France: En Provence

France: En Provence
The weather in Provence, a region comprising some five départements in the southeast corner of France, is near perfect in spring and autumn, with mainly clear skies and temperatures in the mid-seventies. It's a land of scarlet poppies growing wild by the thousands, church bells ringing out from hilltop villages across countless orchards and vineyards, winding cobblestone alleyways, fabulous artists and authors, Cezanne to Zola...

As an editor, I'm lucky enough to do a fair bit of traveling in my search for stories. New model press gatherings, tire launches, bike comparison tests - sometimes it can seem like every other week I'm privileged enough to be jetting or riding off to another foreign clime, and I can't think of one of those assignments that I haven't loved. All of which include a recent, all-too-brief two-day trip to the south of France made even better by the wonderful motorcycling experience that Neil Thomas, the director and owner of Classic Bike Provence, put together.

After being picked up by Neil at the Nimes airport, it was back to his place in the village of Ventabren, near Aix-en-Provence (the birthplace of Cezanne and Zola). Some excellent local wine and a wonderful dinner prepared by Neil's wife Sarah followed. Then it was time to turn in - after all, I had some riding to be getting on with in the morning.

The next day dawned cool and clear, as they almost always do in Provence. Summer is hot, the winters cold, but good weather usually prevails, making riding viable and enjoyable virtually year round.