Friday, December 26, 2014

perfect boxing day walk

A simple hours walk from home taking in the village, the windmill, then up to the reservoir, behind the chateau, and back down to the village and home.  Views that we never tire of. 

One smart pussy cat!

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

A little taste of Christmas

IIt's Christmas Eve, first stop to the Boulangerie to collect the bread order. It's a busy day with lots of pre orders especially for the buche de Noel, pictured below. Some people have larger orders than others!

Then down to Le Clerc where we buy our fish, the traditional Christmas Eve dinner comprises of a sea food platter notably shell fish with oysters, prawns, crab, smoked salmon and Bulot

Fresh crab and lobster `s, we witnessed one on the floor making an escape - yes they are still alive At this stage!

The tradition in Provence is to take 13 desserts, small, like a tasting menu, whilst on Christmas day after the traditional dinner its the buch de Noël , although I confess we will be going for a traditional Christmas pudding from the UK

And finally a kiss under the mistletoe! Happy Cristmas !

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Luberon Valley

Driving to Marseiile airport this morning I couldn't resist stopping to picture the mist in the valley. In the sun on our terrace it was 13 degrees whilst on the road between Joucas and Gordes just 3degrees. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Sunday, December 21, 2014

It's beginning to feel like Christmas!

Despite clear skies and unseasonal warm sunshine the decorations are up in the village

Thursday, December 04, 2014

Lunch on a winters day

Autumn has been a tad gloomy in Provence this year with frequent rainy days and unusually mild temperatures. We have missed the normal cold crisp days and blue skies.
But with such fine restaurants as Le Bistrot de Lagarde open there are worse ways to cheer one self up and meet friends!

Low clouds linger in the valley whilst the Lavender looks quite different to its summer spectacle.

Exquisitely executed food is served here, the mixed entrees are a great way to start, then we had balls stuffed with banon goats cheese served on a lovely salad, followed by this excellent dish of prime cod served with a carrot risotto, ginger and foam.

Le Bistrot de Lagarde won a well deserved Michelin star this year, the couple who run it, 
Lloyd Tropeano and his wife Laetitia are passionate about the food and service. 

A simple yet tasty dessert of rhubarb tart.
The lunch menu starts at 23€ for three courses or there is the a la carte starting at 38€. Excellent local wines from chateau Eydin start at 9€ for a half litre pichet.

The restaurant will be closed from 14th december until mid March for a well earned break, make sure you book in advance for next year!
What ever the weather you`ll be smiling when you experience the food, value and service at Le  bistrot de lagarde 

Monday, December 01, 2014

Visit the Carrières de Lumières before its too late!

Just outside Les Baux de Provence this quarry is the home to an annual display of amazing images set against wonderful music. 
The sequence takes about 30 minutes with the images covering the walls and floors creating a carpet of colour. 
This  years subject is Vienna and the artist Klimt. 
The show runs until January 4th when it closes to prepare for the next exhibition. 
If you have never experienced this show it's a real must do when in Provence, do take a cardigan though at its 15 degrees inside year round. entrance for adults is 10€.
The are further images and information here

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Fontaine du Vaucluse

The source of the river sorgue is beneath a 230 metre high cliff face, it is the biggest spring in France and the fifth largest in the world with an annual flow of 630 million Cubic metres.

 Strangely where the water exits at the source, it appears calm and yet it soon gathers pace and power.

Beautifully clear water cascades towards the village.

After recent rain fall the water is flowing at 28M3 per second, thats enough to fill our swimming pool in under four seconds - just imagine that!

Whether summer or winter its a village worth visiting despite the 4 euro parking charge and some rather tacky shops on the route to the source.

Thursday, November 06, 2014

Olive Harvest - no rich pickings this year!

I always remember the fist year we picked Olives at Les Cypres, we turned up at the mill with one large bucket weighing 9kilos. Believe me we were at the back of the queue at the weigh in.

A perfect Autumn day for picking. 

Over the years our crops have increased , 49, 74 and then a mammoth 250 kilos - at which time we were warmly welcomed at the mill and considered one of the locals!

The happy team, Deb in green, Karen in beige and Gene in blue.
(note Kevin & Marion - good year not to come, collection bags still in use)
Since then the crop has varied, another year with 250, back to 110 and then last year around 230.

This years rather mottly pickings

This year we no longer have Les Cypres so have lost half our crop. Worse still a mild and damp winter, an excessively hot June then less warm July & August has played havoc with the crop, half the olives have fallen to the ground already, they are over ripe and a worm inside! lovely, so the upside , a couple of hours picking with our house guardians Deb & Gene , and a mere 11 kilos to the mill which will give us 2 litres of oil! Normally we have between 20 and 45 litres so the salads will be a little dryer next year! 
Take note - this is not just happening here in the Luberon, its much of Southern France, Spain is also suffering a terrible crop caused by draught so Olive oil prices will rise - buy now - buy quality - but use it within a year.

At the weigh in! disappointing 

Autumn colours are compensation!

Sunday, November 02, 2014

Where did that month go?

Well thats the fastest October I can remember! Our season finished a week earlier than normal so we took advantage of the continued warm Autumn weather heading off to Nice for a long weekend which was wonderful, no end of season in sight there! it was humming with tourists from all over the world!

 Promenade des Anglais in Nice 

There are so many fabulous buildings

The fountains in the parc are great fun - night and day!

The port is home to many super yachts and fine restaurants.

In Saint Paul de vence 

Saint Paul de Vence on a wetter day! still colourful!