WHEN I ANNOUNCED AT A recent Left Bank dinner party that I was leaving for the south of France the next morning, I was met by a chorus of doubt. “Why go to Provence in the middle of winter?” the other guests demanded. It took a fellow food-lover to enlighten the table: “You’re going for the truffles!” she correctly guessed. “But what will you do between meals now that everything’s closed?”
Plenty, as it turned out. Provence, one of France’s most popular destinations for its lovely old villages, open-air markets and fields of lavender, is every bit as alluring during the leafless months as it is during the summer.