knititations.typepad.com > Sara's trip to Provence

I spent a dreamy week in the south of France with my fellow French classmate Eileen from Sept. 25 - Oct. 3. Here are a sampling of my photos taken in the region around Arles and Aix-en-Provence. Click on the thumbnails below to enter the album. Click "next" to view each photo with description in sequence.

Museum d'Arlatan

Museum d'Arlatan

The most boring thing we did all week. We just could not go into museums. It was too beautiful outside.


Place Van Gogh

Place Van Gogh

Arles' favorite sons: Vincent Van Gogh, Christian LaCroix, Hemmingway perhaps..........
Our greatest challenge on the whole trip was standing still long enough to get this photo, because there had erupted the most horrendous infestation of Camargue mosquitos and within about 3 seconds we were covered with the little bloodsuckers.


Fromagier

Fromagier

I think it might not be so bad to have high cholesteral and die of a heart attack when I see this sort of display. But wait, the red wine prevents that sort of thing, right?


Waiting to Exhale

Waiting to Exhale

Make that recipe "Chicken with 4,000 cloves of garlic." Get carried away!


Paella Man

Paella Man

The exotic influences on this region of France are intoxicating, despite the Muslim undertones that can cause a mixed emotion in the outsider. The Moroccan couscous, the Bouillabaisse from nearby Marseille, the Spanish paella......they are all rocking the place with their perfume, color, satisfaction quotient. I could not help but wonder how a NY City Health Inspector would react to seeing shellfish being cooked al fresco like this.


Petit Chevre Mousselin

Petit Chevre Mousselin

This jolly fellow was collecting funds for some sort of Humane Society. I fell for the goat. In return for a handful of centimes in his box, he posed for me with Mousselin. Thank goodness I came to my senses before I bought a 30Euro box of mints.


Epices 1

Epices 1

What is missing from this picture? Me in my apron. The surge of desire to cook (a phenomena becoming more and more rare lately) nearly burst me when I saw this display (etalage) of spices at the Arles market. I had to take many shots.


Epices 2

Epices 2

In the foreground are some herbal tissanes or emulsions, including a bowl full of tilleul (linden). I thought that was wonderful, as we were on our way to the Chambre d'Hote called Sous le Tilleul in Aix.


Epices 3

Epices 3

The vendors before their wonderful wares. See the heap of lavendar blossoms? It must be so labor-intensive packing and unpacking every day in a different market. The vendors seem not to care about that. Each vendor has such pride in their specific products.


Epices 4

Epices 4

Sorry, I get carried away.


Place d'Arene

Place d'Arene

The little streets fan out from the Arena like the spokes of a wheel. You would imagine it would be grossly touristy, but it is NOT. Sure, you see a few cameras hanging from the necks of some espresso-sippers and in the morning the place is filthy with groups of comfortable-shoed tourists. Late afternoon, when most people have gone back to the hotel to soak their feet, the streets are warmed from a day of sunshine and few tourists remain.


Another shot in front of Arena

Another shot in front of Arena

There I am! Pinch me! What's that schmatte tied around my bod? Another car-less street. Another amazing late summer day.


Place d'arene

Place d'arene

I almost deleted this photo from this album, but I really like the compostion, the angle of the steps adjoining the bulk of the two structures on either side. The blue shutters, which are the same shade as the sky exactly, just made me decide it is a keeper. That's Eileen standing there. Where is my paintbox?


Thanks, stranger

Thanks, stranger

We actually got one picture of the two of us together.


Jardin cache

Jardin cache

At first I was frustrated by the metal gate impeding my picture. Now somehow I find it an interesting contrast. Rosemary, Lavendar, Dracaena (2 kinds), Passion vine, possibly some Alium. Understated, very nice.


Passion flower vine

Passion flower vine

This vine is associated somehow with the crucifiction of Christ. If you need to know more, Google it, I can't give you any of the specfic details of the symbolism. I can say that you don't see a 25 foot high specimen like this climbing up just any wall. It is a marvel to see.


Shopping for une nappe at Place d'Arene

Shopping for une nappe at Place d'Arene

How many jacquard tableclothes are there in all of Provence? I lie awake at night thinking perhaps there were one or two we didn't actually get to see. OK, I did buy one in very bright colors. As Eileen pointed out, I did have 26 years of pent-up French shopping to do. Can't argue with the truth.


The Roman Arena

The Roman Arena

Sheer architecture. Severe clear day. What a photo op.


La bicyclette

La bicyclette

A street with no cars. How can it exist in the modern world? I loved seeing this bike emerging from the doorway. It's another world.


Chambres des Bonnes

Chambres des Bonnes

Reading Zola there are always all these "bonnes" (hired help) who are dismissed to their dismal rooms under the eaves. Nowadays with the hot real estate market, these small garrett rooms are highly prized by students and the like.


Biere at cafe terrasse

Biere at cafe terrasse

Eileen and I stopped for a refreshment and to rest our feet. I can't believe I was drinking beer in the middle of the day. It washed down some wonderful tapenade on croutes.


Corner Detail

Corner Detail

In Arles somewhere........


Window view 2

Window view 2

Stepped back slightly so the view is framed by those wonderful french windows.


View from Nord Pinus room

View from Nord Pinus room

The Grand Hotel Nord-Pinus was well situated on the Place du Forum. This is the view out our window. I love how the vines have grown up around the antenna forming a little elf hat peak. The sky is so beautiful.


Eygalieres

Eygalieres

This one of the places made popular by the "Year in Provence" mania. The Brits have bought up the place and your heap of rocks can run you in the 3-4 million Euro range. Lots of wobbly expats riding their bikes down the cobbles with baguettes poking out their paniers. But soooooo pretty!


Little street in Eygalieres

Little street in Eygalieres

Why didn't anyone tell me how unflattering those flood pants are?


Rooftops

Rooftops

Big bumps in the distance


Maison de charme

Maison de charme

Eygalieres is just a beautiful place, very chic and very cher.


The Elf

The Elf

This is the little car we drove, standard transmission. So mignon! We both loved driving it. Those rotaries in France are crazy.


Domaine de Valdition

Domaine de Valdition

We came upon this vinyard on the Route d'Eygalieres. They offered tastings of both wine and olive oil. We bought some of each. The lavendar garden was lovely too.


Street Scene

Street Scene

Everything is just the right scale in these little villages.


Cave

Cave

We took this one for Eileen's husband Danny. Word has it he can go into as many wine shops in France as Eileen and I can go into.....whatever other kind of shops there are.


More flowers!

More flowers!

This just looks fake, doesn't it? How can it be so beautiful, all day, every day?


Arty shot

Arty shot

In Isles-sur-Sorgue, a town built on lots of little canals, there is a huge antiques market on Sundays. We missed that, but still enjoyed a sunny stroll along the streets. I loved the curve of this table leg, amid a bunch of other bricolage in this window display.


Cepage rouge

Cepage rouge

The urge to pick.......


Cepage

Cepage

The "vendage" or grape harvest in France had for the most part already taken place a week or two before our visit. However, there were still some fruits left on fields we passed. Here is one variety, don't know its name.


Boried yet?

Boried yet?

Well, they had to clear the fields somehow!


Borie Village

Borie Village

These piled rock dry-stone dwellings were supposedly date back to the 13th century. They have been compared to the igloo in their construction method.


Marie-christine avec ami

Marie-christine avec ami

This was the most loving cat I've ever met. Look at the sweet expression on M-C's face.


Upper salon

Upper salon

Eat your heart out, Ralph Lauren! This is the real thing.


Chambre de lit (bedroom)

Chambre de lit (bedroom)

French doors leading to a little terrace.


Salon

Salon

Just for the record.


Petit Dejeuner Ici

Petit Dejeuner Ici

This little sun-filled room is where Marie-Christine served us breakfast. One morning I slathered my tartine with fresh fig conserve, which she had cooked from the figs growing in the rear garden.


Marie-Christine in Salon

Marie-Christine in Salon

I wish I had gotten a picture of her the night before in her tres chic party clothes.


Still life

Still life

This little arrangement was just one of the details created by our delightful hostess Marie-Christine in her Chambre d'Hote in Aix, Sous le Tilleul (Under the Linden Tree). We were overwhelmed by the experience.


P'tte Rue

P'tte Rue

Try fitting yer ding-dang SUV down this here street, Mr. Bush!!!


Looking for a Herald

Looking for a Herald

Eileen is under the big umbrella looking for the International Herald Tribune. I can't recall the name of the church and momument in the background.


Flower Market

Flower Market

No caption required


Plus de fleurs

Plus de fleurs

Fruits, vegies, all go into the bouquet


Fleurs

Fleurs

One of the squares in Aix is all flower vendors. The customers take their flower purchases very seriously, mulling over which stems to choose. The vendors are accomodating, and pluck each stem patiently, then display the accumulated bouquet as each addition is made. There is something just exhilerating about seeing people walking through the market carrying huge paper cones overflowing with flowers, a few baguettes tucked under the elbow, still having the dexterity to gesticulate.


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