Blogs from Saint-Remy-de-Provence, Provence-Alpes-Côte d'Azur, France, Europe


Sometimes sightseeing goes differently from the sunny, postcard sort of picture in your mind's eye... Sunday morning we opted to stay in and listened to the new Hillsong album and then an excellent John Dickson message he gave at Wheaton College. Feeling edified and rested we decided to take a trip to a well known town only half an hour from here called L'Isle-Sur-la-Sorgue. Sunday is its huge market day, but these generally close down around lunch time so we thought we would be able to park -the constant challenge- and enjoy wandering beside its waterways and famous water wheels, find some lunch and enjoy the local colour. That was the plan. It was another beautiful drive. By putting in the ‘no tolls’ on our maps, we end up on some amazing back routes, down tiny ... read more
Aesculapian snake
The canals of L'Isle -idyllic at first
Canals mean bridges

It's been good to be in on the road again after the small glitch in the last entry! Everything seems even sweeter, the poppies redder, the vines greener and even the Provençal sky is back to its almost unnatural cerulean blue after uncharacteristic storms. I had to face the possibility in the Avignon hospital that our trip could be in jeopardy, so the quick diagnosis and treatment was a huge relief. My heart rate came down slowly from around 120 and was back to 60 today, and had reverted to sinus rhythm. It might not have responded so quickly, so I am thankful. Our couple of down days had also been very wet. Our mate Sami says that , “Jamais, jamais, jamais” Never, never, never has it been so wet in late spring. Ah well, we ... read more
Sun hats off, raincoats on!
One of the widest arches built in the aqueducts
Les Alpilles and return of blue skies

This post is going up in the interest of transparency - I feel a little reluctant, but it's a good story... Avignon was on our list of day trips from St Remy, and we got there, but not to see any places we had planned - we ended up in the emergency department of the Centre Hospitalier. The night before we decided to look at all our research on the places we wanted to see and to spread the expeditions out on our calendar for the two weeks remaining here in St Remy. The more we see, the more Peter has to paint so the experiences are piling up, and some of it has been unplanned, so we wanted to be sure we dont miss anything. We decided to go to Pont du Gard, the Roman ... read more
Well monitored
Breakfast - a bread roll and bowl of coffee
Checking all my meds against the French meds

Our neighbour here in St Remy, Sami, had gone to the information centre especially to get us a copy of the book with all the festivals in St Remy through the year. I think he was finding our basic French and his non existent English too frustrating when he wanted to tell us about things that are on. So now he opens up the book and points to the next event, and then makes sure we get there in good time! He and his wife Gaby are so kind. He spotted Peter out in the lane looking for some communal herbs to enliven our not quite Masterchef spaghetti and jar of bolognaise, and between them had a bizarre conversation. Something was lost in translation because Peter did not know the word for basil or parsley, but ... read more
Decorated draught horses
Spoilt poodles watch the parade from their cart
Whip cracking, bare back riders

Peter said it was my turn to go to the bakery yesterday. He thinks I need the practice - he is bolder but I have more words! On the way there I met Madame from Switzerland whom we met yesterday. She comes down twice a year to stay in St Remy and lives in the house over the secret entrance, so we met at the gate as we came in. She and her husband were reading in their garden when I went past and he was enchante to meet me. So now we have three friends within a few metres of our place! After our change of plan and the bizarre sheep event on Monday, we decided to give the Roman ruins another try. Glanum is less than 2 km south of the town, right at ... read more
Still some wonderful Greek style columns standing
Part of the entrance area
Triumphal arch at Glanum

(Words from the artist - at last). Such was Vincent Van Gogh’s mental state that in May 1889 he left Arles to admit himself into an asylum so he could be cared for. During the year he stayed at the monastery of St Paul de Mausole in Saint-Remy-de-Provence, despite days and sometimes weeks of incapacitation, he produced around 140 paintings and numerous drawings. It was a prodigious output - he was at ‘the height of his powers’. Sadly it was not many months after he left for Auvers-sur -Oise that the incident happened where he tragically died. I, and many other painters before me, come here to be in the place where he was. We look at his (reconstructed) room in the asylum, take in the peace of the cloisters he painted, wander the surrounds marvelling ... read more
 Olive Orchard, Vincent van Gogh
The Good Samaritan (after Delacroix), Vincent van Gogh
Panel on Route of Vincent, Saint-Remy, depicting the hospital of St Paul de Mausole

Faced with yet another French public holiday (the Monday after Whitsunday we gather), we had to plan accordingly. Maybe we should go somewhere a little out of town that may not be so popular and difficult to park in - maybe the Roman ruins at Glanum. We did our due diligence last night and were getting ready to go when neighbour Sami came to the door. He is not only our new best friend, but this point, our only best friend! He had made some mention of moutons or sheep, yesterday, but to Aussies that wasn’t something we found exciting. This morning he was insistent - tres magnifique! En centre ville! Markets, food, be there or be square, basically. So we changed our plans, as we feel rather accountable to our self appointed tour guide and ... read more
An occasional black sheep in the stampede
The farmer brings up the rear
I join the waiting crowds on the church steps

The nature of recreational travel is that by the time you love a place, it is time to leave! This trip is intentionally slower than earlier ones (like me) and we have never stayed two weeks in a place before, like we just did in Lourmarin. So one minute we are relaxing with Loic and Evaline, our hosts, over a simple and delicious family meal (my favourite - the large platter of fresh asparagus with vinaigrette), and the next we are packed up and double kissing goodbye as we headed off across the countryside. The Lourmarin cottage was the perfect place to slow down, turn our bodies around and immerse ourselves in a poppy themed holiday! We had a few hours to fill in between checkout there and the next 2pm checkin, so we plotted the ... read more
Coffe stop in Roque D'Antheron
Villa Clara, our new home
Sami came out to help us break the code to get in.

Like Belle, I am always in search of adventure! BUT, unlike Belle, a taste of that Provençal life is exactly what I was hoping for on this trip to Provence, France. The boulangeries, patisseries, fromageries, confiseries, even bisquiteries – oo la la! Then there’s the wine - so delicious and more abundant than water. I could have been satisfied just to stay at Café de la Place in little Saint Remy every day, sipping café and eating the amazing warm goat cheese salad, but the beautiful countryside was calling. Staying in Saint Remy with my dear friend, Frederique, I was treated to 10 days in Provence living like a local. We cruised around Luberon with friends in their 1968 Citroen DS – the Cadillac of France in the 60’s. We all laughed as we were regaled ... read more
Village at Des Baux
Cafe de la Place

Suzy spent the night avoiding acorns. We had planned to stop at a campsite that was on a lake , had a restuarant overlooking the lake and had views of the mountains . The reality proved a little different . Vive la difference I say. We landed at a Flower camping site and the place was shut up not opening until 3pm. Taking the opportunity for a quick look around we parked up, noticed we could not see the lake nor the restuarant and there was not a glimpse of said mountain. We sat awhile waiting for reception to open taking the chance for a drink, a plunge into our sweet stack and a read . I am now nearly at the end of the second Game of Thrones book and we have munched our way ... read more
One of the friezes

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