Provence and Paris

“Hey! How do you spell the JOE-ER in bon-joe-er?”

I was shopping in a boutique in a small village in the South of France when I heard a deep voice with a VERY southern accent ask this question. I smiled when I heard his accent. I was happy to hear any English at all, but southern English–my English? Woohoo! Where door is pronounced dough-er. And bonjour is pronounced bon-joe-er. My people!

I looked up to see the source of the voice and saw a man in the doorway texting. He was asking his wife for this spelling clarification before he continued his text. I headed to the front of the store and said, “Oh my good gahsh! Where are y’all frum??”

“Atlanta!” they answered. “No way! Me too! Atlanta, Georgia!” And we visited and chatted and shot the breeze.

It happened over and over again, me meeting folks from the south USA all over south of France. And that is why I now know that the ride in Walt Disney World speaks the truth:

it is indeed a small world after all.

I have been looking forward to writing this post about my trip since I got back home. Why? Because, as Anais Nin said (the lover of Henry Miller when he was in Paris): “We write to taste life twice, in the moment and in retrospect.” She’s right. THAT is exactly WHY I write, to taste life twice. And then when I read your comments and notes you send, well, I get to taste the experience over and over and over again. Just looking at my photos and thinking about my time in Provence and Paris makes me giddy all over again.

Which one was my favorite place that I visited? I don’t know. That’s a tough question to answer. We visited Avignon, St. Remy, Roussillon, L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, and Paris. I think they were ALL my favorite.

The villa we stayed in for most of our time in France was delightful.

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Here’s a typical street in town in South of France.

Narrow, cobblestone, shops, motor scooter, flags.

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And yes, it’s quite true. They close up shop from noon until 2:30. That’s a testament to the way they view life in small town southern France. It’s to be lived to death, not worked to death.

I’ve always enjoyed a good macaroon, but had never had one that tasted this marvelous.

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And look at all these varieties:

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Who could resist?

Shop dogs and cats. I loved this about France. Shop keepers bring their animals to work with them.

Kitty inside store, looking out glass door.

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The sign says that the dog is in psychotherapy. This was at a restaurant.

Speaking of restaurants. This was one of my favorite dishes in my whole trip. It is a seafood cassoulet. Fabulous.IMG_5944

And that basket of bread? It is served with every meal.

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I also had some just harvested, local snails from the nearby Alpilles Mountains. When in France, ya know.)

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YUM

For real, YUM!

Market Day at a village

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Know what these gorgeous purple globes are?

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Smoked meats are everywhere!

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The berries were so sweet and delicious!

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Olives are one of my favorite things in the whole world! I was in heaven. And by the way, green olives come from different trees than the black olives. I’ve always thought the black lives were just riper. Nope!

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Do you see that head on the top shelf? Yeah, I did too. The one on the second shelf as well. And, the guy was carving from a pig’s leg, with the hoof on it and everything. It ALMOST made me want to not eat any more smoked meats. Almost.

And here is one of the villages we visited, Roussillon. Roussillon is famous for it’s ochre dirt. Artists have come here for centuries to use the red pigment in paints and pottery. I saw the dirt and thought: looks like Georgia red clay to me!

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There was another thing that people in France were going wild for that I’ve seen my whole life:

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Cicadas are very plentiful and popular there. Their song was loud and constant. Just like home.

And then we took the fast train to Paris! This was apropos because life in Paris is a whole lot faster than life in Provence.

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It was everything. Every. Thing. And then some.

Instead of visiting the Louvre, I decided to visit the Musée d’Orsay. It had more of the works that I’ve always loved.

Earlier in the trip, we visited the asylum where Van Gogh had spent a (very prolific) year from 1889-1990. He checked himself into the mental hospital outside of Saint Remy after he cut off part of his ear.

Here is the asylum. His room is to the right of the trees, up on the second story.

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His window had bars and this was his daily view. The wheat field he saw was retired just a few years ago.

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To see his works later in Paris rocked my world.Seeing these particular art pieces in person was extraordinary.

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Van Gogh, Self Portrait (1889). Van Gogh sent this painting to his brother, Theo, with a letter that said, “You will need to study [the picture] for a time. I hope you will notice that my facial expressions have become much calmer, although my eyes have the same insecure look as before, or so it appears to me.”

A few of his other works on display at the d’Orsay.

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(His other Starry Night.)

And for you Doctor Who fans out there:

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Renoir, Dance At The Moulin De La Galette (1876)

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Monet, (1899)

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And this also by Monet, of his first wife on her deathbed

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Monet, Camille Sur Son Lit de Mort (Camille on Her Deathbed) (1879)

And I just have to share my favorite Paris hat:

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from this store–which has the BEST sign ever–

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And my favorite Paris dessert, from the famous Angelina’s bakery:

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Every trip has a theme and I think this pretty much sums it up:

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Paris to me was glitz, luxury, lights, and art. Oh, and wine.

Provence to me was friendly, slow paced, goat cheese, and olive groves. Oh, and wine.

France to me was wicked strong coffee, fresh bread, fist-sized figs, succulent olives, juicy-just picked apricots, and oh lordy, croissants that melt in your mouth.

This weekend, I went to my local farmer’s market. The guy who sold croissants told me that he got up at 4 am to make them. “They are as good as the ones you can get in France!” Oh I couldn’t wait to try them. When I told him I had just returned from France, he wanted me me to come back by his booth to tell me what I thought about his croissants. My lucky day! I found some fresh apricots too. Croissants and apricots!

The apricot was good. Not AS good as the ones I devoured in France, but very good.

The croissant? Let’s just say I hid my face behind my shopping bag when I walked by his booth as I left the market. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings. I mean, he had gotten up at 4 in the morning to make the croissants. Who was I to burst his bubble?

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Until next time, Friends, savor the flavor of life!

Lots of love, The City Farmgirl in the Country, Rebekah

Leave a comment 52 Comments

  1. What a beautiful vacation! The food! The views! The art! Thank you for sharing a bit of it with us.

  2. Deb Bosworth says:

    Welcome home! What a great experience… You really took in the sights, smells, tastes and views! It is amazing to see the masters works in person. We have seen many you posted in Boston and the Museum of Fine Arts. They are real treasures. I wish we American’s knew how to enjoy life like our Italian and south of France friends. They seem to know how to slow down and savor life the way it should be. What’s up with us American’s? We pay thousands of dollars to go away to a retreat to ” learn” how to slow down and savor life. Seems ridiculous when you really think about it. And think of all the self help books, articles, seminars, etc. on the subject of stress. I think you captured the essence of slow living…bring your pets to work, close for a long lunch and a nap and drink more wine! I wonder what people do on those long lunch hours??? 😉 Eh hem…
    Hugs to you and thanks so much for sharing your wonderful trip!
    Deb

  3. Kimberly Diener says:

    You didn’t get big enough suit case to hide me in! LOL you would of had to been the worlds strongest woman to lift it! lol! I bet you have enough to write about for a few more months.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Someday, yes! I’ve never had the travel bug, but I do now. I’m 54 and had never traveled. Soooooo glad I did it.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      I had it stuffed to the max! Wouldn’t a trip with all us farmgirls be fun? One day, one day, one day I’m going to do a retreat at the farm! You’re right, though, lots of adventures to share!

  4. Diann says:

    Great story! Awesome writing, really enjoyed it. Someday…sigh.

  5. Diane Van Horn says:

    What a wonderful trip this surely was! I have always pictured myself sipping coffee and eating fresh croissants in a little cafe somewhere in Southern France. Your photos are just as I have pictured it in my head all these years. Thanks for sharing your experience with us. What wonderful memories you and your daughter will have to taste over and over again!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Diane, it will happen, I just know it! Keep your eye out for some deals. It was so worth it. Big time.

  6. Jo Gill says:

    What a great post! I almost felt like I was there. So glad you got to go. Hope you were able to do all the walking you wanted, without foot/ankle pain. Loved the pictures! Thanks.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      So much fun! My secret was a lotion called Two Old Goats. I’d slather that on and wear compression socks. Worked like a charm!

  7. Carol says:

    Wow! I would love to visit the south of France. It looks and sounds like a nice trip and a few good meals.

  8. Mary Rauch says:

    Oh my, what a wonderful write up! I could feel and smell some of your descriptions! Thank you; thank you for sharing your dreamy trip with us!

  9. She'nna says:

    Thank you so very much for sharing your trip with us! You made my day with the Van Gough paintings! Huggs and love from Powder Springs Georgia!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Yes, those Van Gogh’s were breathtaking. To walk in his footsteps before seeing them was so moving. I’ve ordered a biography of his life. He’s my new favorite.

  10. Krista says:

    Your trip sounds absolutely wonderful! Oh how I wish I could take a trip there and explore the world. I have always wanted to visit Paris, but it sounds like the south of France is calling my name more. I love the cobblestone pathways and the idea of pets going to work with you. Plus I have always wanted to try their amazing food. Everything sounds so divine. How on earth did you ever decide what to eat?! As of right now I would pass on the snails, but I bet if I was actually there in the moment I would try them just to say I have! Thank you so much for sharing your trip! Now to start saving for my own trip.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Krista, yes…travel. I’ve always been a homebody, but now that I’ve done it? I realize how important it is. Provence was a place that I could stay in for months. Paris is wonderful too, though. I’m just so glad I had the opportunity to go.

  11. Denise Ross says:

    Oh Rebekah, what a fabulous trip. I really love all the photos. France looks amazing. I really love Monet’s works, he was one of my favorite artists, though I do like Van Gogh and Renoir.
    To coffee in a French cafe, stroll the streets with all their history and quaintness see the French countryside and the co trust with Paris would be amazing. My mothers side orig step from France but they fled the persecution of the French Reformation in the 1600’s. I’m hoping to do some searching to find out where they lived in France before I visit, hopefully February 2019.
    Did you get to Mass in Notre Dame?
    So special you and your daughter did this trip. So many special memories for you both. Will you plan on going back again to see other parts, or is this visit ticked off your bucket list and you have other places you wish to visit?
    I was praying for you both to stay safe and have a wonderful trip too, so I’m glad they are answered.
    Au Revior?
    Denise

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Hi Denise! We didn’t get to Mass at Notre Dame. We had such a short time in Paris and the LINES! Oh my gosh. Sooooo long. Security was tight everywhere too. (which was fine with me!) I’ve never been a traveler, so this was very unusual for me. The stars just aligned and it came together. I don’t have a list. But I was amazed with how easy the trip was. I’d love to travel more now that I’ve done it once. Thank you for your prayers. It was a safe, easy, wonderful trip!

  12. Wendy Curling says:

    I just love this post! Thank you for taking us along on your journey. You have the gift of finding joy in everything you do! The world could use a lot more like you!!
    Welcome Home my farmgirl friend!!

  13. Monicarose says:

    Great read! Fascinating pics! Thanks for sharing! Travel is so adventurous- tantalizing the five senses!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      You’re so right! It DOES tantalize the five senses. I hadn’t thought of it like that, but so true! Not being a traveler, I really had no idea. But I was surprised in many ways by the impacts this trip had on me. The train ride, for example, was 3 hours and I just sat there and listened to all the chatter in French around me. The intonation, the “er”s between words I didn’t understand. I watched and listened to a couple having a heated discussion as they looked and pointed to a map. What could the issue be that’s gotten them so riled up? I wondered…It was a great and eye-opening trip. I now know why people get the travel bug.

  14. Nicole says:

    Love! So glad you had a delightful time. Thank you for sharing with us. I spent 10 days Paris, a few years ago, arriving January 2nd. Paris with the holiday lights and garlands strung across the streets is magical. Though most people think of traveling to France in the spring or summer, don’t shy away from winter – just pack for the weather.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Oh Nicole, I would LOVE to see that in person! Were you vacationing or visiting friends or working or…? I’ve seen some photos of snow in Paris and it def looked enchanted and magical. What a special place.

  15. Cindy says:

    Sounds fantastic! So amazing to visit another culture!! Would love to covert part of my farm to look like the first beautiful picture of the look of Provence! Ha ! I bet the crossants and desserts were awesome!! A great experience for sure !!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Oh when you do that, Cindy, send me a photo! It was a perfect little garden spot. Out of the hot sun, plenty of flowers, so peaceful. Yes, the bread and sweets were the best! Total yum!

  16. Debra says:

    What a wonderful trip. I enjoyed reading your post and looking at the images. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Marilyn says:

    Thank you for sharing your trip to France.
    Marilyn

  18. Joan says:

    Welcome home! and thanks for sharing your trip of my wishes. So glad that you had such a special time. I know what you mean when foods that we eat when on a holiday just don’t taste the same at home. My friends tell me it is the atmosphere that makes the difference. Thanks again for including the superb pic’s. Now back to the real life. God bless

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Maybe that’s it, Joan. Maybe it is the atmosphere that makes the difference! I’m still basking in the adventure and experience. To be honest, real life is a little hard to get back to…

  19. Kathie Welsch says:

    Thank You ! for taking us with you . Beautiful pictures ,Beautiful Paris !

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Thank you for stopping by to come with me. and for commenting. I love hearing from all of you. Yes, Paris was spectacular. Well, except for the traffic!

  20. Ramona Puckett says:

    Thank you for sharing your great trip! Happy to have read about your adventures. I love to travel, mostly by car and a yearly trip to Boston to visit my daughter and her family. It’s fun and you learn so much about yourself and others. I’m dreaming about far off places, people to visit, food to eat…:)

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      What you say is so true, Ramona, learning about ourselves and others. It was eye-opening and mind-blowing. A wonderful thing!

  21. Pamela says:

    Oh, gosh, what a trip! You write so well it was just like I was there! By the way, what WERE those purple bloom balls?

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Those were artichokes. If you look closely, you can see the part under the bloom that looks like an artichoke. They were huge and the purple was so vivid. Beautiful!

  22. Dianne says:

    Reveals: WOW how wonderful it must have been!! Your pictures and descriptions are beautiful. I am a homebody who has never traveled outside the US. It certainly sounds exciting.So happy for you both. Thanks so much for sharing your trip with us. Happy Trails to you.

  23. Renee Fisher says:

    Thank you for sharing your pics and memories! So glad you’ve got the travel bug now! There is SO much “out there” to see and experience. Years ago, I was given a 3-week trip (with Eurail pass) to go anywhere I wanted in Europe. I started in London and worked my way through Belgium, Luxembourg, Switzerland, Italy, the south of France and finally took that fast train to Paris. I walked through Monet’s garden, stood in the sunflower fields that Picasso painted, was served coffee on a table that Napolean had dined on, saw Michaelangelo’s Madonna and Child in Bruges, Belgium…the list goes on and on. And my trip was just a tiny sampling of this amazing world. We expand ourselves when we travel, especially when we visit foreign countries, and we are forever changed. May your trip be the first of many more to come and your life be enriched by each place you visit!

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Wow, Renee, now that sounds like a TRIP!! Who did you travel with? I’ve noticed more and more women travelling alone, doing things like hiking the AT alone, or going places they always wanted to go. I’m so proud of them! The world is ours too, right! Yes, travel is life changing. I’d like to do it more, for sure.

  24. Ruth Merritt says:

    WOW-WOW-WOW !!! You are so lucky. I’m sure your daughter had a great time. What
    a wonderful experience you have given her. Your pics were marvelous and the prose matched. Hope you plan a future trip back to France or somewhere just as exciting.
    Take care of yourself and your sweet family. It is so good to see you enjoy traveling.

  25. Bonnie B says:

    A lovely trip and beautiful pictures! Thank you for taking us along. I’m curious as to how your daughter liked traveling and what did she like the most about your trip? I’m sure it will be beautiful memories for you both.

    • Rebekah Teal says:

      Bonnie, Oh my gosh, she LOVED it! I’m sure travel will now be a part of her life. I’ll ask her what her favorite thing about the trip was. I know what it was not—the LONG plane ride. :)

  26. We all have a need for these life moments of experience actually in the moment of living. All your senses seem to awaken like how one lives in the country. So glad you had such a journey.

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