A few months back my friend Emily mentioned she was going to Paris in May. Travel abroad was big on my list for 2015, and even though I’d just gone to Paris last October, I decided it was worth making the trip again. Why? For two main reasons: one, if I had to make a list of people I wanted to travel to Paris with in this lifetime, Emily would be at the top. Two, because can you ever really go to Paris too much? The answer is no. Always no.

I wanted to make the trip a longer one though, a solid nine or ten days, but I didn’t want to spend all that time actually in Paris. Living in a big city makes me not want to vacation in a big city. I wanted countryside. Open spaces. A home that was larger than 350 square feet. Counterspace. The ability to DRIVE places. And quiet. I really, really wanted quiet.

Thus I decided to spend the majority of my trip in another part of France; Provence. Another friend was initially going to join me, but had to cancel at the last minute. So two weeks prior to my departure date I settled into the fact that I’d be flying solo for the first five days of my vacation. I was excited.

Last Friday night I got on a plane. I arrived at Charles de Gaulle the next day to a train malfunction (no trains were running into the city). So I split a cab with another disgruntled American and made it to Gare de Lyon with enough time to spare to grab a baby quiche at a bakery nearby. At 3:30 I boarded my train to Avignon. Two and a half hours later I arrived in the French countryside, picked up my rental car, and began the one hour drive to the sweet spot I’d rented in Provence. It’s been nothing short of a straight up dream (dream!) since my arrival. I truly needed this vacation.

I’d been plagued with a feeling of homesickness for the last few weeks in New York. The reason as to why I was feeling that way has become much clearer since I’ve left, but all that aside, I didn’t expect to feel so at home here. I’ve actually felt, in a way, like I’ve come home through this trip. With a few days of quiet, clarity, journaling, and several glasses of rosé under my belt, I’ve come to understand why.

Had I traveled with a friend, my focus would have been on our travel experience together. On my own, visiting a new part of France (and Europe in general), I’m more aware of all the past time I’ve spent here with family, friends, and loved ones. The year my family celebrated Christmas in the south of France. The house we rented in Switzerland when I was just nine years old (likely so memorable because it sat adjacent to a chocolate factory). Time spent along the southern coast of Spain with my ex. All some of the richest memories and happiest times of my life. Because my family, and I subsequently, have always leaned towards renting homes, cars, and so forth when traveling abroad, those memories feel so much clearer and closer, just by being here. It’s as if I’ve come home to them. I feel more at peace in my heart and head than I have in a while. But I suppose that feeling gets at the essence of a true vacation.

I’ll leave you with a few pics of my travel thus far. I have been eating like an absolute queen! More to come from Paris. Follow my Instagram and Snapchat (clarapersis) to see more of my travels! xx Clara

provence-11 provence-5 provence-9 provence-2 provence-8 provence-12 provence-3 provence-4 provence-14 provence-13 provence-6 provence-10

  1. Laura

    Wow! Looks and sounds dreamy.

  2. Oh man … I can’t imagine traveling alone like that, especially in a foreign country. Kudos to you for doing it - I think it definitely takes a certain kind of person. I would start to feel antsy and uncomfortable after one day (or half a day). But spending some quiet time alone in the French countryside does sound absolutely blissful. I hope you enjoy the rest of your visit!

    • Clara

      Hi Sara- I know what you mean, I was a little nervous before I left. I should have mentioned that I do speak a bit of French, so that helps :) I also broke up the trip with some time with friends. The alone time was really great though for quieting my mind, so wherever you go- I highly recommend traveling alone one day!

  3. This is pretty much my dream vacation. I would love a solo trip to just explore, get lost and learn on my own.

    Sunday Brunch

    • Clara

      It was! Cannot recommend solo travel enough.

  4. I can’t believe it. The photos looked so familiar to me. My parents-in-law have a house in St-Saturnin-les-Apt which they live in 6 months of the year and the other 6 months they live in England. Isn’t it the most gorgeous place? If you pass by Villa Sophia, wave hello to my in-laws Louise & Peter.
    Have a fabulous trip.

    • Clara

      I stayed in that exact place! Saint Saturnin les Apt!! It is truly the most gorgeous place. Very envious you have access to a place there :)

  5. France is my absolute favorite place in the world. this is amazing. Cant wait to do this myself one day. My first time in France was 2011 and I see another trip in the near future :)

    • Clara

      I hope you get to! It was an absolute dream.

  6. Allison

    Love reading of your adventures dear friend. You’re an inspiration to us all. Lifting my glass of rose to you xx

    • Clara

      Love you.

  7. Wow, looks unreal! France is such a good place to travel alone! I found when I was there that I had no qualms about eating at a restaurant by myself, something I feel too weird about doing in New York.

  8. La Torontoise

    Clara, what a beautiful place! I spend 8 weeks each year in Cannes, where I own an appartment, but I exchange it for a cottage in one of those villages, in the spring months. Provence is my favorite place in the world!

  9. La Torontoise

    P.S. France is very safe for travelling alone. I did it 4 times and it was the best part of my travel experience ever.

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