Scouting the neighborhood is always part of moving to a new home. For us this includes finding a new walk for Loulou and Kismet, who after living in Laguna are accustomed to long, quiet hikes through the canyons. Although we are surrounded by open fields many are filled with crops or livestock and the streets are narrow with no sidewalks, just barely able to accommodate the locals speeding by in their miniature cars. Happily we found a beautiful route taking us through the village of Puyvert, on the outskirts of our home. Founded in 1550 by 6 farming families, Puyvert is a tiny rural town consisting only of residences, no stores, with a local population of roughly 795. Filled with small alleys, provincial homes and abundant olive trees it makes for a lovely new setting for our morning ritual.
Dog walking is really not a local thing in the French countryside. Dogs really walk themselves here as you often see the random one or two meandering through village streets. Many Provençal pets tend to be kept more outdoors, guarding over their homes, and often gated in their yards. To see a woman walking her dogs is a bit of an anomaly in Provence, not to mention that the woman is almost 6 feet tall, easily surpassing the height of the average French women. That same woman being dressed in very uncommon athletic wear (i.e. yoga clothes) makes for an even better anomaly. Clearly I have not yet integrated the local fashion code into my dog walking routine as the typical French woman would probably be fully made-up and wearing leather pants as she ventures out with her pet. Coming from the land of southern California, where being clad in workout gear is rather common, I am definitely setting a new fashion statement here in Puyvert... fully validated by the countless inquisitive looks that I receive from the locals!