off my enthusiasm for life. Me, a person who cannot live without taking photos, even if only with my eyes, had put the cap back on the lens.
However, the South of France is an amazing corner of the world, often warmed by the sun, often capable of soothing even the worst of moods.
Thus, one afternoon in May, a stroll in Provence proved to be exactly the healing I needed.
I arrived in Saint Remy in Provence full of expectations; I knew it wasn’t the right time to admire the vast expanses of purple lavender, but I still expected to experience the magical atmosphere so gushed over by the French. An expectation that was not to be disappointed.
Saint Remy is an immaculate little village, framed by coloured shutters, where you often happen upon places full of light and colour.
It is no surprise to learn that it is a place that has charmed many writers, painters and musicians over the years. It is no coincidence that Vincent Van Gogh, during a year in Saint Remy, painted a total of one hundred and fifty works of art.
The light is often filtered by the ancient sycamores and the small streets always reveal perfect little corners vivid in colour.

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Place Favier is the square known to the residents as Lou Planet; here, you can enjoy sitting in the shade of the trees and be lulled by the sounds of the unmissable fountain, which dates back to 1906. A beautiful space that is transformed into one big open-air café.
Sitting at one of the many little tables in the square, you can’t help but notice the coloured wooden shutters, often half-shut in the heat of the day.

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I can still remember the Bistrot where my eyes were immediately drawn to the combination of flowers, coloured chairs, little decorations and details, which transformed a simple side street into the perfect setting to bring a smile to your face.

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If you are planning a trip to Provence, Saint Remy is really worth a visit; at least a brief stop for a cup of tea at one of the many little tables scattered along the village streets. Above all, if you are in an Expat situation, take full advantage of being a long-term tourist because it is always worth the effort.

Bianca Spina

My name is Bianca Spina; I’m from Naples but I live in Rome. I have just come back to Italy after a period living as an Expat in France, an intense and amazing time. Mother to two little girls, I wear big, red glasses; I love to walk looking up, to observe, photograph and tell stories. I try to keep in a good mood and I am always won over by the inescapable charm of kindness and a smile.
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