Somewhere, deep in the heart of that region lies an ancient workshop that produces paint solely for the shutters and doors of Provence. The secretive craftsmen – some say they are les gnomes – work almost entirely in shades and shards of blue, from a secret recipe rumoured to comprise three parts sky and two parts sea, with rare dashes of rain-soaked limestone, passion flower and black grape.
Once, when the master mixer lay asleep, his apprentice mixed mountain greens and lavender blossom. Occasional shutters of fading lilac and aqua green can still be seen.
The magical artisans are in permanent dispute with the Bureaucracy of Provence whose edict demands that woodwork only be repainted when more than two thirds of the original has faded and flaked to the mistral wind.
It is, of course, a leisurely dispute, for nothing is hurried in heat of Provence.