Thursday, March 2, 2023

En Provence

Hôtel la Magnaneraie, Villeneuve-lès-Avignon

In the courtyard are several ancient plane trees (sycamores).  Napoleon III apparently loved them and planted them everywhere.  They lined the two-lane highways wherever we went, speckled sentinels from the Second Empire.  This time of year, they were without their famous broad leaves that were immortalized in Dickens' Tale of Two Cities (though in London):

"It was an oppressive day, and, after dinner, Lucie proposed that the wine should be carried out under the plane-tree, and they should sit there in the air. As everything turned upon her, and revolved about her, they went out under the plane-tree, and she carried the wine down for the special benefit of Mr. Lorry. She had installed herself, some time before, as Mr. Lorry’s cup-bearer; and while they sat under the plane-tree, talking, she kept his glass replenished. Mysterious backs and ends of houses peeped at them as they talked, and the plane-tree whispered to them in its own way above their heads."