Have you ever been to Provence? Go. I mean it. You really should.
I have had an on off love affair with France since I was 16 and attended “EF language school” in St. Raphael, as I do happen to think French is the most beautiful language in the world (not too far behind comes Italian as my second favorite).
At the time I loved everything French, and I had dreams of emigrating as soon as I was out of school. However, I came to the sudden and abrupt conclusion that my French period was over, when I very nearly failed my French exam when I was 19. This despite nearly 5 (!) years of French at school, one summer with a French family in Frejus/ Cotes D’azur and another period with another family in Aix Les Baines. There was no getting around it. I was really RELLY bad at French.
I went back several years later when I was inter-railing in Europe. Still, useless at French. I soon forgot about France and my dreams of a tres bien French life, when life progressed at University in England where wine was replaced with beer.
This time around I seem to be more confident and mature in realizing that I can love France without actually having to “be French” (although I still tend to whisper or squeak in shops, afraid they’ll catch me out as a foreigner : “Excusez-moi, un baguette s’il vous plai. Merci. Au reviour Madame..“).
I have walked, talked and dined with my babies and friends, playing La Vie en rose (Edith Piaf) in my head, and savored the simple delights in life.
Exploring the quirks and charms of the village of Lorgues and the city of Aix en Provence and Chateau de Berne has been refreshing. And I had to giggle to myself watching the French people on the cobble streets, in the cafes, in the shops, at the airport as they ALL look like characters from the movies! French people ooze charm and character.
Bottom photo: Some old-folk flirting going on maybe?
Food is one of the great passions of the French people, and also in the Provence region. So, like the famous saying “when in France do as the French” (yes Mum, I know it was Rome…) we focused our attention on Food during our five days in France. To be fair, our focus was – Food & Babies – as we had three sweet, yet demanding maskots in tow wherever we wined and dined.
And this one? She seems to enjoy the heat. Although not impressed with the whole pool business.
We started each day defining, planning and preparing for the next meal. Mornings: Espresso, baguette and croissants and locally produced apricot jam. Le dejeuner: Antipasti at Chateau de Berne? Mussles in Aix en Provence? Cheese? White wine? Rose? You name it. We had it all.
French cooking is highly refined and involves careful preparation, attention to detail, and the use of fresh ingredients. Fromageries are filled with smelly cheese that zing in your mouth, patisseries with rows of beautifully decorated pastry, boucheries with lamp chops, sausages and potatoes made crispy from dripping, and Maitres chocolatiers with its small pieces of delicious art. The best part is that these small delicate shops are all placed in a convenient row on a charming cobblestone street, in old buildings with various colorful shutters. Perfect right?
Its been tres magnifique, and I can´t wait to show my family France and Provence sometime in the near future (this is where I might pass out from mere excitement. WOW! Think about it, the five of us maybe staying at a wine castle someday?! Oui merci!). ..and until then: à bientôt France. Je t’aime, again.
Lots of time for Mum & Baby cuddles
La cuisine, c’est quand les choses ont le goût de ce qu’elles sont. : Fine cooking is when the things you have cooked taste as they are. – Curnonsky.