- March 12, 2018
Anne-Charlotte : meet one of our guides on our guided Provence walking holidays!
Interview of our guide Anne Charlotte
Meet Anne-Charlotte, who’s been guiding for us in Provence for a number of years. Her travels have taken her all over the world and she’s worked a number of trades, ranging all the way from denturist to lumberjack, and everything in between. But the one constant has always been her love of nature, growing up with a mountain-guide-of-a-father, and embarking on many treks of her own. As a guide Anne-Charlotte began along the rough trails of Corsica before favouring the rolling hills of Provence, adopted home of Van Gogh. Soft-spoken, attentive, and with a heart of gold, Anne-Charlotte will ensure your Provence walking experience will be a memorable one. And don’t try to stump her on anything botany-related: it won’t work.
We asked her a few questions so that you can get to know her a little bit better:
What influenced you to become a guide?
Anne-Charlotte: Destiny and genetics! It’s true that my father is a guide, and I was trying to escape this fate for much of my young adulthood. But it didn’t work (ha!). In all honesty, it all began with a love of nature, from the very beginning. This is true for most guides. And it’s what drew me to this profession. But as much as I love the outdoors -- I was surprised as to how much my encounters and interactions with my guests has come to mean to me, and how people – as much as nature – are at the very core of why I love what I do.
What is so special about taking a walking trip?
Anne-Charlotte: Walking is always the best means to visit the countryside, slowly, taking the time to discover, far from the beaten path. There’s more flexibility built into the holiday, allowing us to veer off course, be spontaneous. It’s also an excellent way to meet other people, along Provence's paths, and share stories.
What’s your favourite time of the year to walk in Provence?
Anne-Charlotte: The spring. Provence starts blooming early and it finishes late. The almond trees begin flowering in the month of February, as Provence begins to wake from a short winter. Soon after, the wildflowers begin dotting the landscapes. In April the cherry blossoms appear, and even in late spring (in early June) the lavender begins to flower. And everything in between.
Have you ever lost someone while guiding?
Anne-Charlotte: Other than myself, no.
Design the perfect day in Provence. What would it entail?
Anne-Charlotte: In the morning I’d head to the perched village of Bonnieux, and then walk through the truffle oaks, cherry orchards, and muscat vines. It leads to to the medieval village of Lacoste, crowned by the ruins of the castle of the Marquis de Sade. It's a walk that links two of the most beautiful villages in Provence, in my opinion. I’d have a picnic lunch under the shade of cherry orchards and then have a café or pastis in the village of Lacoste, overlooking the plains. In the afternoon I’d go to the nearby Aiguebrun valley, and do what is probably my favourite little loop walk: to the lost village of Sivergues, unknwon, along timeless paths.
And at night I’d have to stay in the hotel Les Bories, perched majestically and high above the village of Gordes.
What’s your favourite picnic spot in Provence?
Anne-Charlotte: Two come to mind. First is just outside the village of Séguret: a secret and shaded spot overlooking the vast blanket of vines that cover the Rhône valley. And second is on the northern slopes of Mont Ventoux, among the chamois, with views of the entire chain of the Alps.
And finally: if you could guide anywhere else in the world, where would it be?