I have just returned from a wonderful week in the south of France. We were there to celebrate the wedding of my dear niece Claire to her wonderful fiancé Daniel.
As Claire is English and Dan is French, and both of them in recent years have had the opportunity to live within each other’s homelands the couple wanted a hybrid Anglo-French approach to the wedding format – selecting what was for them the best of both worlds.
As so many friends and family would be attending from UK and a wide area of France, they had selected the beautiful Abbaye Saint Hillaire winery as the wedding base for the week. The winery has approx. 130 hectares of vineyards and contains within the private estate 15 beautifully presented gîte type lodgings. The whole estate which also includes forested hills covers 1,500 hectares and sits at the foot of the Auréliens and Sainte-Victoire mountains between Olliers near Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume and Rians.
Abbaye Saint Hillaire proved to be the perfect location for us and the wonderful courtyard that fronted the entrances to the gîtes, was the evening meeting point and catalyst for social gatherings of family and friends on every night of our stay.
Dan grew up – and his parents still live in a beautiful little French village called Jouques.
Although Dan’s work has them spending much of their time in the area of Nimes – on the edge of the famous Camargue, western Europe’s largest river delta, Dan’s heart and most of the happy couple’s family, friends and social/leisure activities have them basing themselves in and around the area of Jouques and Aix en Provence. And so it was that the wedding took place in the local Jouques Marie (Town Hall).
The civil ceremony was carried out by the assistant mayor of the town and I had the very great honour of presenting the service with him by providing an English translation of the civil ceremony for the benefit of the English guests. The Marie ceremony was attended by a great many family and friends and the centre of the village came to a stand-still several times during the afternoon.
The following photograph album provides an overview of the wonderful week we spent together:-