May Travel: A French Antiquing Excursion

Summer travel is often an intimidating, serious business (you need to steel yourself for bathing suit shopping, and every spot is crammed with tourists), but May is the time for unscheduled larks. A proper spring holiday requires little more than a pair of sandals and a desire to meander in the warming weather. So this month, instead of structured tours or crammed itineraries, we’ve chosen two destinations that promise unlimited opportunities to wander, browse, and discover. And shop. We’re not kidding: pack light and leave space in your suitcase, because you’ll be coming home with some truly glorious finds.

bastide 4La Bastide de Marie, Ménerbes, France

Top this: Journey to Provence, stay in a rustic-yet-sumptuous country house, and spend your days … antiquing. We’re guessing the idea has never occurred to you. But the Luberon Valley—specifically the medieval village of Menerbes and its environs—is known throughout France as the most promising place to find forgotten treasures. It’s like going to Pennsylvania to acquire Amish quilts. luberon marketThe finds represent a region visited by the Greeks, claimed by the ancient Romans, home to seven 14th century popes, held under a five-year siege by Huguenots in the 16th century, and dotted with ancestral and monastic farms. bastide 3La Bastide de Marie caters specifically to travellers hunting for the vintage and baroque, offering antiquing advice to the guests of its 15 rooms (along with a 50-acre vineyard, spa, wine cellar, and traditional Provencal cuisine). Rooms start at $600 per night; visit for more information.

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