Wednesday, June 30, 2010

a Cafe with a twist!

Our latest find in Banon, famed for its appellation controlled Goats cheese, which are  usually wrapped in Chestnut leaves 'Les Vins au Vert' a wine bar serving lunch for 11€.

The twist is the wine selection , over 150  wines from around the world, you simply choose from the shelf at exceptional prices ranging from 7€ upwards.

Highly recommend for initiative and something different - it's a pretty village too.

Monday, June 28, 2010

what did the Romans ever do for us!

Glanum lies just out side St Remy de Provence. 

It has some of the finest Roman structures outside Italy, dating to 6BC.

The village was abandoned in the 3rd Century when it was overrun by barbarians.

There are the remains of the market square, assembly rooms, a 'Spa' and gymnasium! and a wine store where smoke was used to preserve the wine.

Those Romans sure knew how to live.

This is part of the drainage system, hand carved from stone.

One of the baths which would have been covered from the sun.

With entrance at just 7€ this is a must do for everyone visiting the area.

More information is here

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Favourite Towns - St Remy de Provence

One of our favourite towns to visit, within an hours drive is St Remy de Provence, famous for its fountains, tree lined boulevards  and pretty squares .

Nostradamus was born here in 1503.

Van Gogh spent a year in the Asylum between St Remy & Glanum  where he painted over 150 canvasses including Starry Night, inspiring many artists.

There are many pretty streets to wander around.

And impressive  fountains to admire

Classically French buildings with classically French cars

Two lovely ladies enjoying this pretty square!

Karen and I , err well posing I guess!

another gorgeous street

Quintessentially French!

Village life

I am not sure how the French became so obsessed with their bread, suffice to say that nearly every village has at least one if not two Boulangeries. This is our favourite, right in the village with in walking distance, open everyday (except Monday) including Christmas day! with the best croissants and a wonderful selection of bread & pastries.  The French love their bread - as do we , at least a baguette every day.

Market day in the village, Tuesday, where you can buy wine, garlic, fish, vegetables, meat, clothes, gifts and  jewellery as demonstrated by Debbie

Oh yes and of course fabulous cheeses!

Monday, June 21, 2010

Happy Guests

Our visitors David & Judith, here for the second year running enjoy a glass of wine by the pool early evening with fellow guests from Montreal Michael & Anne.

Meanwhile we are hosting our good friends from Toronto Steve & Debbie, Steve I have been friends with for 32 years!. We are delighted they are here and to be spending some time showing them some of the gems of Provence.

Of course we start in our own village wandering around the back streets and up to the chateau

The ramperts leading to the chateau at the top of the village.

Saint Saturnin Les Apt - The best village in the Luberon!

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Favourite places

One of our favourite places to visit is Cassis, on the coast just under two hours drive from home.
The pretty harbour is surrounded by cafes and restaurants .

Wednesday is market day where you can buy local produce and Provencal gifts.

Our gite guests taking in the atmosphere.

And after lunch a snooze on the beach..............

Followed by an ice cream - they are the best!

And a meander round the back streets
And to end a great day , boule in Bandol.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Sisterly Love!

We are frequently asked how often we go back to England and do we see our family.
Well having her brother living in the South of France has it's appeal!
My sister, Gillian, four years older than me comes over at least twice a year usually in summer when we put her to work in the gardens (luckily weeding is one of her hobbies!).

Thankfully her husband Neil has similarly strange hobbies like woodwork and perfecting those little jobs that I like to avoid. What great visitors they always are. They are also active Olive Pickers in November.

Of course after a days work it's time to scrub up and go out for the evening, as this summers visit coincided with my birthday they treated us to dinner at Coquillade. I really like this kind of visitor!

And another supper out, at one of our favourite restaurants in the village L'Estrade , joining us friends of Gillian's Kevin & Marion who were staying in one of our gites for the week. 

I am particularly proud of my sister as she is trekking up Kilimanjaro for charity later this month and has so far raised over £6200. 

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Happy Birthday to me!

My birthday last week was the perfect opportunity to experience another restaurant, this time courtesy of my sister and brother in law. One of two 'boutique' hotels in the area is 'The Domaine La Coquillade', just outside Saint Saturnin les Apt , it has 28 rooms and two restaurants, and of course a stunning swimming pool.

The Restaurant 'le Gourmet' was superb, with menus starting at 46€ , we would highly recommend it for a special occassion.

Why not choose to stay in one of our gites where you can enjoy our pool, comfort and hospitality at a fraction of the price! and you you can then easily afford dinner at Coquillade!

The changing garden

We are delighted that some of our clients, or should I say friends as they are becoming are revisiting this year and appreciating the changes that have taken place in the  garden.

This Lavender was planted last June


And look how it has changed.

One of the biggest changes though is the areas either side of our drive and in front of our house which we seeded in the Autumn. The above  picture was taken a year ago today.

And this is how it looks today.

Both the olive and fruit trees are becoming quite established.

And the poppies have been spectacular.