Friday, July 29, 2011

it's the little things

We visited the hilltop town of Menerbes two days ago. And no, we didn't try to track down Peter Mayle's house {author of A Year In Provence} although I totally understand why he settled there...

We wandered the laneways and came across this gorgeous little place l'atelier.

Oh my.

Inside were all manner of pretty things, two teeny tables and four chairs. And a menu.

We had to.

This is the pretty floral salad that accompanied our plates of meats: home-made duck rillettes, pate en croute, terrine and yummy french air-dried ham.

Was it followed by three scoops of home-made icecream, served in a pretty jar, topped with chantilly cream, flowers and thin slivers of toasted almonds? With raspberries, strawberries and delicate kisses of meringue? Why yes it was. Was it heaven on a spoon? OH YES IT WAS.

We did not walk out empty-handed. We bought gorgeous floral coffee bowls, ceramic spoons to match, a cast-iron trivet in the shape of a heart, a cute lil jug and a jar of homemade confit de rose petales {rose jelly!}. That's what holidays are for. Once in a lifetime experiences that seem made just for you.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

gordes: provence

Another pretty provencal town full of gorgeous sights. 

Cuteness outside the café where we had a delicious lunch.

The view of Gourdes from afar. Breathtaking isn't it?

The church was just delightful. The exterior was very simple, but inside it was filled with delicate colours, gorgeous iconic statutory - and this pretty altar. The history, when you come from a new country like Australia, is awe-inspiring.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

l'isle sur la sorgue

We've found a most magical place in Provence. Last night, for dinner, we checked out L'isle sur la Sorgue. Oh my. Gorgeous by day, at twilight it's sublime.

We found this menu - with three courses for 17 euros - no, not a misprint. We took a table by the canal and waited for our choices to arrive.

Goat cheese and fig paste wrapped in crispy pastry on a bed of salad with a balsamic and honey glaze. One of the best things I've ever eaten. Main was steak on a bed of fresh tagliatelle with a cream and peppercorn sauce. Delish - and gobbled up too quickly to photograph.

Chocolate fondant with crispy almonds and a salted caramel sauce - I know - STOP IT! And what if I said it tasted even better than it looked?

Strolling down here afterwards to walk off the three courses and 5 euro pitchet of rosé - sounds mighty fine to me. Look at that sky - no photoshopping here - it really was that incredible midnight blue.


Tuesday, July 26, 2011

our new home in provence

Here are a few shots of the exterior of our new house in Provence - just a rental - we haven't bought it!

This is where we're staying this week, and yes, it's just as pretty inside as out. Think beams, stone walls, armoires and more. Interior shots to come - stay tuned.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

abundance in provence

So much prettiness in Provence. Everywhere you look there's something else to delight your visual senses. I've been relatively restrained with my shopping - although open a bag, any bag, and you'll be assaulted with the sweet scent of lavender...

This busker got a lot of Euros from the kids. And he deserved it, playing with a cat draped over his shoulders. Bless.

I fell truly, madly, deeply in love with these massive sacs of herbs and spices. If it weren't our last day over in that side of provence I would have bought up big.

And oh, the deep purple provencal garlic. Love this stuff. I did bring a head over to this side of provence - and it came in very handy when cooking up some chicken on the bbq last night. We said farewell to our friends last night - and the boys came home in the RV after watching Cadel Evans take out the Tour de France. What an experience to actually be in the same country while this amazing sporting event took place - and as for my husband and his friends - to be within metres as an Aussie took the winner's jersey for the first time ever. They're still on a high. We might be paying off this holiday for some time, but oh, the memories are worth it.

We've now settled into our second house with our family: sister-in-law, brother-in-law and our two nieces. Our new house is gorgeous, with amazing gardens - pics to follow. We're having a lazy day today - after P and I dashed to the supermarché before the 12.30pm Sunday closing - nearly no dinner!

PS: I LOVE French Supermarkets. Wine for 3 to 5 euros - real champagne starting at 12 euros - and serious stuff like Veuve, Mumm, Pommery and Moet for the mid 20s... And I just discovered that the Aussie dollar is even stronger against the Euro than when we left. Best get spending...

Saturday, July 23, 2011

the last supper

Oh, how I'll miss Tourtour and Villa Fournier. This has been the perfect holiday home. So quiet, so gorgeous, so well-equipped. You know how often in holiday home you'll want for something? Not here. Nope, you need baking paper to whip up a flourless chocolate cake? It's in the cupboard. Scales to measure? In another. A view to die for? Have a look...

These shutters are closed in the morning when we head out, opened to let in the afternoon breezes while we watch the tour and then closed at night to help us sleep. Bliss.

Kids playing badminton on the driveway? Well, when they're not playing ping pong or pentanque - well that's what they do...

A view across the pool of the hills, framed with lavender and olive trees? Oh yes indeed.

What's that? A teeny little neighbour's house? Again framed with lavender.

More lavender, and olive trees, and apple trees, and fig trees - doesn't get tired, let me tell you.

French chicken is divine. Just divine. Look at these gorgeous legs, 6 of them for 5 euros. Marinated and grilled on the bbq, it was unlike any chicken we've ever tasted - divine.

French salad - oh my.

Of course.

Potato salad with a pesto vinaigrette and crispy, smokey bacon - I know, shut UP! Provence is now my new favourite place. We were so lucky to have found the perfect house, and the perfect friends to share it with. Enduring memories have been made {and many, many photographs taken...}

Friday, July 22, 2011

to market, to market

While the husbands are off in the RV we're trying to have a relaxing holiday, but still sightsee. So what we've been doing is planning our day around a nearby town's market and then just exploring the town afterwards. This morning we went to the nearby Villacrose - the town with that gorgeous café and cake.
Check out these tomatoes - and yes, they're as tasty as they look.

See these melons in the foreground? They look just like rockmelon {cantalope} but oh, they taste ever-so-much sweeter.

I am OBSESSED with these metal signs - could anything be more adorable than this sign outside the butchers? With that building in the background? I know - I can't stop snapping pics.

And look at this gorgeousness framed by a metal gate. My friend C pointed it out to me on the way into town, and I had to stop on the way back to the car to take the shot - took me forever to frame it within the metal...

Thursday, July 21, 2011

the beautiful town of tourtour

This is our local village - Tourtour. It's been named one of the most beautiful villages of France, and no wonder. Have a look and see why.

Tourtour's high on the hill, and that leads to some beautiful scenery. Boy, am I inspired when I get home to get into the garden, and do some work on the house.

I also need a Citroen 2CV as our second car - look at this ones cute little face! Bless.

Here's a view from the Marie {town hall} down to the markets we went to yesterday. We picked up some melon, sausages for dinner, breads, tapenade and my gal bought a cute lil dress.

Every window is perfectly styled for a photograph. I need window pots on every window - and boy, could my house use some more shutters. We have some on the french doors from the guest room, but I think I need more...

This is an artist's gallery - not wasting a space. Look at these shutters - parfait!

I squealed when I saw this little owl down an alleyway - how cute is he? And must look perfect at night lit up by that lamp. I'll let you know tonight, we're headed up to Tourtour to dinner tonight.

A shady spot under the oleander - how divine.

Yet another gorgeous window, with greenery and weather-worn shutters...