A French Village Beauty for You?

How about a place of your own in the South of France? La Belle Cour, in Vias, is on the market! Here – memories of our lovely haven – a post from 2011

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to summer –  why not join us on the fabulous Amalfi Coast , in Provence, or Amsterdam?

Even doing errands in Vias is fun, with those fancy fields of crimson poppies out our car window.Yesterday we were on the hunt for some flowers of our own, getting La Belle Cour (the beautiful courtyard, as our Vias home is named) even more beautiful just in time for holidaying guests. They arrive Sunday, and we’re enjoying getting everything ready, imagining their delight as they do the things we love to so – sit in the courtyard, spiral up the stairs to the balconied bedrooms, or prepare a meal in the sunny yellow kitchen.
It’s another gloriously sunny south-of-France day and we’re surprised to see how many people are in the village. Walking to the center of town, we bump into Kacem and family. The local internet guru, he’s the one who took care of switching our provider and installing new equipment for wifi and improved tv reception. They tell us that this is a two-week Easter vacation, the beginning of “the season” that brings sun-seekers to our beach-side village. And it’s almost warm enough to go to the beach today!A few things from the Spar market in the historic market hall, a fresh baguette from the bakery,
and then a stroll through the open-air market curling around the ancient church.

Here’s a colorful tumble of baskets – just 5 euros!
Our neighbors, the Brunos, always invite us to sit down for an aperitif of local muscat, so we choose a bottle for them at Cave Calmels, where a local guy is pumping his wine from the huge vats – fill ‘er up!The flowers are planted, and the courtyard is clean and ready for lunch. Just a couple of days here to take care of business – so glad we can have one meal in our favorite spot!

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From Blooming Aix to Rosy Paris

Weekend of  January 22, 2017
Aix en Provence & Paris, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to Spring – Aix en Provence for the Easter Festival.

We’ll hop on a train for Paris later today, but just have to take a market stroll one more time! It’s warmed up a bit, and the market’s back to life, with flower-sellers filling the Place de l’Hôtel de Ville as they usually do. Even though it doesn’t last very long, I bought some of that fragrant mimosa earlier this week – it’s such a winter-brightener!
In Place Richelme the daily market is packed – a few winter tourists join the local hordes, enjoying the life and color. All that you need for a warming pot of soup is right here! The thrice-weekly larger produce market has moved from Place des Precheurs  to Cours Sextius, and I notice a few newbies, such as this Corsican vendor. On a corner or two are individuals selling mimosa and violets – perhaps they’ve driven in from east of here, where mimosa grows in such abundance that there are festivals at this time of year!
Good bye to Aix, as we hop on the train to Paris. As we walk to our friend’s home for dinner, the sun sets over the Seine – remember, Paris is always a good idea!
A rosy sky greets us the next morning from our hotel balcony, and we quickly pack up and get ready to fly, leaving ourselves time for one last stroll around the City of Lights. Just around the corner is the Pompidou Center, and we wave goodbye to Dali – we’ll be back soon!

 

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Upstairs and Down in Aix

Week of  January 16-22, 2017, continued
Aix en Provence, France

Interested in a Music and Markets Tour? We’d love to hear from you!
We’re looking ahead to Spring – Aix en Provence for the Easter Festival.

One of Kirk’s favorite things to do in Aix is visit the vintage and consignment stores – he loves the hunt! Some decades-old wines and yet one more Cezanne book are his finds this time….early Valentine’s Day gifts!
Last night it was Lola, the adorable French bulldog belonging to our neighbors across the street, who came up the stairs for a visit. Today it’s Noelle, who came for coffee with Barbara, whom we “met” online through Kristin. After Kristin posted a photo of us when she and JM were over for lunch a couple of days ago, Barbara, her long-time friend, wanted to know where in Aix we were – so we invited her for coffee! Great ideas and hints flowed back and forth…we’ve now signed up for Scott’s Cheap Flights, and after hearing about the deals Kirk found at Oca Deco (that wine and book!) Barbara wanted to know where it was – “let’s go!” we said! And they both bought a few bottles more.
On the way back home – “Want to join us for our “clean out the frig” lunch?” was our next question – so the fun continued as we put together a yummy meal from all we couldn’t take with us on the train to Paris tomorrow! Kirk had some things to place down in the “cave” – our ancient storage place under the building, so downstairs the three of them went. That rosé from Jean-Marc will stay nice and cool til we’re ready to drink it next summer! Afternoon errands are a foodie’s delight….first find the best dessert to take to Xavier’s for dinner tonight, then select some Provençal cheeses to take to Paris for dinner tomorrow (well-shrink-wrapped so that we don’t scent the entire train!). Up the 90-plus stairs to Xavier’s rooftop apartment, and we’re well-rewarded with a feast of truffled eggs – Brouillade. Xavier made this for us a couple of years ago – I think it may have been the first thing made in our newly-renovated kitchen! “Don’t let a morsel go to waste!” we all urge – and Xavier happily complies. We take the long way home, savoring every last minute in Aix…

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