10 Favorites of St-Rémy

Val and I live part of the year in St-Rémy-de-Provence, and we’ve explored lots of the town’s nooks and crannies. I was asked to write about my ten favorite things to see and do here, which is hard because there are a lot more than ten! But I did my best and came up with ten favorites. If you ever have the chance to visit St-Rémy, they might become yours as well!

Read all about it in Frenchly!

My New Book!

Val and I live part of the year in the charming village of St-Rémy-de-Provence. It’s in a delightful spot at the foot of the Alpilles Mountains, between Avignon and Arles. There are lots of great things to see and do in the area.

I’ve just had a new guidebook published, An Insider’s Guide to St-Rémy-de-Provence and the Surrounding Area. It’s the first guidebook dedicated just to this part of Provence, so I think it fills a need.

If you have friends who will be coming this way, please let them know about my book! It’s available on Amazon.

An Easy Biking Route in the Luberon Valley

Val and I love to bike in Provence, but we’re not fanatics or anything. Flat routes are just fine with us, and one of our favorites is in the Luberon Valley.

It’s what is known as a voie verte, or greenway, and is built where there used to be railroad tracks, so it is nice and flat.

There is a lot to see along the way, besides the stunning natural beauty. You pass a cute little train station (no longer in use), and just beyond it is a Neolithic burial chamber you can explore. Further on is a 2,000 year old Roman bridge that was still used by cars until a few years ago! It’s a great spot for a picnic.

If you are feeling ambitious, you can go off the voie verte and puff up a hill to one of our favorite cafés, with fabulous views across the valley.

Read all about it in Perfectly Provence!

18 Curious Facts about Provence

Did you know that a sardine once blocked the port of Marseille?

Or that seven different popes once lived in Avignon? (not counting Pope Joan)

Or that a Provençal town once passed a law banning UFOs…and none have landed since?

These are just a few of the fun facts that are in my new book, An Insider’s Guide to Provence. Read all about it in Frenchly!

A Fun Quiz About Provence

So you think you know Provence? Let’s find out!

I’ve written a series of articles called Only in Provence for the marvelous publication My French Life, and now I’ve created a short quiz about them. All of the answers can be found in the articles, or you can just go ahead and try your luck.

There are 14 questions in all and here are two of them.

Why did the ochre quarries of Roussillon go out of business?

    1. The quarries were depleted of their ochre
    2. French labor laws made the quarries uncompetitive
    3. New synthetic dyes were cheaper
    4. Earth tones didn’t go with groovy 1960s fashion

A transhumance is:

    1. When an alchemist turns lead into gold
    2. What Nostradamus predicted as the future of humanity
    3. The movement of sheep to higher pastures for the summer
    4. What you experience if you drink too much pastis

You can find a link to the answers at the bottom of the article. And if you add a comment, you’ll be eligible to win a free copy of my new book, An Insider’s Guide to Provence! 

Here’s the quiz. Good luck!

 

An Insider’s Guide to Provence

I am thrilled that my new book has just been published! It’s a guide to all the “insider secrets” that Val and I have discovered during our years of living in Provence.

An Insider’s Guide to Provence has our favorite restaurants, wineries, outdoor markets, picnic spots, hiking and biking trails, you name it. There is dining advice for the gluten-intolerant, vegans, and vegetarians, and special sections on Roman Provence and Jewish Provence. And with hundreds of links to maps and websites, it is perfect for the on-the-go traveler.

Here’s what others have to say…

A must-have for every visitor looking for local advice”–Carolyne Kauser-Abbott, Perfectly Provence 

A super add on to any general guidebook of the area”–Janine Marsh, The Good Life France.

“You will not be disappointed with this modern guidebook—it is a bottomless treasure!”–Judy MacMahon, MyFrenchLife 

“If you’re looking for an expert guide to show you the ins and outs of beautiful Provence, look no further”–Tuula Rampont, Belle Provence Travels

“I’ll be using this guide every time I go back to France”–Janice Chung, France Travel Tips

“A must-read for anyone planning a trip to Provence”–Annette Charlton, A French Collection

An Insider’s Guide to Provence is the perfect gift for the Provence lover in your life, and is available from Amazon as a paperback or e-book.

I hope you enjoy it!

The Best View of Avignon

Avignon is a distinctive city. Sitting on the banks of the Rhône River, it has some of the most extensive medieval fortifications in Europe and is dominated by its massive Papal Palace. There is so much to see! And if you want the best spot to view this beautiful city, it’s not in Avignon itself, it’s across the river on Barthelasse Island (Île de la Barthelasse.)

Barthelasse Island, one of Europe’s largest river islands, is just minutes from Avignon by ferry, foot, or car. From there you have a clear line of sight to Avignon, with nothing blocking your view. You can see the stone cliffs that protect the city and the thick walls built in the Middle Ages. And above them all is the Papal Palace, topped by its golden statue of Mary, sparkling in the Provençal sunshine. If there’s a better view of Avignon, I haven’t found it.

Barthelasse Island is easy to reach and is a great place for eating, biking, and tasting eau de vie. And it is the place where people actually danced in that famous song about the Pont d’Avignon!

Read all about this little-known corner of Provence in The Good Life France!

Gigondas: Wine Village with a View

Are you looking for a place with beautiful views, excellent food, and fabulous wines? Then consider Gigondas in the southern Rhône Valley.

This region has been producing excellent wines for over 2,000 years, from when it was part of the Roman Empire. The Romans liked the wines from Gigondas so much that they named it Jocunditas, or “delight,” and the name evolved into the modern Gigondas. Gigondas wines are similar to those of its famous neighbor, Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but much more affordable.

Perched on a mountainside, the village overlooks its famous vineyards. Above it are the jagged, rocky crests of the Dentelles de Montmirail, a small mountain range. Even in a region known for its natural beauty, Gigondas stands out. There is a walking trail above the  town, with a viewing platform, and the views from it are spectacular.

The town hosts special artworks every summer, and has excellent restaurants and one of the best wine-tasting centers anywhere. Find out what to see and do, and where to eat and drink, at Perfectly Provence!

This article is taken from my upcoming book An Insider’s Guide to Provence, available for pre-order on Amazon.

 

 

Art and Beauty in Provence

Tucked into the mountains north of Nice sits an arboretum unique in the world. It mixes exotic trees, rare flowers, and “no-made” art in a mountain park overlooking the wild Tinel Valley—a perfect day trip for nature lovers and art enthusiasts alike.

The Marcel Kroënlein Arboretum stretches over 17 hectares along the flank of a mountain, rising from an elevation of 1300m to 1700m and creating “a green cathedral. It is home to many mountain flowers and it has assembled a complete collection of the wild roses of the Alpes Maritime region, a feat which garnered it the prestigious Henry Ford Environmental Award.

Besides the protection of flora, the arboretum’s mission is to serve as a place of artistic expression. Every year, artists worldwide gather to display their Land Art among the trees and turn it over to the elements. The forces of nature refashion these pieces over time, as each is sculpted by the sun, wind, rain, and snow.

Learn more about this unique and beautiful place in Perfectly Provence!

And on the subject of beauty, the Rhône River is one of the world’s most majestic. It begins in the Swiss Alps and flows into one end of Lake Geneva, then emerges from the other end and runs all the way to the Mediterranean Sea.

Noted photographer Camille Moirenc has now captured the Rhône in a series of 80 magnificent photographs, on display in Paris. You can see the photos from the comfort of your own home, along with an explanation of each one. They are stunning!

See the photos and learn more about the exhibition at Perfectly Provence!