Wednesday, July 27, 2011

walking holidays?

If walking is your interest then this publication is a must - available in the boulangerie and Tabac there are 20 walks starting from various points in Saint Saturnin Les Apt

Number 12 starts just outside the village, starting with some impressive prehistoric caves.

Interesting for both adults and children, the caves are amazing.

You need a good map reader!

The air is so clean and clear - obvious by this lichen growing on the trees.

We have driven across this bridge on route to Sault but never got amongst the land as you do when walking.

At over 500 metres we reach the peak of the walk, our Finnish friends Eero, Anti & Erika - Anu on photography!

Our pace setters Karen & Anu

On the route home with spectacular views of the Luberon with Roussillon in the foreground
And after, the reward for our efforts a picnic! 
A perfect way to start a Sunday in Provence.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Our New Dance Floor!

Now many people think Saint Saturnin Les Apt is a sleepy Provencal village, and for much of the year it is!
However in August we, like most French villages have our Fete Votive.
It is basically a village party, with seriously professional bands, gambling tables, bar etc and of course dancing.
It takes place the first weekend  and starts at 10 p.m., and finishes at 2 am on three consecutive nights  (Friday, Saturday & Sunday, )

Since January building work has been taking place to enlarge the surface  area, just for these three nights. It has been a huge feat of engineering and at goodness knows what cost.

Thank fully an enlarged workforce have come on stream this week for the final push and suddenly it looks like the new esplanade as they are calling it might just be finished in time!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Strange goings on in the village this morning!

The village square was closed to traffic this morning and Claude was singing his heart out accompanied by the Patrick the Accordionist!

We were not aware that the 5th stage of this  famous running race through France was pausing in our village! (nor were that many others by the look of it!)

On a more serious note, the race started on the 16th july and finishes two weeks later .Each stage is about 200 kilometers per day, starting with breakfast of course! which is why they were in St Saturnin , and then dinner in the evening.
Accommodation in village halls is included - tempting..........

Even we need a break!

We are now more than half way through our season, the first clients arrived in early April and the last currently leave late November.

So we took off for a mini break! it turned out to be less than a mini break, in fact one day on the beach and one day in Aix but none the less it was fun.

Heading off early and over the Luberon heading South.....

Past the Sun flower fields

And to the sea in less than three hours 

Not much space left by lunchtime, the beach is just out side Le Lavandou.
cooler in the shade!

Lunch at Chez Jo, it is so popular at has two sittings every day.

Amazingly over night the clouds rolled in and we woke to rain which became torrential for several hours creating an interesting drive to Aix, which we almost abandoned in favour of heading home . However, no sooner had we arrived in Aix, the clouds parted and the sun came out.

One of four fountains, this one at the top of the Cours Mirabeau keeps drivers cool as they queue (I just managed to get a break in the traffic which was at a standstill later in the day)

The streets just meander on and on and there is a great selection of individual boutiques, artisan shops  restaurants, galleries etc but for me I just love the characterful  buildings like this dry cleaners.

The Cours Mirabeau, 42 metres wide and 440 metres long , lined with Plane trees and dating to 1650 when it cost £100,000 to build.
Now the street to Promenade in, take a coffee or beer in Les Deux Garçons and people watch.
Go and enjoy!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Cats and things

These pictures are totally unrelated, I just wanted to share them!
We have three cats, and I caught Ginger napping recently, awaiting aperos in the pool house.

This classic vehicle was at the Vide Grenier last week, it is so characterful.
It is July, it is Fig season! fresh off our tree. Delicious with honey & whisky!

Bastille Day - July 14th 2011

The day before Bastille day was dampened by torrential rain and thunderstorms, unusual for July.
However it dried up for the evening market in the village.
At around 10 pm a procession went through the village with children carrying lanterns and a band playing some rousing music!
And then, starting at 11 pm, a live band playing in the village square.
Bastille Day, a Mistral wind has blown away the clouds and the sun is shining......
The village traditionally holds a Vide Grenier, and it attracts a huge crowd, this is the road, Chemin de Romanet, normally quiet with no cars!
All the streets are lined with stalls selling everything you can imagine!
some of it quality , some of it, well to one's personal taste!
I must be losing my negotiation skills - I attempted to buy two teapots from one seller - the lady wanted 8€, I offered 5€, No, I increased to 6€, still no, the ladies husband suggested she compromise at 7€, and still the lady said no! so I bought some rather nice vegetable dishes instead for my 7€! Principle really - and I don't drink tea!

All the local commerce's are open to serve all the extra customers - its a great atmosphere.
Our Boulangerie, one of two in the village,  has a wonderful choice of bread.
July 14th 2012 will be on a Saturday - time to book next years holiday and enjoy the fun!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Les Lavendes, c'est magnifique!

As reliable as the sun rising, each June & July we are blessed with a magnificent display of Lavender, less than 30 minutes drive away , with the imposing back drop of Mont Ventoux the village of Sault is surrounded by fields of Lavender.

An amazing back drop to this Provencal village.

This year the dry spring has created particularly strong colours.

A picture paints a thousand words!


And so what happens to the Lavender- it is cut by machine, tied by hand and sold the world over...
These bunches are being dried.
And in contrast with the lavender the fields of Barley
create an amazing foreground to the mighty giant Ventoux!

adjacent, another field of Lavender!
In Sault ,Daniel  Mathieu , a well known local artist has captured the local scenery beautifully together with some great abstract paintings - do go and see.
If you would like to experience the Lavender book now for 2012!