November 12, 2012

Dancing in the Streets of Salon de Provence

Dancing in the Streets of Salon de Provence

For readers who know Ginger and Nutmeg well, the following statement will not be surprising. When it comes to pairs dancing, Ginger insists that Nutmeg leads and Nutmeg insists that someone should! Although, they both love to dance when it comes to the classic dances like waltz, tango, salsa they are frankly way out of their element. (more…)

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October 1, 2012

Provence’s Gorgeous Gorges du Verdon

Provence’s Gorgeous Gorges du Verdon

Nutmeg’s “Top 10” list for Provence included a visit to the Gorges du Verdon. This magnificent area is sometimes referred to as the Grand Canyon du Verdon, due to the natural chasm formed by the river. The turquoise-green Verdon River cuts a meandering path along the steep, limestone cliffs. The length of the gorge is roughly 25 kilometres (km), and at certain points, the cliffs reach 700m (2,300ft) in height. The Gorges du Verdon is certainly extraordinary, but the comparison to the Grand Canyon might be an exaggeration. The Grand Canyon is 446km long, 29km across at its widest point and reaches depths of 1,800m (6000 ft). (more…)

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September 24, 2012

Professional Cooking with Provencal Style

Professional Cooking with Provencal Style

How does the unlikely combination of an Egyptian born chef and a Montana banker end up in St Remy de Provence? In David’s own words, had they read Peter Mayle’s book before they bought the property and decrepit 200-year-old farmhouse, they probably would not have gone ahead with the transaction. The year was 1985. (more…)

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August 27, 2012

Mistral One Crazy Wind

Mistral One Crazy Wind

The relief palatable, the calm almost surreal, something is missing – the wind has stopped! In France, the mistral is a strong wind that typically blows from the north or northwest.  Mistral the name for this wind means “masterly”, and in Nutmeg’s opinion, it certainly lives up that reputation.  The mistral typically blows hard, with gusts at times up to 100 km/hour as it accelerates down the Rhone and Durance rivers towards the Mediterranean.  Much like a Chinook in Calgary, the mistral brings a change in weather, in this case it is typically dry and cooler.  This can be a relief in the hot days of spring and early summer, or a curse in the later days of the fall as it creates glacial temperatures. There are two French expressions when it comes to the mistral “le vent qui rend fou” (the wind which makes you crazy) and “le vent des voleurs” (the wind of robbers).  Nutmeg thinks both sayings are accurate.  The mistral can blow for just a couple of days or even as long as a week.  A strong mistral will typically send cafe patrons indoors and make golf games virtually unplayable.  The beautiful plane trees of Provence, with their noisy, leafy canopies provide excellent cover for robbers, as even dogs cannot hear their approach. (more…)

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August 23, 2012

Thomas Jefferson in France Part Two

Thomas Jefferson in France Part Two

Jefferson’s voyage continued south. He paid a visit to St Remy de Provence and Les Baux, his interest in agriculture and antiquity were the main drivers. The rural area around St Remy continues to be heavily focused on agriculture today. Although, the combination of agricultural crops has changed over the years, the enduring olive tree continues to be a strong contributor to the local economy. (more…)

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July 5, 2012

Provence’s Antique Theatre Spectacles in Orange

Provence’s Antique Theatre Spectacles in Orange

Does the colour ORANGE cause you think of your crazy Dutch friends, celebrating Koninginnedag (“Queen’s Day”) on April 30th? Does the colour ORANGE make you cringe due to the gyrations in your trading account at ING Direct? Does the colour ORANGE make you think of the massive mobile phone network operated by France Telecom? Does the colour ORANGE evoke memories of the political protests in the Ukraine in November 2004 – January 2005 (the Orange Revolution)? This post is not about any of those. (more…)

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December 12, 2011

Randonee in Provence Hiking in France

Randonee in Provence Hiking in France

In France and much of Europe, hiking or randonée is a significant part of the culture. There are walking trails for all levels that crisscross the continent.  The longer trails form part of the GR system or Grande Randonée, there are over 60,000km of trails in France alone. Here is a great resource guide book. Ginger and Nutmeg love hiking, but they never expected to start the season in January, when they were introduced to the International Hiking Group of Provence. G&N made it to as many of the scheduled Tuesday hikes as they could fit in to their busy European exploration agenda. Each hike was unique, the scenery beautiful and weather at times unpredictable. All of the hikes offered opportunities for some laughs along the way. Some of the favorites are highlighted below: (more…)

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November 21, 2011

Dabir the Saluki Fastest Dog in Provence

Dabir the Saluki Fastest Dog in Provence

Insult to injury is what I would call this post. First of all Ginger and Nutmeg leave me alone for two nights, while they go to a fancy hotel. Apparently, the hotel would not accept Black Labradors, and that is the story that Nutmeg is sticking to. Then, they went hiking in the reputedly beautiful Gorges du Verdon (allegedly as I was not there). Then the worst part! They had lunch with the fastest dog in France, Dabir a Saluki, in Banon. (more…)

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November 14, 2011

Henry Ferrier an Artist for Life

Henry Ferrier an Artist for Life

One of the greatest pleasures Nutmeg had during the months in Provence was being introduced to Henry Ferrier and his lovely wife Annick Brunet. This is one energetic couple; Henry is an artist, writer and philosopher, Annick has been in politics, film and continues to be an enthusiastic volunteer. The first time Ginger and Nutmeg met Henry, he recited a riddle: What happens if you toss a buttered piece of toast in the air? It lands on the buttered side What happens if you toss a cat in the air? It lands on its’ feet What happens if you place a buttered piece of toast on a cat’s back and throw it in the air? It stays aloft deciding which side to fall upon (more…)

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