France Provence Travel


Winter seems like it’s lasted forever this year, and with the strange amount of snow flurries we’ve been having here in Paris over the last few days (seriously weather? It’s March) I’ve been daydreaming a lot about warmer weather and escapes from the city. One of my favorite countryside adventures from last summer was one D and I took while visiting his family in Marseille. He told me we were going to meet one of his friends from high school at the best ice cream place around, so when we got in the car I was anticipating a 20 minute drive at the most. Boy was I wrong- half an hour later we were still flying down the highway past rolling fields covered in vineyards as we left Marseille in the dust behind us to, after nearly an hour, arrive in the little town of Miramas-le-Vieux.

Miramas-le-Vieux, rooftop terrace restaurant

A tiny medieval town perched high on a hill, Miramas-le-Vieux is not the sort of place where you’re likely to find people speaking any language other than French. Clearly a well-known regional gem, it’s somewhere that, if you like discovering local favorites like I do, you’d be thrilled to find but wouldn’t necessarily know to go unless someone took you. We meet D’s friend and the friend’s girlfriend in the parking lot and began the multiple flights of stairs up to Le Quillé and the promised ice cream.

Miramas-le-Vieux, Le Quille glacier ice cream entrance

Miramas-le-Vieux, evening light over La Quille terrace

The patio, and especially the spot we chose right on the edge, offered a fantastic panoramic view of the surrounding Provencial landscape. I could have spent all afternoon taking pictures of it, but I knew I shouldn’t be antisocial- and I didn’t want my ice cream to melt!

The Glittering Unknown, Miramas-le-Vieux, ice cream

Our decadent treats came in multiple flavors- the salted caramel was a particular delight- and for quite reasonable prices. Mine, in the blue-based glass, rang in at 8€, a welcome change from Paris, where something of this quality would run you quite a bit more (ahem, Berthillon).

After our ice cream we walked a bit more through the town, me stopping to take photos along the way, and ended up having such a pleasant time chatting with D’s friends that we drove into town and had dinner together as well. The couple have since relocated to Brussels- here’s hoping we’ll be able to visit them sometime soon!

Miramas-le-Vieux, view over winding streets

Where is your favorite off-the-beaten-path travel discovery?

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