When I received an email inviting me to see the Pink Lady® apple orchards in Avignon, I couldn’t type my RSVP ‘YES!!!’ quick enough!
The trip was to be in celebration of the start of the Northern Hemisphere harvest, and it sounded truly magical.
For one, I’ve loved Pink Lady® apples for years.
And two, I’ve wanted to explore more of France for ages!
This was the perfect opportunity to head to one of the country’s most beautiful areas: Provence. Not only is the area famous for its orchards, it is the same region that some of the world’s finest wines are made in too.
Fun fact: all Pink Lady® apples are grown in the world’s finest wine regions, from France to Italy and South Africa to Australia.
Over the course of three days, we enjoyed some of the most incredible food I’ve ever tasted, a tour of the breathtaking apple orchards and strolls around the charming town of Avignon.
Here’s how our 72 hours unfolded . . .
Day one of our trip was our ‘travel day’.
An early start from home to Heathrow had me feeling all of those exciting pre-trip emotions. I couldn’t wait to explore a new-to-me place, and by complete coincidence one of my great friends Wendy, of Thank Fifi blog, was on the trip too. This only served to make me MORE excited!
The journey to Avignon was a breeze. Wendy, Dominika (another lovely blogger) and I raided Pret for the flight and we all got window seats (yesss!), which meant that I snapped a tonne of pictures, eagerly awaiting my first glimpse of the French countryside.
You can still see some of my plane views via my Instagram Stories.
Once we arrived in Avignon we checked into our hotel which was on the outskirts of the city. The interiors on the ground floor of our hotel were gorgeous. Think peacock chairs, bohemian cushions everywhere and huge indoor plants. As bloggers, our inspiration wheels were turning like mad!
Wendy, Dominika and I hung out for a bit in the afternoon, grabbed a G&T and ogled the interiors some more.
We then met up with the rest of our group and headed into the French countryside for an incredible meal altogether.
Our destination was a surreal restaurant, with sculptures dotting its grounds and the most charismatic and hilarious chefs. We dined in a private room which had a kitchen within it. Most of our courses featured apples in some guise, in honour of our trip, and it was some of the most amazing food I’ve ever eaten. In particular a cold cod dish, served with an apple and passion fruit jelly stands out in my memory. It sounds strange, but it was delicious!
Our host for the evening had such an amazing sense of humour, he had us all in stitches.
We left the meal full, happy and excited for the next day ahead.
Day 2 | Part 1
Day two of our trip was the biggie: our trip to the Pink Lady® apple orchards.
Our first port of call for the day was to check out of our first hotel and into our second.
The second hotel was located in central Avignon, and it was breathtaking. The most beautiful buttery stone made up the building, which encased a huge inner courtyard complete with ginormous trees baring a blanket of yellow leaves. I don’t think there was a single person in our group that wasn’t in awe.
We checked in, and then split up for a few hours ahead of our orchard visit.
Wendy, Dominka and I hung back at the hotel to snap some photos against our new backdrop, and the rest of our group wandered around Avignon town.
It’s been a LONG time since I did an outfit change on the go (most of the time I shoot at/around my home now) and so it felt very nostalgic when Dominika, Wendy and I were crammed into one TINY bathroom all changing outfits. Our bedrooms weren’t ready yet so we couldn’t use our rooms. It was hilarious and all of us felt a great sense of blogger camaraderie – ha!
When we had to change outfits for the second time a kindly man at the front desk took pity on us and let us use one of the hotel rooms to change in. I’m still very grateful to him for not putting us through a second round of ‘bathroom changing rooms’!
Did I mention that said bathroom was up the tiniest spiral staircase too?!
Once we were all ready, we headed out to the orchards . . . !
Day 2 | Part 2
Did you ever play that game when you were little on holiday, about ‘who can see the sea’ first?
Well, we were all a little bit like that when it came to spotting the orchards. Everyone on our trip was so excited to get a glimpse at the Pink Lady® orchards, and when we took a little road (off of many other little roads) with a sign post for ‘Pink Lady® ‘ we couldn’t wait.
The scene that met us was simply magical.
Rows and row of trees, their branches heavy with blushing apples, greeted us. The red fruit looked like jewels, and its a view I’ll never forget.
Pink Lady® apples are the first apple to blossom in the year, and the last to be harvested. This extra time in the sun gives the apples their special blush, sweeter crunch and wonderful fizz.
We learnt that all Pink Lady® apples are harvested by hand – a crazy fact to think of when we saw how many thousands of apples there were! The pickers have to work slowly and carefully so as not to bruise the apple. If it rains they have to wait two days before harvesting can begin again. We even gave the picking process a go ourselves. It was so fun to try the gentle rocking motion which allows the pickers to safely harvest the apples.
The way the rows of trees are orientated are all carefully considered, ensuring that all of the apples receive as many rays of sun as possible.
And once the apples have been picked, only the absolute best are given the seal of approval, marked as such by the Pink Lady® heart shaped sticker.
After a few hours at the orchard, we hopped into our minibus and headed back to Avignon. Bags bursting with freshly picked fruit, and camera rolls equally full with snaps of those red jewels.
In the evening we headed into Avignon for a spectacular meal which left us all rolling home.
What a day.
Our final day in Avignon was another travelling one. Our whole group took the opportunity to maximise our 12pm checkout with a leisurely lie-in, hefty breakfast and slow pace.
We’d all learnt so much during our trip about the Pink Lady® apples we were all there to celebrate, and made so many memories in the beautiful Avignon.
When we touched down again in London, I knew that it was a once in a lifetime trip, which I’ll always treasure the memories of.
Thank you Pink Lady® for sharing such a special harvest season with us!
What’s Your Take?
Are you a Pink Lady® fan super fan too?
And if so, how do you enjoy yours? I like mine sliced up with peanut butter, garnishing a drink or alone. Any which way – they’re delicious!
Love, Monica x
Photography by Wendy Gilmore and yours truly
This post was created in partnership with Pink Lady® apples.