Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Fantastic September Weather

Another perfect September morning , yesterday the shade temperature hit 28.5 degrees on the 23 rd not bad and forecast settled for the rest of the month. 

What a great month to visit Provence!

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Our Mini Break

We absolutely love where we live but just now and again its nice to get away. Our second favourite place in the world is a small beach and restaurant on the Cote D`Azur.

And so probabaly for the last time this summer we headed off at Sun rise for the three hour trip to paradise!


On the beach just after 10am, no children the holidays are over for them just peace and quiet apart from the sound of the med lapping at your toes.

Karen in her beach wear - A little  crochet number I made earlier

The pontoon style restaurant  sits over the water, there are 'two sittings' due to demand, we always go to the first and stay into the second! Its the best sea food anywhere, Prawns, Sea Bream or you can push the boat out and have either Bouillabaisse or Lobster.

With our good friends Paul & Anne awaiting lunch, on one of the best tables adjacent to the water's edge.

A simple platter of prawns and potatoes with garlic oil and tomatoes.

The salad niçoise is perfect, and just 10.50€

This is the Bouillabaisse, a fish stew, a dish that originated from Marseilles.

Simple cooking the bouillabaisse simmers to perfection.

Michel has been the chef for too many years and sadly retires this year but a new chef is being trained up for next years season.

Our big fish - John Dory (St Pierre) not pretty but very, very, tasty.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

A day on the South side of the Luberon

Friends are staying in Les Oliviers who, like us, have a Mazda MX5 and we usually take a day to explore together.
Karen planned the route leaving St Saturnin for Apt and then the D900 to Cereste.
From here we took the twisty road over the Luberon where there are views towards the Southern Alps.
First stop is La tour d'Aigues, the town has lots of history and in the centre is the former chateau now used for summer concerts.

From here we headed to Ansouis, a very pretty village looked down upon by a grand chateau, which was recently sold for 6 million Euros. Here is the church, which has a delightful interior.

Next stop is Cucuron, perfect place for a coffee around the central Bassin, this was shown in the film 'A good year' starring Russell Crowe.

Under time pressure now for our lunch rendevous in Lauris, again another lovely village worthy of stopping. 

The restaurant is a real hidden gem, booking essential and probably the best value lunch you will find in Provence.

The starter is a simple seasonal salad served in a large bowl to share.

Then comes a plate of charcuterie

Monday lunchtime and the restaurant is full!

Simple, generous & tasty - salmon 

A delicious tender chicken breast

And then a cheese platter to help your self to. 

Desserts followed including home made Tarte Tatin - the price includes wine and coffee - how much ? That's our secret!

And finally to Domaine Verrerie in Puget sur Durance to buy some wine and then back home via Lourmarin, over the Luberon and into Apt.

Sunday, September 08, 2013

Another great meal at L`Estrade

Most of our gite clients will have eaten at least once at L`Estrade where Anne Laurence produces great home cooked cuisine in a very small kitchen, supported this year by Natalie whilst Gaelle keeps the clients happy out front ;

The cosy inside is always fun allowing you to meet and chat with fellow diners, whilst the terrace is perfect for lunch or those warm summer nights.

We particularly like the fact they change the menu almost daily. 

Marseilles European city of Culture 2013

Marseilles is a wonderful, varied, vibrant and colourful city. It is easy to navigate and park.

Fine buildings overlook the entrance to the Port, the one at the top was occupied by Napoleon.

The top picture shows one of the buildings in the 'Mucem' which opened in June of this year as part of the celebrations of Marseilles being the European city of culture. At the top are great views of the Cathederal La Major, one of the largest in the world.

The Museum of European and Mediterranean Civilisations (Musée des civilisations de l’Europe et de la Méditerranée — MuCEM) is a groundbreaking project for the Mediterranean region of the 21st century. This national museum is located on a 30,000m2 site, which includes the Fort Saint-Jean, a historic monument overlooking the Vieux-Port dating back to the 12thcentury, and a new building designed by architect Rudy Ricciotti on the J4 esplanade. The two buildings are linked by a footbridge. The MuCEM is a cultural venue that focuses on all human sciences. It presents different forms of artistic expression from around the Mediterranean Basin.

Great photographic opportunities!

Marseilles has so many fountains and buildings to explore
Modern architecture at its best.

The interior corridor. 
And the contrast - beautiful facades and shutters.

Notre-dame-de-la-garde overlooks the vieux Port.

The art exhibition at Palais Longchamp runs to 13th October with exhibits by van Gogh, Matisse, Bonnard, Cezanne & Renoir to name but a few.

The new Norman Foster structure in the vieux Port allows you to take a look at yourself!