Friday, December 19, 2014

A fun and gourmet week in Provence

If you want to avoid the hassle of organising your stay in Provence, I highly recommend  joining one of the tour I escort/guide with France... off the Beaten Path (Best Adventures in Provence Tour).

1 - Firstly you'll have the pleasure to spend every day with me (including most of the dinners).!!! lol
2 - You wont have to worry about deciding where to go and what to skip since we've made the choices for you.
3 - No driving involved (well I mean, no risk of getting lost in the middle of nowhere and gettting right to the point). Just seat back in our dedicated Merdeces Sprinter 19 seater van with leather seats and enjoy the view).
4 - We've selected the best of the region for you which I call the "Readers Digest condensed version of Provence" with Market, hill top villages, sea side wine growing village with a short cultural cruise, picnic in the country side, Michelin star bistrots and restaurants, cooking class, a hearty wine allowance, visit of an Olive mill.... And some of the nicest walks for you to loose all those calories..
5 - Plenty of history about Provence, our traditions, how wine is made....  But not done by "historian teachers" (see what I mean?).
6 - Plenty of fun.
7 - No packing and unpacking since you will be staying at one of our favourite hotel in St Remy for the whole trip.
8 - Small group filled with fun people with whom you'll mingle with pleasure and become fast friend with (just learned yesterday that one of guests Claire will be spending New Years in Hong Kong with  another guests Mary who she met on one our September Provence tour).

I could go on forever but instead I prefer to add some pics of some of our groups. I have to admit that making a selection was pretty hard....

On  a 2000 years old Roman bridge

One of the walk

 No comment

Fashion Week in Provence

Meeting with Van Gogh in St Remy (I do wonderful tour of the hospital!)

Not to forget the Lavender, should you come in June/July


Meeting with the locals...

Love Moments

On our boat trip the Captain can be very nice

Other fun moments.
picnic under the pine trees

Cooking classs

 Meet our Dedicated driver Philippe Number 2

And my wild co guide David

I had to finish with a pic of me with my Fan club....

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Saint Remy de Provence Christmas spirit

As every second Saturday of December, St Remy was hosting the "Fêtes des lumières" last Saturday 13th December.

Christmas spirit everywhere. Shops are staying open late and offers a drink (mulled wine), the restaurant L'Aile ou la Cuisse was offering a very good glass of Chablis, Jazz or music bands were performing in the old streets, locals placed candles in their window frames.
We didnt book out our restaurant (I wanted to try one I hadnt been in ages and as I was a bit disapointed, I'm not going to talk about it) and we nearly didnt get a table....

Next big "happening" is the Christmas market, known as the "Petit Marché du grand soupé"(i.e. the little market of the big supper, meaning christmas eve dinner)
Friday 19th until Sunday 21st December on the main square by the Church.

Now some pics of our Saturday night outing in St Remy.....

The Circle Road of St Remy around the old Village

Rue de La Commune St Remy de Provence

Jazz Band at Pizza Aldo

Town Hall square in St Remy

Windows light

Another Jazz band in the Rue Estrine

Back of the Musée des Alpilles

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Saint Remy de Provence in winter time

We are pretty lucky with the weather this year and had a pretty cool fall with mild temperature (in the 70s throughout Oct and the 50/60s in Nov).
I love my St Remy during this time of the year. It's getting quieter, easier to park in the very centre but still full of fun, things to do and nice pics to take.
Here are a few pictures to give you an idea.

Thursday November 13th 2014

Same day 7pm on the Route de Tarascon

Wednesday 19th November 2014 at 10 am by my house

Market day in St Remy on Wednesday December 10th 2014

Monday, December 8, 2014

A day in the Luberon :after Oppedes MENERBES

Driving from Oppedes, Menerbes is clearly signposted and is located about 10mn drive.
Roads are narrow and bendy but usually not much traffic. One of the perfect scenic road where to stop and shoot the perfect pictures of true Provence.

Reaching Ménerbes, look out to the left when the road is going down and you'll have a perfect view  of the Village (sorry looks like I cant find the pictures I took).

Arriving in the village from Oppede, drive through the village and you'll see a nice free car park to your left as you exit the village.

You are now in Peter Mayle's country ! He has now moved out and lives nearby Aix if I remember correctly.

Ménerbes is a cute village to stroll around.

From the car park, go back to the village.
Pass this wonderful building to your left
Main building at the entrance of Ménerbes

Follow the main street and the second street on your right (going down). Stop at the bakery for a little home made cookie. At the bottom of the street, look to the left at the church whose religious cross and sculpture were destroyed during French Revolution. The Church is usually closed but still fonctionning. Take now the street on your right going up.You have now reached the  Town Hall square. Smashing view over the Valley under the arches to your right and the nice Truffle museum and wine cellar in front of you.
In the Truffle museum you can get to learn a bit more about this mushroom, buy some truffle or just enjoy the terrasse of the restaurant. The place offer a lunch menu around 26€ and a truffle menu around 45€.
The garden is a must for me, for the view and the superb iron sculpture of a woman.
In the bassment a wine shop where you can taste many of the local wines, preferably rosé to my taste.

The truffle museum

The garden of the Truffle musuem

In the Garden of the Truffle museum

Partake one of the many Rosé wine from the Luberon in the cooperative shop

View of the Valley from Menerbes

Now make your way back and do not miss one of the nicest Renaissance building in front of you to your left.
Take now the street to your left.
You will soon pass by Dora Marr's house. She was one of the many Picasso girl friend and they moved together to Ménerbes after WWII in 1945. He went on to a new girl friend but she decided to spend the rest of her life until she died in the late 90s.
Artists' residence I believe the house is now for sale.

A bit further down, you'll see the ruins of the Castle. Rebuilt in the 16thC after the protestant lost the place, the castle is now a private property not opened for visit.

Notice the old Post Office from the 19th C to your right (building with red shutters).
The tiny paved street in front of you will take you back to the main street.
Do not miss the lovely "going down street" to your left at the end.

On your way to the car park stop at the Lavoir, one of the most magnificient "Wash house" that is really nicely preserved.

Ménerbes :
Allow approx 45mn to an hour
- Stroll the street
- Stop by at the Truffle musuem and wine cellar

Restaurant recommendation :
- at the truffle museum
- Light snack available by the car park. Not really fancy or exceptionnal but I love the quietness of the place and its view. Frequent change of ownership (last one in May 2014)

Snack or drink in Ménerbes