April 3, 2017

Isle sur la Sorgue a touch of Venice in Provence

Isle sur la Sorgue a touch of Venice in Provence

Most people (read tourists) go to l’Isle sur la Sorgue for one of two reasons: The Sunday market – one of the largest in the region The 300+ antique stores and dealers Very few would go because they were expecting Venice in Provence. (more…)

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February 8, 2016

Cucuron Market Day Highlights in Provence

Cucuron Market Day Highlights in Provence

Market day in Cucuron is Tuesday. Located in the epic-centre of the Luberon Regional National Park Cucuron displays all the charms of a classic Provençal village. The hamlet, like its closest neighbours Lourmarin, Ansouis and Vaugines is bejewelled with ramparts, bell towers and shady plane trees. (more…)

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August 3, 2015

5 Provencal Myths

5 Provencal Myths

When Ginger and Nutmeg first ventured to Provence they felt prepared for the adventure. After all, it was not their first trip to France, they had previously biked in the region, and they had read Peter Mayle’s books – so they were confident in their basic understanding of the region. And basic it was! Nutmeg would like to share five Provencal myths for consideration as you pack your bags for the south of France, with visions of purple lavender fields and olive groves dancing in your head. (more…)

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November 5, 2012

The School of Epicurus in Provence

The School of Epicurus in Provence

There have been volumes written on the teachings of Epicurus, which will not be repeated here.  He and his followers would meet in his garden, around 307 BC. The philosophy of Epicureanism evolved from those encounters. In the Epicurean view, the highest pleasure (tranquility and freedom from fear) was obtained by knowledge, friendship, and living a virtuous and temperate life. Source: Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epicureanism) Lead a simple life. (more…)

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September 20, 2012

Un Common Figs

Un Common Figs

Almost indescribable, the scent of a fig tree full of almost ripe fruit is a fragrance that is both sweet and earthy. Nutmeg had never had the opportunity to enjoy the remarkable smell of the fig tree, before she spent the summer in Provence. The scent is distinctive, almost arresting in the open air, however, in a closed space can be overwhelming. The fig tree is often referred to as the Common Fig. It grows both cultivated and wild in most countries that are close to the Mediterranean and in many parts of Asia. Some tree varieties will bear fruit up to four times a year. (more…)

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May 14, 2012

Sassafras Does Provence

Sassafras Does Provence

Sassafras is native to eastern North America, not France.  However, she works for an airline and she has made it a personal quest to visit Europe regularly.  With Ginger away in Calgary for 10 days, Nutmeg thought that a little time with her girlfriend in Provence would be enjoyable. The trip did not quite start as planned, Sassafras’ arrival was delayed due to an airline strike.  Then her in-country train connections took longer than the transatlantic flight.  Despite, those minor hick-ups, she arrived on a beautiful summer day, for a lot of cycling and a bit of culture. Nutmeg had packed a 7-day agenda into 5 days; here is a summary of her visit: (more…)

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November 28, 2011

To Market To Market With An Expert in Provence

To Market To Market With An Expert in Provence

The small city of Martigues is located at the point where the waters of the Mediterranean Sea and the Etang de Berre meet. Sometimes referred to as the Provençale Venice, Martigues is attractive. There is a series of small canals, tiny pedestrian-only streets and attractive cafes. Thursday is market day in Martigues, and that is where Ginger and Nutmeg met up with Ghyslaine and her husband Jacques. Aside from being a lovely couple, they run a successful company focused on top quality cooking classes. Appropriately named, La Cuisine Mèditerranéenne de Ghylaine, is focused on traditional cooking and techniques from the region. (more…)

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March 28, 2011

France for Foodies in Provence

France for Foodies in Provence

There is no question, France is a must visit place for foodies and market lovers.  Nutmeg, as you already know is market crazy.  She finds that there is something completely engaging about the sights and sounds of a market.  In particular, Nutmeg loves the literal buzz of the commercial activity resulting from the connection of buyers to vendors, who are in many cases the actual producers.  Southern France is a critical food production area for the country, with a slightly milder climate, the growing season is long and literally “fruitful”. (more…)

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March 14, 2011

The Olive Story in Provence

The Olive Story in Provence

Olive groves are found in abundance in Provence, as the climate is similar to other growing areas around the Mediterranean (Greece, Spain, Israel, Syria, Italy etc..). Records confirm that olives have been produced in several middle east countries since prehistoric times. By 2000 BC, there are references to a form of olive press and oil exports, from what is now Syria.  In ancient Greece, there are indications of the oil being used as both a food, and for grooming purposes.  The olive leaf throughout history, has symbolized abundance, glory and at times peace.  Through the ages the oil, has been considered sacred, it was used to anoint royalty, bless athletes in ancient Greece, fuel the eternal flame in the original Olympic games and even found in Tutankhamen’s tomb. (more…)

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