Monday, July 31, 2017

other treasure from provence

Last time I wrote about strolling through the streets of Uzes,
well it is not the only locations to find cool stuff,
it is basically everywhere.

More upnorth, almost in the Cevennes (mountains),
there are some very famous potteries,
famous enough to have been in Versailles a few centuries ago.

It is the vase d'anduze:

picture from the website.

So I wanted to bring back a few of those, 
just like the ones from Uzes....
but once again, it does not fit in a small suitcase,
so my mom found me a mini one!

So cute right?!

It is from the same factory and has all the colors.
And now there is some thyme growing in it,
no olive tree for this little pot!

Of course there is lavender.
I did not purchase any as my mom grows her own in Brittany,
and it was still too early for this harvest.
But you can find some in many places.

And finally there are horses!
Beautiful white/beige horses, smaller than the ones
we see here. They are Camargue horses.
Guess who wanted to bring one home?

The little girl whose hair matches the horse's mane, of course!

No surprise here, Miss C. did not get a horse,
or did she?

In les Baux de Provence, she found a beautiful white stuffed horse,
and he came home with us, his name: Camargue, bien sur!

And this concludes our trip to Provence,
I hope to go again, hopefully we will not wait another 20 years!

Happy day!

Thursday, July 27, 2017

two shopping bags for the Provence market

When we were getting ready for our trip, 
I decided to sew some bags to take with us,
for all of our potential shopping expeditions!

(modeled in Uzes, by our favorite fountain, in an old traditional print)

I took advantage of my large collection of Provence fabric brought back by my mom,
over many years, as seen here , it is much larger now!

This one is made from a more modern fabric with lavender and polka dot.
I followed this tutorial from Sew 4 Home
a pretty fast and easy pattern, it uses a fairly large piece of fabric
because of handles, but the bottom piece is cut between them,
so there is no waste.

Miss C. could not stop eating her ice cream....

It is fully line in another lavender fabric, pretty inside and out.

A few years ago, I made some grocery store bags from Provence fabric:

that was in 2011!

While we were in Provence, I went to the store where my mom bought me all these fabrics
over the years, and I felt right at home at Tissus Provencaux a Aigues Mortes,
 I knew almost all of them!
I still manage to buy these 2 prints:

Both are fairly traditional,
 the turquoise one has a traditional "mouche", but the color is unexpected.
The bottom one with the flowers seems to be a reproduction of the "indiennes",
fabric imported from India in the 16-19th century.

If you are interested in the traditional fabric from Provence,
Souleiado is a perfect place to see and read about it,
their fabric and clothes are beautiful and expensive,
but their history is very interesting,
you can check it out here.

Happy sewing!

Thursday, July 20, 2017

strolling through Uzes, my favorite Provence village

Last time we talked about Provence, we spent time with the Romans,
nothing like a good epic peplum to cool down on a hot afternoon.

But now, let's put on our sun hat on, 
and go stroll down the streets of my favorite little town: Uzes.

Here are a few rules/guidelines for this adventure,
but it applies to any villages/towns in the region:

1- find a place to park, most of these little places are not car friendly,

2- expect to get lost because you are looking everywhere,

3-you are going to want to live there or buy everything you see,

4-eat the local ice cream by the fountain, there is always one in each village!

case in point, at the place aux herbes in Uzes.

This little town is beautiful, with a castle,

little streets,

little shops,

and neat places to hang out.

We visited 3 or 4 times, it might seems like a lot,
but on the first time, it was almost overwhelming,
and as we revisited the place, I liked it more and more.

It is a touristic location but it felt like people really lived there,
even on Saturday morning, the infamous market day:

le jour du marche.

It gets a little busy, and everything smells: lavender, olive,
 goat cheese (a favorite), saucisson sec, herbs....

You are probably thinking, this is all well
but what can you bring back from this place,
besides memories and a taste for fancy ice cream?

Well, many things if a sealand container is in your future!
At least that how I felt.
 Alas for me, it was just a corner (or 2) of a suitcase,
so I had to keep it small...
So instead of purchasing the large beautiful pots d'Uzes:

pictures from the website,

I only got a small one:

which is actually perfect.

Also  I was very tempted to totally redo all the house linen
in this store : Sud Etoffe.

So many beautiful linen, bedding and curtains,
the prices are quite reasonable.

But once again, reason took over....
 just a few kitchen towels
and a small tablecloth came home with me.

It was so hard to choose!

The part where I resisted the least was the french basket,
sold everywhere (store and marche)
very typical, even if it is not made in France.
I remember having one in high school/college but without the leather handles,
this one is more pleasant to use!
And quite useful to go to the market, or to the beach...

with a fouta from Sud Etoffe and some espadrilles (from the local grocery store),
and they were made in France!

So yes I brought back some little pieces of our sunny vacations!
And a few more things...until next time.

Happy day!

Sunday, July 16, 2017

visiting the antique Provence

For me, Provence is lavender, olive tree, cicadas and Roman history.

Everything is of course intertwined but let's start by visiting Roman ruins.

Actually in the region of Nimes, most of the buildings have been nicely preserved,
better than in Rome. The amphitheatre is smaller of course,
but it is the most complete one.

There are others in the region like in Arles,
but let's stay in Nimes a little longer.
I took few pics of  place as it was ready for some summer concerts
and less visitable.
It is still totally worth going in, and walking on the top row of the coliseum,
quite a view.

There is also the only complete Roman temple, known as la Maison Carree
with its beautiful columns.

Inside there is only one room where a movie is shown,
quite interesting, in French with English subtitles, about
the arena, this temple and of course the pont du gard.

picture from here

This pont du gard, an aqueduct built to bring water to Nimes
is one of the best attraction in the region,
probably why it is an Unesco monument.

When I was a child, we could walk on the top of the aqueduct, 
as you might be able to see in this old photo:

I am about 8.

Now we can just walk on the side of the first row, much safer,
and also cool down in the river.

Something we also tried for the first time was kayaking the river,
passing under the bridge.
I totally recommend this if you visit the area, it was a fun 3 hour family activity,
and the views were awesome,
but not camera friendly, so just memories!

Now let's leave the Romans for the little villages with their pretty streets
which will bring us to the lavender and olive time!

Happy day!

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

our trip to Provence

I am back from a wonderful vacation in Provence,
in the South of France.
Mon Cheri and I had been talking about it for years,
pretty much ever since we got married!
We do travel to France every few years,
but it is usually to visit family in Brittany, like in 2013.

Brick Master at the Pont du Gard.

Well this year, we took the plunge and traveled all the way to Provence:
flying to Paris, taking the train to Avignon (the old papal palace city),
renting a car and driving to the region of Nimes to our rental house in a little village.
We spent 2 weeks there discovering the region, all of its good food
and great weather.

Here is a picture of the house we rented!

Next week I will share what we visited and what I brought back....
Now, I am back at work, trying to overcome jet-lag.

Happy Bastille day!

Coffee, bunny and Easter eggs

Can anyone have too many bunnies, really? OK, maybe, but I am not there yet! I changed my cocoa station from last winter to a spring coffee ...