The bright hues of an open-air flower kiosk caught my eye and drew us down a small, cobbled side street. It opened onto one of those unexpected delights that often await travelers who abandon the well-worn path—the Place aux Aires and its market stalls piled high with vegetables, cheeses, spices, meats, seafood, and crafts. We settled into a cafe along the arcade that surrounds the square and took it all in: the colors and aromas of the market, the bustle of local shoppers, the charming boutiques in the old buildings forming the square, and the promise of even more discoveries down side streets leading away from this enclave in the heart of Grasse's old quarter.
Like almost every other place we went during our week in Provence, the Place aux Aires instantly became "my favorite spot" in France, displacing a week's worth of discoveries, each more wonderful than the last. The first was our hilltop villa in the tiny town of Callas, not too far from Draguignan.
Bienvenue chez nous
Unfortunately, the landmarks on the villa owner's detailed directions had been mostly invisible in the dark, and we stopped at a local inn (not an English-speaker in sight!) to ask for help. A tipsy citizen of Callas who knew the owners guided us to the foot of a steep, winding driveway.
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