Palm Springs ABCs for the Desert

The Coachella Valley:

Palms to Pines
Golf holes to Polo fields
Hiking boots to Stilettos
Date trees to Dance floors
Swimming pools to Concerts

Ginger and Nutmeg are ‘relative’ newbies to the Palm Springs area and want to thank their friends for the locals’ tips. Nutmeg has created one of her ABC lists to provide all G&N readers a snapshot of the valley.

Crazy January Shadows

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La Grande Paella Spanish Influence in Provence

Bastille Day (La Fête Nationale) commemorates the 1789 storming of the Bastille in Paris. Two years running, our village attempted to host fireworks on the 14th only to be stymied by the wind. Leave it to the Parisians to have their traditional parade on the Champs-Élysées. Eygalières was going to party the night before.

Viva la France

18h: Sounds of the band testing their equipment – CHECK!

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RAVE Coffee a New Brew in Canmore

Nutmeg is coffee-obsessed if a cup is not in her hands within 30 minutes of her feet hitting the ground in the morning it’s best to stay away. What is odd about her addiction is that her first encounter with coffee was while visiting her grandparents in the West Indies and she hated the bitter brew.RAVE Coffee Logo #Canmore @Ravecoffeecan

Now, just a few years (or so) later she’s hooked. Needless to say when a new java option appears in town Nutmeg feels it is her duty to investigate. Continue reading

Anglo-French Wars

The centuries of Anglo-French wars are overwhelming, even for those most dedicated to the subject. Battles for geographic territory and ideological control started in Roman times. In one short post, it would be impossible to provide sufficient detail on this lengthy history of conflict.

Chateau de Beynac Interiors #Dordogne @GingerandNutmeg

Instead, here is a list of a few of the famous engagements:

  • 1066 – The Battle of Hastings – the Norman conquest of England,  by William the Conqueror
  • 1337 – 1453 The Hundred Years’ War – technically 116 years and numerous battles
  • 1755 – 1763 The Seven Years’ War – the fight over control of North America which the British won
  • 1779 – 1783 The American Revolution – the French aided the American rebel troops in forcing a British surrender
  • 1792 – 1802 The French Revolution – the British were opposed to the anti-monarchical ideals of the French
  • 1803 – 1815  The Napoleonic Wars – in 1810 the French Empire at its broadest reach, then Napoleon was defeated

And so on…

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Pétanque Provence’s Other Religion

The game of pétanque, sometimes called boules is a form of religion in Provence. Most villages have an official or unofficial boules pitch. The more elaborate centres will even have a “club house” offering refreshments.

provence-party-classic

The word pétanque is Provencal in origin from the word petanca, which means “feet anchored”. The game in its’ present day format started in La Ciotat (on the Mediterranean coast) in 1907. Other similar games are bocce, bowls and horseshoes.

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Hiking Les Gorges de Régalon in Provence

The idea for this hike came from a friend at the International Hiking group of Provence. The twosome needed to find a short hike that was not too far from the house, so they would have enough time to get the car to the mechanic.

Nutmeg consulted her “Must Do” list for Provencal activities; it was February so a day at the beach was not rising to the top of the chart. Not too far down the list, was this walk, les Gorges de Régalon a short, challenging hike that was close to home. (Walking in Provence West Guidebook).

Gorges de Regalon

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Top Reasons to Explore Sete

Recently, Nutmeg introduced her friend Nancy McGee the founder and visionary behind Absolutely Southern France.

You can read the full article here.

Sete Views #Sete #LanguedocNancy moved to Sète, the ‘Venice of Southern France’ after 20-years in Aix-en-Provence. Here, is how Nancy describes the two areas:

“Provence has a varied range of beautiful colorful landscapes including the vast lavender fields, the Languedoc is more authentic, with “real” French people, not yet overwhelmed with tourists.”

Sete Views #Sete #LanguedocDon’t think for a minute that Languedoc-Roussillon is undiscovered, just a little less chic. We asked Nancy to help our readers to discover Sète through a local’s eyes and here is what she had to say:

Travelers seeking a truly authentic taste of France at its most picturesque need look no further than Sète in the Languedoc-Roussillon. Intertwining canals lined by colourful houses have earned it the title of The Venice of Southern France while its 13 kilometres of beaches are considered the finest in the Mediterranean. It is also the most important fishing port in the Mediterranean. According to The Daily Telegraph, “Sète is the most interesting small town on the French Mediterranean coast.” Others refer to it as the “Ile Singulière” (the singular island) let’s see why.

Sete Views #Sete #LanguedocThe impressive Mont Saint-Clair, situated in the centre of the island, is a good place to begin a tour. A visit to the summit with its panoramic views is an absolute must to understand how the Mediterranean and the Thau Basin are linked, since each one is essential to the town’s livelihood. Afterwards, a leisurely stroll back through the winding streets of Saint-Clair will reveal ultra-modern and traditional houses straight out of the pages of a glossy magazine.

Beaches near Sete #Sete #LanguedocAs a vacation spot, Sète is ideal. Small, hospitable and understated it offers an extensive menu of cultural and outdoor activities: swimming, sunbathing, watersports and even fine dining along the beaches where, yes, one can always find space to park! A world-class jazz festival, the world’s largest poetry festival, a documentary photography festival – and, of course, the famous water jousting or ‘joutes’ during the Festival St Louis draw visitors from far and wide. No fewer than six museums are open year-round.

Oysters near Sete #Sete #LanguedocFood and wine enthusiasts will not be disappointed. Sète offers the aromas, tastes, and textures that classify Mediterranean cuisine as one of the world’s most celebrated. Here one can sample the much sought-after oysters from nearby Bouzigues and other seafood delights from the Basin de Thau. The wonderful indoor market offers a dazzling array of freshly caught fish, which the friendly merchants will prepare while providing cooking tips. There is a wide choice of restaurants serving oysters with white wine and buttered bread, fresh mussels, and a wide array of delectable seafood topped with Mediterranean delicacies and Sète even boasts a Michelin Star restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean.

Sete Views #Sete #LanguedocBut we’ve only just ‘scratched the surface’ of this surprising town! Sète is not just a pretty face on the Mediterranean coast: its fishing industry works hard year-round to earn its keep. That’s why, unlike other ‘seaside’ towns in the region, Sète’s restaurants throw open their doors in winter to welcome the local population for the ‘catch of the day’. Likewise, the curtain goes up regularly in the beautifully refurbished Theatre Moliere, where residents enjoy ‘scene national’ theatre including concerts, dance, opera and plays. Sète is unlike any other town – no wonder its called L’Ile Singulère.

Before letting Nancy go, G&N asked her to share a little more local’s knowledge for things to do in the area near Sète.

#DISCOVER

Water jousting and the central marketplace in Sète
Antique shops and market in Pezenas (the city of Molière)
Montpellier’s fascinating combination of modern and ancient architecture including the N°3 tramline designed by French fashion designer Christian Lacroix!

#TASTE

The most sought after oysters in Europe from the neighbouring lagoon including the “pink” oyster
Tielle – octopus pie
Thomas Jefferson Muscat and Viognier wine

# RELAX

Barge cruise on the Canal du Midi
Swim amongst sea horses in the pollution-free waters of the Thau lagoon
The Jazz à Sète Festival held in an outdoor theater on the Mediterranean

For more information on Sète or to inquire into the range of Absolutely Southern France services contact Nancy here.

26 Discoveries about Travel in Greece

Regular Ginger and Nutmeg readers know by now that Nutmeg cannot resist creating an ABC list for a new destination. The exercise allows her to discover some unusual facts that may help her out some day when she is playing Trivial Pursuit.

Enjoy a voyage to Greece and learn a few things about this remarkable country in through the next 26 letters.City Link #Athens #Greece #VisitGreece @GingerandNutmeg

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Grottos of Provence the Caves of Villecroze

Millions of years of seismic activity, tectonic plate movement and freeze-thaw cycles created the diverse geology of present-day Provence. The region is also known as the Bouches de Rhone where the Mediterranean shoreline runs the gambit of beaches, brackish wetlands and vertigo inducing cliffs. Other natural phenomena in the area include the steep contours of the Gorges de Verdon and the volcano shaped Mont Ventoux.

Villecroze Caves #Provence #Grottos #Var @GingerandNutmeg

The caves of Villecroze are carved into the side of a sheer limestone cliff. A grotto formed by hundreds of thousands of years of water flowing over porous rock. The continuous water created tufa rock-hard calcium carbonate deposits along the cliff face. Cycles of natural erosion and deposits formed caves of smooth stone and flowing stalactites.

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