« It’s like a day when you’re walking around and you feel like the wind’s going to gently blow you away. This might be a nice place to live.” Excerpt from a French song from William Sheller.
Alright. I am maybe this super optimistic gal who keeps seeing the glass half full no matter where she goes. Still, I have chosen to live here in Mirabel-aux-Baronnies, in Southern Drôme and to make it my dream village.
Simply because that place makes me feel like I belong here. Always have.
So what I call home today is this adorable village of Mirabel, which I have chosen as such for its incredible provençal light, good-hearted people, astonishing soils and slopes, unique history and beautiful landscapes.
Ideally situated too. Halfway between the beautiful historical city of Vaison-la-Romaine and the generoux and authentic city of Nyons. The best possible start for all kinds of gorgeous Provence private tours.
Still, home is first and foremost Beaujolais and the slopes of Mount Brouilly. Where I was born. Where my whole family still lives. Both feet in the vineyards as well, but other grapes, other hills.
There, sunshine radiates from everybody’s hearts, mostly my family members whom I love to pieces. And even last week as we gathered to sadly say goodbye to one of the most discrete yet radiant spirit of the family, I did get more than my share of warm feelings, comforting stories and joyful embraces.
But this is not where I live now.
Once back home, in Provence, in that place where I have chosen to live on my own like a big girl, I did not have the chance to feel suddenly lonely. After two days of uninterrupted rain, I was greeted by the most indecent and flamboyant sunset ever!
From my bedroom window pane, I could see the hills behind Nyons literally catching fire. I had to stop a minute and watch that magnificent scenery. And as I was about to turn around and go back to my evening errands, a faint yet superb rainbow appeared.
It made me smile and think about my diversified, colorful, reassuring family. And I thought to myself that as much as it feels good to belong to a place, it feels even better to be part of a family, mostly this one.
Maybe this colored spectrum was just the visual expression of my gratitude for them, who modestly taught me respect, courage and gave me the energy and stamina to keep on spreading joy around me like an explosive and contagious little seed.
There it is. You had to know that YOUPI TOURS is actually a selfish gift that I made to myself after 10 years of being said that I was being TOO nice, TOO caring, TOO nurturing with visitors.
Today at last, and thanks to you all, I work with passion. I prepare each tour cheerfully, I uncover each hidden spot of my unique Provence with enthusiasm and anticipation, like some incorrigible & mischievous child.
Sure enough, this first season with you all (locals, French, neighboring foreigners, visitors from across the world) came as a shock. No matter how prepared I thought I was, I could not expect that. I mean that incredible amount of work and effort of course. But mostly those many moments of communion, fun, connection, pure joy that we did share. Though I had been dreaming about it for a decade, I never thought we’d have so much of it. And geez it was plenty!
I must have shot over 2,000 photos in 8 months, but this is me trying to “keep in low”. Really. I did share a bunch too… many in private surprise albums I would work on until my head would hit the keyboard. Others online and mostly on social media. Whether private or not, each time you loved it and it felt like WAOUH! Or YOUPI rather!
So this is just to say THANK YOU.
Thanks to you I work the way I like it. Everyday. And I feel “on my own axis” as I often like to say (in French). Which means in line with my professional skills but also my emotional and behavioral momentum.
Because it is really right down my alley: preparing, nurturing, sharing, listening, crafting each bespoke tour while still working on the lowest possible prices for you truly is my thing.
As far as I can remember – or better yet as far as I am being told – the big-headed, off-key singer, skinned-knee little girl I was, would spending her time running along the hills of Upper Beaujolais with cousins and neighbors, always eager to forage from adult to adult, handing here a crushed silly flower, there a four-week-old sticky candy.
I am rambling here I know… but here is a big thank to my father, my aunts and uncles for giving me the taste for pure freedom, delicate gluttony (could you not just have a proper word for “gourmandise” at last?), laughter, large happy tables, wilderness and straightforward generosity.
And thank you again. For undulating and appreciating what I have to offer so kindly.
I can’t wait for more laughter, unique getaways and surprises.
I can’t wait to feel five years old again, with you. And not one single care in the world.