This week I’m joined by a regular visitor to my blog – Marie Laval. Marie‘s latest book, HAPPY DREAMS AT MERMAID COVE published by Choc Lit on 22 June 2021 looks and sounds such fun. For this blog post she is going to share with us her memories of a very special holiday. Over to Marie …
These are memories from a road trip I took with my partner, Robert, who tragically passed away last April. It was the first time Robert was coming over to see me and I wanted the holiday to be special, so I planned an itinerary that would take us from my village near Lyon to Les Saintes Maries de la Mer, in Camargue, in the South of France.
My mother very kindly lent me her old Renault Five, and off we went…
Then, like now, I didn’t like driving on the motorway so we took the infamous Nationale 7, which is the A road that runs all the way from Paris to the border with Italy, and often gets very jammed with holiday traffic. Our first stop was the beautiful town of Avignon where my uncle and auntie were putting us up for a couple of nights. To Robert’s credit, he didn’t pull a face or make any comment when I parked the car in front of my uncle’s house. He could have…
My uncle Roger was my mother’s eldest brother and what you could call an eccentric (he called himself a ‘poet’). Not only had he built his own house with a few friends (and you could tell!), but he had a complete menagerie living in the field surrounding the house – pigeons, turkeys, chicken, geese, not to forget two parrots named Marco and Polo who lived in a big tree during the day and squawked, whistled and called if any visitors arrived. My uncle had a house removal business and bought a lot of useless stuff at auctions. The whole ground floor of his house was filled with typewriters, dentist chairs, chipped dinner services and rusty cutlery, old paintings and pots and lots and lots of bunches of keys. When I was little it was my idea of a treasure trove…
My uncle had even dug what he called his swimming pool, which was in fact a hole in the ground where geese, ducks and humans could enjoy a splash in the murky water. We used to swim in there as children and I’ve always wondered how on earth we never caught any disease!
I was a bit worried that Robert would find my relatives weird, but he got along really well with them, despite them not knowing a word of English and him not speaking much French!
After Avignon, we travelled to Les Baux de Provence, a stunning medieval village perching on top of a rocky outcrop. Les Baux is a very touristic place but if you can, it’s well worth stopping over for the night because once the tourists have left the atmosphere changes completely. I remember it was very quiet and very eerie when we sat near the ruined castle and admired the sunset over the Provence plains.
After Les Baux we went to Pont du Gard and Arles, stopping in picturesque villages or market towns on the way, and finally to Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. To cut a long story short, the Camargue is an incredible place, full of marshes, with flamingos, wild horses and black bulls, and gardians – horse-riding herdsmen who look a lot like cowboys. During our first evening there we sat at the terrace of a café to eat a seafood platter and drink rosé wine, when suddenly half a dozen gardians arrived and started singing and playing the guitar. I don’t know if you remember the Gypsy Kings, but it was exactly like that and everybody was clapping and singing.
It was a marvellous holiday, filled with sunshine, romance… and mosquitoes who ate us alive, but we were happy anyway.
Sounds blissful, thank you for sharing this with us. So sorry about Robert, but it sounds as if you have wonderful memories to cling to. Good luck with your new novel – love the yellow library van! Mx 💕
About Marie Laval
Originally from Lyon in France, Marie now lives in the Rossendale Valley in Lancashire. She writes both contemporary and historical romance. Her novels include best selling contemporary romantic suspense novels LITTLE PINK TAXI and ESCAPE TO THE LITTLE CHATEAU, which was shortlisted for the 2021 RNA Jackie Collins Romantic Suspense Award, as well as A PARIS FAIRY TALE and BLUEBELL’S CHRISTMAS MAGIC. Her historical novel, ANGEL OF THE LOST TREASURE, was published in February 2021, and HAPPY DREAMS AT MERMAID COVE is her latest contemporary romance. Marie also contributes to the best selling Miss Moonshine’s Emporium anthologies together with eight author friends from Authors on the Edge.
You can get in touch with Marie on
And Twitter https://twitter.com/MarieLaval1
About HAPPY DREAMS AT MERMAID COVE
From the big city to a little yellow mobile library on the Isle of Skye …
When Jenna Palmer agrees to the new position of mobile librarian on the tiny Arrandale peninsular of the Isle of Skye, she knows she’s signing up for difficult working conditions and mediocre wages. But Jenna needs to get away, and a little yellow mobile library called Buttercup could be her escape to happier dreams …
However, whilst Jenna can get to grips with foggy island roads, local mermaid legends and even big purple monsters, she never expected to have to contend with a boss as grumpy as Daniel McGregor, or a young book lover as enthusiastic as his niece, Katrina.
Arrandale might represent Jenna’s safe port in a storm, but could she and Buttercup also become a beacon of hope to Daniel, Katrina and the entire island community?