June 29, 2015

Anglo-French Wars

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. 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… (more…)

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June 22, 2015

Pétanque Provence’s Other Religion

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. 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. (more…)

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June 15, 2015

Hiking Les Gorges de Régalon in Provence

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). (more…)

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May 25, 2015

Couscous takes over French Favourites

Couscous takes over French Favourites

Forget magret de canard and moules frites – couscous served with its savoury slow-cooked stews is popular in French cuisine. It was voted France’s 3rd favourite meal in a study conducted for Vie Pratique Gourmand (2011). There are references to couscous consumption in France that date as far back as 1630 (Toulon) and 1699 (Brittany). (more…)

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May 4, 2015

The Donkey of Provence Le Bourriquet

The Donkey of Provence Le Bourriquet

A.A. Milne may have made Eeyore famous in his Winnie-the-Pooh books, however in reality the hardworking donkey has been helping humans out for thousands of years. (more…)

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February 9, 2015

Sifting through the Salt of Provence in Aigues Mortes

Sifting through the Salt of Provence in Aigues Mortes

Nutmeg walked every aisle in the grocery store looking for salt – it was not with the spices, but rather in its’ own section near the aged balsamic vinegar. Where is the logic? This pile of sea salt is 70 metres high Treasured since antiquity, salt is used in kitchens around the world, to enhance flavour and preserve food. Salt also plays a medicinal role in maintaining the life sustaining salt/water ratio in the human body. Formed by the earthly elements sodium and chloride (NaCl), salt comes from two sources, underground mineral deposits and seawater. (more…)

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January 26, 2015

Exploring Alyscamps in Arles

Exploring Alyscamps in Arles

Nutmeg agreed to accompany Ginger to the medical clinic in Arles so he could get a yellow fever vaccination for his Africa trip, but only of they could visit Alyscamps afterwards. Alyssii campi is Latin for Elysian fields – the road leading to the kingdom of the dead. (more…)

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January 19, 2015

Sainte Baume Grotto and Mary Magdalene in Provence

Sainte Baume Grotto and Mary Magdalene in Provence

Nutmeg got a little lost on her way to this hike. Given the religious significance of the location, maybe she was not the first lost soul during the long history of the Sainte Baume grotto. View of Monastery & Massif Ste Baume (more…)

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November 17, 2014

Glanum Glorious Views Near St Remy de Provence

Glanum Glorious Views Near St Remy de Provence

Glanum a Roman oppidum, protected by its fortified walls once housed a flourishing community. The settlement stood on a hillside in the shadow of the rocky, crests of the Alpilles slopes. The Franks in 260AD destroyed Glanum and the population were forced to resettle on the valley floor, giving rise to St Remy de Provence. (more…)

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October 20, 2014

Ansouis at Provence’s Crossroads in the Luberon

Ansouis at Provence’s Crossroads in the Luberon

Ansouis was a gift – 963 AD in 2014, it still is This village first appears in written record in 963 AD, in reference to Lambert de Reillane who donated Ansoye lands to the Abbey of Saint-Pierre de Montmajour. This land in the Aigues valley belonged to his grandfather Foucher de Valensole. (more…)

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