Archive for the South of France Category

Awaken To Collioure, France

Posted in French Painters, French Travel, South of France on February 5, 2017 by Therese Waddell

Now if there was ever a place on earth which would make you step back into your childhood, it’s Collioure. Located in the south of France on the coast just a stone’s throw away from Spain, Collioure will take you on a dreamy journey back into time, back into the playground of childish play and easy living.

img_1917

 

Free as a bird, Collioure swings to the beat of a childish drum, its history scribbled with crayon and its air filled with squealing, joyful children and sea salt from her lapping rhythmical tide that washes away footprints of frivolity and dance.

img_1908

Sure, there are some fancy restaurants, Art galleries and cafes lining the esplanade filled with oh so chic leather loafers and boat shoes and flapping whitest of white blouses with upturned collars under wide brimmed Helen Kaminski cane hats. You know who I mean. What you see in their eyes here though is their secret lust for freedom. And you’ll find it here too- the feeling that you get when you feel like your old self- your childhood self with responsibility gone and none taken.

img_1912

I love it here. You can’t help but love Collioure. You’ll be reminded to slap on some sunscreen while you lick ice cream and watch others do cartwheels in the sand; the same sand that massaged the toes of Matisse and his family, or Derain or Picasso and a whole bunch of sun loving, crayon loving class mates.

They stayed for so long in Collioure that they formed their own art group and called themselves “la cage aux Fauves’ meaning “The Wild Beasts’. Something tells me they may have had their own group leader and their own rules like any other groupie. With vibrant brushstrokes and the freedom to paint the grass orange and the sky red, these guys became pretty popular.You can wander round the town and walled harbour…

img_1918-2

and check out their original vantage points and paintings. It’s like Showcase Day at school, only outside. Pretty cool.

Go underwater too and Collioure’s bright palette of sea creatures are frolicking about your Go Pro and swim togs. Everyone’s in on the action here.

And yes, there may be brief times when you think that her playground is too crowded especially in Summer but that won’t stop you from having great fun like you did way back then.

img_1916

img_1914

Trust me, the bell will ring and you won’t want to come inside.

img_1915

 

Visit Collioure.

For more information, visit http://www.france-voyage.com/cities-towns/collioure-26195/tourist-office-collioure-7343.htm

Au revoire!

Best Wishes, Therese Waddell

Copyright Therese Waddell@ 2017

Advertisements

Awaken to Carrières de Lumières- the best thing to see in Provence!

Posted in French Affair, French Travel, South of France with tags , , , , , on May 5, 2015 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour fellow travellers,

Come to Provence quarries at Les Baux de Provence and if your heart doesn’t sing, your eyes will water.

Located in the south of France on the road to Saint Remy,

IMG_8632

6000 square metres of limestone walls are carved from the rock of Val d’Enfer making huge walled galleries. (The limestone and bauxite retrieved was used to build the Castle outside and the city beyond.)

IMG_9086

Once you’ve bought your ticket at the entrance, you’ll escape into an extraordinary world of illuminations like nothing you’ve ever seen before- mesmerising art collections dissected and illuminated onto walls, floors and ceilings.

IMG_8549

IMG_8542

IMG_8622

IMG_8595

I was lucky enough to be a witness to this month’s giants of the Renaissance Collection, showing Michelangelo, Da Vinci and Raphael’s masterpieces accompanied by heart thawing music and loads of dramatic colour. One minute you’re tormented with demons and the firey hell of Michelangelo’s “Judgment Day” and the next moment, you’re happy and gliding upwards towards the cloudy heavens escorted by plump cherubs.

With precision timing, you’re then plunged into the 3D watery depths of Jules Verne’s imaginary voyage, “Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.” Some point and gasp when an enormous ship’s keel lunges towards us

IMG_8571

and others are more than content to explore the exquisite details of a watery world with germinating sea mushrooms popping left, right and centre.

IMG_8583

Past exhibitions include Paul Cezanne, Vincent Van Gogh, Venice, Klimt and Vienna and even Aboriginal art from Australia. We learn that the possibilities are endless in L’Carriers de Lumieres. Spend hours in there and you’ll freeze to death. Get out in time and you’ll be inspired for life.

Go! Immerse yourself in one of the best travel discoveries in Provence…and let us know what you think.

Best wishes and have fun,

Therese

copyright@ 2015 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Uzes Markets!

Posted in French Affair, South of France with tags , , , , , on April 15, 2015 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friends,

We are smack bang in the middle of Uzes and it’s a Saturday under a glorious South of France sun. If we had been here in this very same spot at the Place aux Herbes last January, we would have been among a buzzing throng of truffle loving fans arriving to witness the deluge of soil dropped from on high and jammed with a thousand truffles to be snorted out by local pigs and then cooked up into a massive communal omelette.

As a natural foodie, I’ll admit that it would have been an exquisite adventure into gastronomy. Curiosity set aside though for today we are very content surrounded by the vibrant warm colours of local artisans- ceramists, sculptors and painters and we listen to the wise whisperings of ham preservers and nougat makers, bee keepers and Monastery winemakers. We smell roasting chickens as they swirl in synchronised precision over hot coals and the aroma of paella and fresh, warm nuts cut through the morning light.

image image image image image image image image image image image

Well, we missed the truffle weekend but  I can do without the truffles today.

Make sure you visit Uzes markets when you’re in the south of France. Put it on your list for either Wednesday or Saturday. It’s a great place to be when you’re not truffle hunting!

Best wishes, Therese

Copyright@2015Therese Waddell

Awaken to Provence Cheese.

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Travel, South of France with tags , , , on March 28, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour!

When I think of my experiences in Provence I think of earthly delights and the lines from ‘The Rubaiyat of Omar Kyam’ offer no more perfect description…

“Here, with a loaf of bread beneath the bough

DSC_0285

A flask of wine

DSC_0323

 

DSC_0300

A Book of verse

And Thou beside me singing in the wilderness

And wilderness is Paradis enow.”

I’m certain that Omar would have included cheese in his poem had he visited the Luberon, the beautiful blue circle of  Provence which boasts an extraordinary selection of cheeses such as these…Saint Paulin, Roquefort, creamy bries and camembert, goat cheeses, Banon a la feuille, Picadon and many more.

DSC_0320

 

DSC_0322

DSC_0324

What better accompaniment with Provence cheeses but locally grown, plump strawberries, I will never know.

And neither will Omar Kyam.

 

Best wishes, Therese

copyright@2014 Therese Waddell

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Awaken to Provence Food

Posted in French Affair, French Travel, South of France with tags , , , , , on March 24, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour fellow foodies,

The perfect setting- Provence, south of France. The perfect scenario- lunchtime. Think dappled shade, fresh, local produce, oozy cheeses, plump strawberries, braised herby abundance, fruity wines, friends, laughter, love. It doesn’t get any better than this…

Image

Image

ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage

DSC_0303

DSC_0324

Image

P.S I’m now on the lookout for a stone cottage my friends… blue shutters, garden. You know what I mean.

I’d love to hear from you if you know anyone selling a piece of heaven! xx

Best Wishes,

Therese Waddell

copyright@2014 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Aigues Mortes

Posted in French Travel, South of France with tags , , , on March 16, 2014 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour fellow francophiles,

Aigues Mortes, France.

DSC_0563

Strange name for a place. It means dead water. That can’t be good I hear you saying but beyond the Riviera and this close to Spain, you will find a very different France which is very much alive!

Aigues Mortes is an hour from Nimes by train and it will cost you 1 single euro or travel by car for 41km.

It’s home to the Camargue horsemen and real life cowboys who rule her salty shores and its marshlands stretching  across its 900 square kilometre expanse. This territory with its nature parks and abundant wildlife is the breeding ground for bulls (destined to fight toredors in Spain and the Camargue), wild horses and hot pink flamingoes.

You can ride on the back of a Camargue horse, join in the fun at the horse festivals, listen to the stories of cow herders at the local markets, practise your photography with some bird spotting, walk the ramparts and tower built in the thirteenth century

DSC_0565

and even have a pedicure sitting in a fish tank while the Garra Rufa nibble away!

My french awakening to Camargue restaurants did not disappoint. The Michelin Star, ‘Le Atelier de Nicolas’  is extra special but there are so many cheap, simpler ones where you too can tuck into a bubbling good bouillabaisse or other fishy local specialty…

DSC_0584

and tap your fork to the rhythm of gypsy songs and lyrical guitar.

DSC_0579

Aigues Mortes colours are bright- in cuisine…

DSC_0576

and decor…

DSC_0573

Even the ice cream screams passion here…

DSC_0566

Aigues Mortes- you’re nothing but gusto!

For more information on hotels and activities in Aigues Mortes, go to http://www.ot-aiguesmortes.fr/en/

Happy travels,

Therese Waddell

copyright@2014 Therese Waddell

Awaken to Death in Revel

Posted in Food and Recipes, French Affair, French Travel, South of France, South West of France with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 27, 2011 by Therese Waddell

Bonjour my friend,

It’s my birthday week and it somehow turns my thoughts to life and death and the space in between. From year to year, this space is filled with every gammet of human emotion as well as our  dreams and biggest challenges. We all want this space to be magnificent. I hope it is for you right now.

Thinking about the cycle of life and death led me to thoughts of near death experiences. Those times when we experience a hint of impending finality here on earth and then perhaps something much more.

Have you ever had a near death experience? I mean a profound wake up call to impending death. I’ve read that these experiences are often documented with scientific and even religious significance but I’ve never heard of one that was connected to the taste buds…until mine.

Did you know that the French hold the honour of organising the world’s first ‘Near Death Experience Conference’? Yes, over 1500 delegates including doctors, patients and researchers gathered near the port of Marseille on this single day in 2006. I wasn’t present if that’s what you’re thinking.

A near death experience for me happened while holidaying in the beautiful south west of France in the village of Revel. I was left with one almighty aftertaste if you allow me to explain.

I had great recommendations of a fabulous Saturday market in Revel and I knew it was a lovely village to visit. Beautiful and interesting, it will keep you and yours happy for weeks and more as you wander around among the other nine thousand or so locals with plenty to see and do. But the main incentive for me this time was the hunt to find the perfect cake shop.

It was the divine trio of pizza, boulangerie and patisserie housed under the name of ‘Panetiere’ at 24 Boulevarde de la Republique in Revel which really caught my attention and as many of you will attest, finding the perfect cake is no easy feat. I’ve known maruding cake snufflers who go to great lengths to sniff out the best of cakes or pizzas  for that matter, like some truffle hunting pig and who do not fully exhale until they find their divine sweet or savoury treasure.

My dearest friend who masks sometimes as a formula 1 Driver, did just that. She had found Panetiere- PERFECTION in pizzas, breads and cakes. The Father, Son and Holy Ghost of pastry perfection across the entire south west of France and my french awakening could never ignore any great french culinary skills in pastry making! How could you?

Don’t get me wrong now. It’s not fancy in terms of Paris displays but it does offer divine little cakes and savoury morsels and marvellous pizzas. Rustic alluring pizzas at that. So divine in fact that their triggering of a single salivary gland has potentially high risk factors and I’m not talking about whispers of widening hips and calorific content!

So, here’s the patisserie…It doesn’t look much from the outside except that by now the wafting warm aromas of sweet pastry grew its beautiful tendrils in our direction…

and yes, yes, you will notice I’ve taken the photo from the middle of the road. I underestimated how long it would take to get to the other side and the pace at which the cars came speeding around the corner. Stupid I know. Patisseries and pizza parlours have that effect on me. I can’t help it… I think it’s genetic.

A car swerved to miss me and sprayed my legs with a sudden petrol gust in its momentum. I stood there motionless and of course, in shock. For an instant I felt a bright light. I can’t say how long I stood there. It wasn’t long enough to meet any dead relatives, but I felt transfixed to a bright light  in the patisserie window across the road.

About ten minutes later, on a bench around the corner, I asked myself,

“Was it worth it-the photograph? Sadly, No.

The pear tarte ? OH YEEES!”

For you too when you get to Revel, choose a little spot in the sun  to spoil yourself or find our park bench on Avenue Charles de Gaule around the corner from the shop. It will be the one covered with a few scattered crumbs!

I don’t remember what happened after that euphoric consumption. All I knew was that I had the aftertaste of near death in my mouth and I remained speechless for quite some time which is a shock to some. However, it didn’t stop our eating.

Jean Jacques Charbonnier, one of the French scientists who was present at the NDE Conference, claimed that his patients who had undergone near death experiences, actually felt that it was a positive thing and felt less attached to material things. I couldn’t agree more with the positivity but can one count a pear tart as a ‘material’ thing?

I would consider it ethereal. With a still warm, lightly aromatic poached French pear held in gossamer pastry, I knew why it tasted so sublime, so… heavenly. A gift from God, non?

Travel for miles for your pear tarte or your chocolate ganache if that’s your taste or you may not live to regret it.

Remember the Arbois chocolate hunt don’t you? https://myfrenchawakening.wordpress.com/2010/05/29/awaken-to-hirsingers-french-chocolate-in-arbois/

Life is too short. Death will come. Fill the space between with something magnificent.

Au Revoir,

Best Wishes, Therese

 

Copyright@Therese Waddell 2011