Le Pavillon Vendôme

Tucked away in the periphery of Aix-en-Provence in the Faubourg des Cordeliers district and accessible from Rue Célony or Rue de la Molle, sits le Pavillon Vendôme, a spacious 17th century mansion overlooking a sumptuous French-style garden. Built as a haven to shelter the forbidden love of Louis II de Vendôme and Lucrèce de Forbin-Soliés -King Louis XIV opposed their marriage – the mansion was erected in between 1665 and 1667. 

It is written that upon nightfall, the Duke of Vendôme ushered into the mansion Lucrèce and her ladies in waiting, all of whom were disguised in masks to avoid being recognized. They became knowns among the peasants as “Birds of Prey”, “Las Machouettos” in the Provencal dialect and “Les Chouettes”, in French. Upon the death of the Duke, whispers said that is was Las Machouettos who had killed him.

The mansion is styled after classical Provencal architecture was built with Bibémus stones, which came from a quarry on the outskirts of Aix-en-Provence. At the time, the yellow luminous stones were very popular, but were later abandoned for similar stones of a higher grade sourced from Rognes, a village 30 minutes north of Aix en Provence.

The front facade of the mansion features various ornements including fruit garland meant to represent summer. There are two mascarons, stone carved human figures, flanking the entryway. These rather frightening figures served to deter evil spirits from penetrating the demure and some even said that the figures resemble Lucrèce de Forbin-Soliés.

The mansion has undergone changes since it’s original construction most notably the addition of a level during the 19th century.  The two stone consoles on the second floor for example once held the bustes of King Louis XIV and the dauphin.

The enclosed French-style garden of the the Vendôme is today a public garden lined with plantains and benches to the east where the walls are covered with climbing rose bushes. In the center resides a circular fountain, a junction joining four walkways that divide the garden into four plots of grass with parallel flower beds. The path facing the mansion is lined with hedged bushes and trees. Opposing the mansion on the opposite side of the garden is a secondary fountain conceal by greenery, and in the left hand corner adjacent to the mansion sits a pavilion, the last of four, which was transformed into a chapel during the 19th century. Outside of the main gates, is a small garden alive with a bed of rose bushes.

Today the Pavillon Vendôme reminds us of the grandeur of yore and is a gallery for various expositions open to the public for a self and guided tours.

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Tea and things

Spring cleaning has me moving files from my computer onto my external hard drive. In doing so, I came across these photos from this time last year while visiting Bordeaux.

It was my last day in Bordeaux. I was visiting the city interviewing for a masters program with une grande école, to which I was accepted. I then delayed my start date and eventually forfeited my place in the program. I’m still rather bummed about the whole thing, but it was the best decision at the time. One has to believe like Sinatra says, “the best is yet to come”.

The morning was gray and drizzly, not uncommon for the season. As the morning progressed, a huge thunderstorm erupted. I spent an hour or so waiting out the storm over verveine tea and a croissant at Miremont – the most perfect salon de thé – before dashing off to grab my suitcase from the hotel to catch the train back to Marseille and then home to Aix-en-Provence.

I love the liveliness of this space. The glass chandelier adorning the salon is gorgeous and the chocolates, honey pots, pearled candies and jam jars are irresistible!

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Fall is coming

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I have this oil that I apply each night before I go to bed (I love oils). This particular oil is a blend of several oils, namely grape seed, argan and sesame. I love the scent of this blend. Even more so, I find fascinating that scents have a way of carrying me off into memories and dreams. They elicit my emotions and shape my day to day experiences. I love this interaction between olfaction and experience.

I also love these little white chairs, the dainty flowers and the end of the season bunny snacks. They are charming, delicate and romantic. The scent of my oil brings me back to this place. It’s so lovely.

I have been pondering this quote on love: “Love … is the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. Yet it is more than the end of the rainbow. Love is at the beginning also, and from it springs the beauty that arches across the sky on a stormy day. Love is the security for which children weep, the yearning of youth, the adhesive that binds marriage, and the lubricant that prevents devastating friction in the home; it is the peace of old age, the sunlight of hope shining through death. How rich are those who enjoy it in their associations with family, friends, church, and neighbors. Love is the very essence of the gospel, the noblest attribute of the human soul. Love is the remedy for ailing families, ill communities, and sick nations. Love is a smile, a wave, a kind comment, and a compliment. Love is sacrifice, service, and selflessness.” Read more here.

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Les Coquelicots

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Spending time in the countryside is therapy for my soul.  This period of the year is especially lovely as nature is alive with blossoms and buds. I am constantly in awe of the beauty that envelopes Provence. Vibrant green grape vines stretch for miles and contrast with fields of fiery red poppies. The lavender and sunflowers are soon to follow in due time. l feel extraordinarily blessed to be able to be surrounded by such beautiful creations.

Did you know that poppies (les coquelicots in French) have various virtues and can be used as a treatment for insomnia and persistent coughing?  The petals can be dried and consumed as an herbal tea. The flowers can also be put to use in the kitchen.  Fresh petals can be prepared into syrup and added to beverages, applied as a glaze to dress tarts or to accompany duck. The seeds are often used in baking to adorn cakes.

The other day, I went searching for a field of poppies. I didn’t have to go far before stumbling upon one.

Beautiful Bordeaux

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It rained. It poured. There were spring sun showers. There were gray skies, blue skies and sunny skies. The weather wasn’t quite sure what to do with itself. I on the other hand, spent a short weekend in Bordeaux explore new opportunities and soaking in this beautiful city.  This city has been on my bucket list for quite sometime. A weekend was enough time to get my feet wet, but more exploring is needed.  I did find great joints for oriental food: thai and homemade ramen noodles. The city has an electric vibe to it. You can feel the dynamic motion and energy which is quite different from Aix which has a secure homey feel.  The streets are huge and you can sense the sprawl around – such a contrast to my provencal alleys. It was a refreshing whimsical 3 days to clear my head and take some photos.

Summer Evening at Goudes

DSC_0998 DSC_1000 DSC_1002 DSC_1005 DSC_1019 DSC_1024 DSC_1034 DSC_1040One of my favorite places are the Calanques especially now that we are deep into summer and the water is warmer (I did not say warm) The calanques are a series of inlets cut into the coast line. These sheer cliffs and rocky slopes plunge deep into the Mediterranean Sea.  I have explored my fair share of calanques but there are many left to the unknown. I recently embarked to Marseille for an evening picnic and swim in the Goudes Calanque. This little haven is situated next to a darling village and feels untouched and newly discovered despite the families, friends and couples that have come to soak up the last of the suns rays and take in the breathtaking sunset.  The water was icy cold but we went fir a swim to cool off (ha!) anyways before we started the music and dined on the rocky slopes. It was the perfect was to spend time with friends and loved ones.

From the calanques, to the north you have the harbor of Marseille. You can see Notre Dame de la Garde perched high upon her hillside. To the west a view of Marie Island and Tiboulen Island and to the South East out in the distance lies Jarron Island, Jarr Isalnd and Riou Island.  The islands make up the Archipelago of Riou a national reserve that was once used for military purposes during the war. High above Goudes you can still see remnants of an old fortress carved into the rocky slope where soldiers kept watch on the water during war times.

Les Goudes

13008 Marseille

France

La Ciotat

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Sometimes you need to escape from the city to the sea. A girlfriend of mine was staying in La Ciotat the other week, so I seized the opportunity to pay her a visit.  The salty air and sea breeze work such wonders on the spirit.  The morning was spent swimming in the sea of Figuerolles, a small calanques surrounded by beautiful colors and rocks that plunge into the turquoise water. The swim was followed by a hike to the church Notre Dame de la Garde which was built in 1610 and is situated at the sommet of a hill. From the church you have an unobstructed view of La Ciotat. There was randomly a jazz band playing Take 5 by Dave Brubeck while we were exploring the grounds. For a secluded little chapel not what I expected! The architecture of the church and the houses next to it reminded me of the Adobe style that you find in New Mexico.  Lunch was in the port over looking the boats in old harbor of the city we went with a simple but delicious crêpe, then we wandered the streets stopping to look at an exhibit of old movie posters and for a quick stroll by the oldest public cinema in the world, the Eden Theater. We ended the day in a café before I headed back home to Aix.

De temps en temps il faut échapper à la ville et aller à la mer. Une amie à moi passait une semaine à La Ciotat l’autre semaine, donc j’ai saisi l’occasion de la revoir. L’air salé et marin produit des effets merveilleux sur l’esprit. Le matin comprenait une baignade dans la mer de la calanques Figeurolles, une petite calanques encaissé aux couleurs merveilleuse et aux roches qui plongent dans un eau turquoise. La baignade était suivi par une randonnée qui a abouti à la chapelle Notre Dame de la Garde. Cette eglise a ete constuit en 1610 et se situe au sommet d’une colline. De l’église, vous avez une vue imprenable sur tout La Ciotat. Il y avait des musiciens qui jouaient Take 5 par David Brubeck pendant que nous explorions la site. Pour une chapelle retirée ce n’était pas ce que je m’y attendais! L’architecture de la chapelle et des maisons juste à coté m’a fait rappeler du style d’adobe que l’on se trouve en Nouveau Mexique. Le déjeuner s’est passé en face du vieux port avec une vue sur les bateaux puis nous sommes flânées dans des ruelles arrêtant pour regarder un exhibition des vielles affiches de cinema et pour une petite balade devant le plus vieux cinéma du monde, l’Eden Theatre. La journée a pris fin dans un café avant que je sois partie pour Aix.

La Ciotat

Bouches-de-Rhônes

Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur

 

Fields of Flowers

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J’espère que le paradis est un jardin de fleurs et de plantes sans fin. La nature est comme une thérapie merveilleuse.  Nous étions crées pour y vivre entourée. J’adore la période printanière. Il me semble que le monde fleurit. Chaque personne avec qui je parle, est en train de réaliser leurs objectifs ou de les établir. Dans les mois à venir, il me semble que nous verrons des fruits magnifiques. Cependant, pour le moment, je vais sourire chaque fois que je regarde ce champ de tournesol.

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I hope heaven is a garden of endless flowers and plants.  There is just something so therapeutically wonderful about nature. We were made to live with it. I adore this time of year. It seems that the world is in bloom. Everyone that I talk to seems to also be in the process of accomplishing or establishing ones goals. In the coming months I feel we will see some awesome fruit! But for the moment, I’m going to smile each time I see these fields.

Le Lac de Sainte Croix

Il y a six ans, j’ai eu l’occasion de visiter la région de la France que j’appelle actuellement chez moi. Je ne pourrais jamais imaginer a cette époque, toutes les évènements qui se passeraient dans ma vie entre ici et là. Quand je suis venue pour la première fois il y a six ans, pas seulement était-il mon premier voyage international complètement seule, mais, j’avais décidé de faire réaliser quelque choses que je voulais toujours faire. J’ai économisé mes centimes et j’ai trouvé un vol au bon prix. Je suis reconnaissante que la valeur du travail et la croyance que je peux réaliser mes rêves fussent inculqués dans moi-même depuis j’étais petite. Il a exigé du discipline, mais après tous, j’ai passé quelques semaines dans un endroit que je rêvais toujours de visiter. Apres ce voyage, je savais que je voulais y retourner. C’est ces mêmes principes qui fait en sorte que je puisses créer ma vie aujourd’hui. Parfois, il devient une habitude de voir seulement la situation actuelle, et on oublie, ou on ne se rendent pas compte qu’il y avait du sacrifice, du travail et du développement personnel avant que les choses qui existent, soient réalisées. Parfois, on juge la surface, sans avoir compris les profondeurs. C’est mon intention de chercher la valeur dans toutes choses et de ne pas faire des jugements irréfléchies pendant que j’apprécie même les choses simples qui saluent les yeux. Quand je cherche la beauté dans la vie c’est comme si tous deviennent tout de suite plus beau.

Une telle beauté que j’ai rencontré pendant ce voyage, était la Gorge de Verdon qui est très impressionnant. Jusqu’à ici, elle reste toujours l’un des endroits le plus magnifique que j’ai pu visiter. Cet été, une amie et moi sommes allées au Lac de Sainte-Croix. Ce lac se trouve à la bouche d’une côté de la Gorge de Verdon. Nous sommes passées la journée en reposant sur la plage et en mangeant une pique-nique. C’était un samedi bien passé et la meilleure façon de prendre une pause de la quotidienne. J’aime comment une sortie de la ville ou même l’appartement pour aller chercher du pain, puisse, si on la laisse, décaler notre perspective. Pour moi, les choses me semblent de me réaligner et je retrouve l’énergie de conquérir la vie.

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Six years ago, I had the opportunity to come visit the region of France I now call home. I could never have imagined then, all the events that would take place in my life between the there and now.  When I came that first time six years ago, not only was it my first international trip completely alone, but I had decided to make something happen that I always had wanted to do. I saved up my pennies and I found a flight I could afford.  I am grateful that the value of hard work and the belief that I can make my dreams a reality was instilled in me from a very small age.  It required discipline, eating ramen soup for many meals and not buying those new cute shoes, but after it all, I spent a few weeks in a place I had always dreamed of visiting. After that trip, I knew I wanted to go back to. It is those same principles that enable me to create my life surroundings today.  Sometimes, it becomes a habit to see only the situation that exists now, and we forget, or we dont realize that there was sacrifice, work and personal development before the things that exist came to pass. Sometimes, we judge the surface without have understood the depths.  It’s my intention to search for the value in all things and to not make rash judgments as I appreciate even the simplest things that greet the eyes.  When I search for beauty in life, its as if everything becomes all of sudden more beautiful.

On such beauty that I came upon during that trip, was the breath taking Gorge de Verdon.  It is to this day one of the prettiest places I have visited.  This summer, a girlfriend of mine and me went to the Lake of Sainte-Croix.  This lake sits on one side of the Gorge de Verdon.  We decided to spend the day relaxing on the beach reading and eating a picnic.  It was the perfect way to spend a Saturday and take a break from the day to day.  I love how getting out of the city, or even the apartment for a few hours can shift your perspective. For me, things seem to realign and I find the energy to conquer life.

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Le Lac de Sainte-Croix

France

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

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Faisant partie des plus beaux villages de France et du Parc naturel régional du Verdon, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie se situe sur un escarpement rocheux environs une heure d’Aix-en-Provence. Au sommet du village se trouve la chapelle Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir qui date au XIII siècle. La chapelle exige un grand effort pour atteindre à pied mais à votre arrivée, elle offre un immense panorama sur la vallée de la Maire et le plateau de Valensole. C’est ravissant et je vous conseille d’y aller. De plus, vous verrez l’étoile qui est suspendue entre deux roches pendant que vous montrerez, c’est parfait et j’adore cette idée. Elle est une idée de simplicité mais qui incite un sentiment d’expansion. Le village lui-même est pittoresque. Il y a des fleurs partout et une chute d’eau qui coule dans une rivière. Il faisait plutôt chaud ce jour-là et je suis tombée sur un glacier où j’ai pris une glace à la lavande. Ce village vaut vraiment la peine de visiter. Il est charmant et à quoi vous pensez quand vous imaginez un village provençal. Il y a des magasins d’un style désuet partout aussi – un endroit parfait pour déjeuner et se balader.

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One of the most beautiful villages in France and part of the Verdon National Park, Moustiers-Sainte-Marie is situated on a steep rocky slope about an hour away from Aix-en-Provence. At the summit of the village is the church of Notre-Dame-de-Beauvoir, which dates to the thirteenth century. The church requires a large effort to reach on foot, but upon your arrival, there is an immense panorama of the Valley of Marie and the Plateau of Valensole. It’s gorgeous, and I suggest you go. Even more, you will see the star that is suspended between two rocks as you ascend. It’s perfect, and I adore this concept. It is an idea of simplicity, but it incites a feeling of expansion. The village itself is picturesque. There are flowers everywhere and a waterfall that flows into a river. It was rather warm the day I was there, and I stumbled upon an ice cream shop where I chose a lavender ice cream. This village is really worth a visit. It is charming and exactly what you think of when you imagine a Provençal village. There are quaint shops everywhere too -the perfect place to have lunch and go for a stroll.

Moustiers-Sainte-Marie

France

Le jardin d’Amalula

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Une alcôve paisible de la ville, Le Jardin d’Amalula est parfaite pour un petit déjeuner, un déjeuner ou juste une pause pendant l’après-midi. J’y suis allée avec une amie et nous avons tous les deux pris une salade. Le service était soigneux et les ingrédients étaient frais. C’est un lieu parfait pour échanger les pensées et vous sentez comme si vous étiez transporté loin de la ville. La carte est un assortiment des tartes, des salades et des desserts. C’est vraiment un restaurant incontournable où vous pouvez passer une bonne moment avec vos proches ou avec vos collègues de business.

A peaceful alcove in the city, Le Jardin d’Amalula is perfect for breakfast, lunch or just a beak during the afternoon.  I went there with a friend and we each ordered a salad.  The service was very helpful and caring, and the ingredients were fresh.  Its the perfect place to exchange thoughts and you feel as though you were transported far from the city.  The menu is an assortment of tartes, salads and desserts. It is really a restaurant worth checking out where you can spend quality time with those you are close to or your business colleagues.

Restaurant Le Jardin d’Amalula
7 rue Mignet
13100 Aix-en-Provence

Chinese at Li Palace

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Si vous êtes en quête pour la cuisine chinoise authentique à Aix en Provence, vous sont bien tombés. Li Palace a ouvert ses portes Novembre dernier. Il se trouve dans un quartier calme d’Aix pas loin du centre mais loin de le va et vient. Accompagné par la porcelaine bleu et blanc chinoise de la région de Jiingde, l’ambiance est parfait pour une soirée en couple ou une soirée parmi les amis ou la famille. J’ai trouvé que la nourriture était fraiche, d’une qualité haute et très différente que celle des restaurants chinois traditionnels qui errent de l’authenticité dans la cuisine. Je vous conseille fortement une part des raviolis fait maison et cuit à la vapeur, ou vous pouvez les commander frits, comme vous voulez. Nous avons également testé la salade wakame, le riz sauté maison, les nouilles sauté aux légumes et le plat signature de haricots verts aux sauce pimenté. Les portions étaient généreuses et les goûts de chaque plat étaient délicieux. Nous avons complété le repas avec une infusion de la menthe qui était servie dans une théière ravissante de chine. Comme enthousiaste de tous ce qui est les infusions, c’était le grand moment de la soirée

If you are looking for authentic Chinese food in Aix en Provence, look no further. Li Palace opened its doors in Aix en Provence this past November and is located in a quite neighborhood of Aix not far from the center but away from the bustle. Accompanied by white and blue Chinese porcelain from the region of Jingde, the ambiance is perfect for a date night or an evening among friends and family. I found the food to be fresh, high quality and different from the typical Chinese restaurant that strays from authentic Chinese cuisine. I highly suggest an order of the steamed dumpling made in house, or you can get them fried, which ever you fancy. We also tested the seaweed salad, the house fried rice, and stir-fry noodles and the signature dish, the green beans. The servings were generous and the flavors of each plate were delicious. We finished the evening with a mint tea served in gorgeous china, as a tea enthusiast, this was the highlight of the evening.

Li Palace

4 Emeric David Street

13100 Aix en Provence

Tel: 04 42 61 49 76

A morning at Weibel

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Nestled in the heart of Aix-en-Provence amongst the bustling markets of vegetables and flowers you will find the quaint bakery and cafe, la Maison Weibel, which was founded in 1954. With an array of mouthwatering pastries, a selection of coffee and an array of teas, it is the perfect place to spend your morning with a friend. Such a scene took place recently with a good friend who is back in France for a time from Prague.  As we caught up, we munched on croissants of the butter and almond variety and sipped on herbal tea and café au lait.  I love the feeling of this café, you walk in and are warmly greeted as you decide which delicious pastries you want. However, you cant go wrong with anything you choose, because it is all that good. There are comfy chairs and small café tables nestled to your right, and you pay upon leaving a concept that I welcome. Just so you know, Weibel also creates tartes and cakes for festivities which I had the chance to taste at a party at the end of my program this past year. We finished the morning with a stroll through the city to the gardens of the Pavillon Vendôme

Blotti dans le coeur d’Aix en Provence, parmi les marchés de légumes et de fleurs grouillés de monde, vous trouverez la patisserie pittoresque, la Maison Weibel, laquelle a été fondée dans les années 1954.  Avec un ensemble de patisseries et une selection de café et de thé, c’est l’endroit parfait pour passer du temps le matin avec un ami.  Une telle scène a pris place récemment avec une bonne amie qui est revenue en France de Prague. Lors de nos retrouvailles, nous mangions de la variété de croissants au beurre et avec des amandes et nous sirotions une tisane et un café crème.  J’aime l’ambiance de ce café, aussitôt que vous rentrez, vous serez chaleureusement accueilli pendant que vous décidez quelle pâtisserie vous voulez.  Toutefois, vous ne pourrez pas vous tromper sur votre choix, parce que tout est bon.  Il y a des chaises confortable et des petites tables cafés sont blotti sur votre droite et vous payez à votre départ, un concept que j’approuve particulièrement. Juste pour que vous sachiez, Weibel fabrique également des tartes et des gateaux lesquelles j’ai pu gouter pendant une fête de fin d’année pour mon école. Nous avons achevées cette belle matinée avec une balade en ville jusqu’au jardin du Pavillon Vendôme.

2 Rue Chabrier

13100 Aix en Provence

France

Eat among Nature

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La saison estivale est parfaite pour faire des piques niques. Cette fois-là, nous avons embarqué un poulet curry au citron, un charentais, les caprices de dieu, et une baguette pour le pique-nique.  Nous nous sommes affalés sur mes écharpes de Bali et d’Inde (cadeaux des amies – bien que je meure d’envie d’y aller moi-même) sous des arbres au Parc de la Torse parc préféré à Aix dans lequel coule un ruisseau.  Je crois qu’il est important de prendre du temps pendant la semaine, de sortir, être entouré par la nature et être au calme, même si ce n’est que pour un instant.  Un changement d’air pour les repas peut être tellement rafraîchissant.  J’aime quand les repas sont cérémoniaux.  La nourriture est sacrée, et je crois que lorsque nous la traitons comme cela, notre rapport envers elle devient plus naturel et plein d’amour plutôt qu’une partie simple de notre journée.

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The summer time lends itself perfectly to picnicking. This time, we embarked for the picnic with a curry chicken citrus salad, cantaloupe, cows milk cheese and a baguette. We sprawled out on my scarves from Bali and India (gifts from loved ones – although dying to go myself) under trees at the Park by the Torse my favorite park in Aix through which a creek runs. I find it is important to take time during the week to get out in nature and to be calm – even if it’s just for a moment.  Changing the scenery of the dinner table can be so refreshing. I love making meals a ceremony. Food is sacred, and I believe that when we treat it so our relationship to it becomes more naturel and loving rather than a banal a part of our day.

Promenade de la Torse

13100, Aix en Provence

 

 

Summer picnicking

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Sprawling out on a blanket in the middle of a park during a cool summer evening is one of my favorite past times this time of year. Especially when accompanied by good food and even better company. The meal was complete with lemon salmon, summer salad topped with nasturtiums, a baguette, cheese and sparkling water. I love adding flowers to my salads. Aside from being beautiful to look at, certain types of flowers are packed with nutrients and add flavor to your dish.  Nasturtiums have a spicy flavor, a bit like mustard or black pepper. They are high in vitamin C (an antioxidant) and Iron. They are also a natural anti-biotic. However, dont eat them if you are pregnant as they can induce early labor.  You can also make an infusion with the flowers.

Être affalé sur une couverture au milieu d’un parc lors d’une soirée fraiche est l’une de mes façons préférées de passer du temps pendant cette période de l’année.  Surtout quand je suis accompagnée par la bonne nourriture et encore meilleur par la bonne compagnie.  Le repas a inclus le saumon au citron, une salade d’été complétée par les capucines, du pain, du fromage et de l’eau pétillante.  J’aime ajouter les fleurs aux salades. À part de leur beauté, il y a des fleurs qui sont remplies de nutriments et qui parfument les plats. Les capucines ont une saveur légèrement pimentée, un peu comme la moutarde ou la poivre noire. Elles ont un taux haut de vitamine C et de fer.  Elles ont aussi des propriétés antibiotiques. Toutefois, ne les mangez pas si vous êtes enceinte puisqu’elles peuvent déclencher un accouchement en avance. Vous pouvez aussi faire une infusion avec ces fleurs.

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Les Grottes de Calès

A leisurely day spent exploring les Grottes de Calès, caves which date back to the middles ages, was a welcome change from the pace and buildings of the city.  After a short stroll uphill to the the ruines of the castle, which was constructed sometime during the 12th century, we stopped for lunch before wandering around to look at the caves. There are 116 caves in sum which were hand-carved by the inhabitants. From what I gleaned from various sources, the caves were originally dug out in order to provide stone for the castle and later served as safe havens for the inhabitants of the village.  We spent the afternoon under the trees and sunbathing next to the caves.

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Grottes de Calès
13113 Lamanon

La Sainte Victoire

Having lived in Aix for nine months now, an outing to the Saint Victoire, the acclaimed mountain featured in many of the artist Paul Cézanne paintings was long over due.  The skies came through allowing us to scale the rocky slopes with ease. Although, the descent proved to be slightly trickier than the way up.  Stopping along the way to catch our breath, you can’t help but notice the thyme which grows uncontrollably and just happens to perfume the trail as you walk along.  The views of Provence were breathtaking from the summit. I love the vineyards that speckle the country side as well as all the wild flowers. So whimsical.

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Les Calanques de Cassis

Situé à deux heures de route d’Aix-en-Provence se trouvent les calanques, les falaises calcaires qui plongent dans la mer méditerranée. Si vous allez à Cassis, il y a un sentier balisé d’accès facile où vous pouvez passer une journée en découvrant ce paysage séduisant. Récemment, j’ai eu l’occasion d’y faire une randonnée et de me baigner dans la mer. C’était vraiment agréable. Je suis partie de Cassis à pied et j ‘ai traversé les falaises des calanque point de Pont-Miou, de Pont-Pin et d’En Vau. Quel trajet ! Cela m’a pris presque de quatre heures. Parfois le chemin était fatiguant mais la récompense en valait la peine. La randonnée le long du littoral était ravissante. Apres une longue distance parcourut, nous nous sommes arrêtés pour nous baigner dans l’eau délicieuse de la mer. J’ai passé quelque temps dans l’eau où j’ai pour la première fois ouverte mes yeux dans la mer salée. C’était tellement beau. La lumière du soleil transperçait les grands fonds. J’ai retenu mon souffle sous l’eau en absorbant ce nouvel univers. Après cette longue journée, nous sommes rentrés à Cassis pour voir le coucher du soleil et se baigner à la grande plage. C’était parfait.  J’ai hâte d’y retourner lorsque le temps y sera plus chaud, l’été prochain.

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Located about two hours south of Aix-en-Provence you find the Calanques, limestone cliffs that plunge into the Mediterranean Sea. If you go to Cassis, there is a path easily accessible where you can spend a day discovering this enchanting environment. Recently, I had the chance to go there for a hike and a swim in the sea. It was enchanting. I left from Cassis on foot and hiked the Calanques of Pont-Miou, Point-Pin and En Vau. What a Journey! Overall it took about four hours. At times the path was difficult, but the effort was worth it . The hike along the coastline was gorgeous. After hiking a long while, we stopped to swim in that marvelous sea. I spent a while swimming and for the first time in my life, I opened my eyes in the salt water! It was so beautiful. The light of the sun penetrated the depths of the ocean. I held my breath and swam around taking in this new world. After a long day of hiking, we ended the day watching the sunset and swimming again at the large beach in Cassis. It was perfection. I look forward to going there again when the weather is warmer.

Point en VauEN VAU

En VauEN VAU

Rando a CassisPONT MIOU 

Cassis HikingPONT PIN

CalanquesPONT-MIOU

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boatsLE PORT À CASSIS

Couche du soleilLA GRANDE PLAGE À CASSIS