Memories Of Provence

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

La Cadette

I honestly think the older I get, the harder that jetlag thing becomes. Maybe it is simply that each time it becomes a tad bit more significant in emotions and events. I did give myself the weekend off to do the mundane "back from vacation" routine and spend some time with B. and our friends getting re-adjusted.

I also took time to write down some sort of schedule as my work time is pretty much spoken for until this April. I look forward to come here on this page and unwind with more recipes and stories!

La Cadette

In that spirit and to tell you "Thank you" from the bottom of my heart for reading, laughing, frowning and smiling with me, I put together a little basket of French goodies I picked up on my trip to give away today. Head to the end of the post for instructions on how to enter...!

La Cadette

In the meantime, on to the Southern part of my trip back home. I do hope my aunt and uncle won't mind my posting about their gorgeous home and the wonderful meal we had when we stopped there on our way from the Alps to Aix-En-Provence. I am so proud of the work they have done, I can't help share some pictures.

La cadette

I have always thought my aunt Agnes should have been a stylist or an interior decorator and this visit proved it once again. They basically bought a ruin in Provence with 4 walls, a roof and pretty much nothing you could call a home inside. Today, they have turned it into possibly the most peaceful retreat one could think of.

La Cadette

I don't tend to carry my camera to every meal I attend but I knew that lunch at their place would be the perfect opportunity to make you part of an everyday meal for us. French food and cooking is always surprising. A perfect mix of intricate, controlled preparations, detailed methods and a more relaxed, everyday cooking which makes going out a true fete and dining in a celebration of simplicity.

La Cadette

With the myriad of regions, provinces and history in France, it's not uncommon for visitors to go a tad bit crazy over the fantastic food. I know I do everytime I come home but really French cooking is nothing but a strong appreciation for seasonal foods and the cooking methods that bring out the best of it. Simple, fresh, fragrant. And Provence is naturally perfect for that.

La Cadette

I just wrote myself a sticky note to ask my aunt for her confit de carottes recipe. Melt in your mouth slow cooked carrots that held their shape perfectly right up until you'd close your mouth upon them. Then it was an explosion of sweet and savory, garlic flower and thyme.

La Cadette

Aix-En-Provence

We ate and drank and took our time to appreciate the scenery before us. So much so that we made our way to Aix-En-Provence in the later part of the afternoon. The sun falling down over the city was casting a gorgeous golden glow on the house fronts and pebbled streets.

Aix-En-Provence


Aix-En-Provence

Going back there was a treat for all of us. My father went to school at the Institute of Political Studies there and got a bit emotional showing me his first apartment right on the Cours Mirabeau. We spent quite a bit of time in that area retracing steps to stores, restaurants, and other places we used to visit.

Aix-En-Provence


Aix-En-Provence

Things have inevitably changed since we used to live in the area but a few things remain as we remembered. The markets, the plazas, sitting at a cafe listening to an open air classical concert. Fountains, facades, shops...it was good to be back even for such a short stop but we had somewhere more important to be.

Aix-En-Provence

Going back to my old village of Calas-Cabries was amazing in ways I can't explain. In the five minutes I was out of the car, everything came back. The streets, the turns, the walkways, the shortcuts. My first bike fall, my first crush, my first dive...Trees and bushes had taken over the front lawn in my old house and that was just as well. I could almost hear us play in the pampa's grass again and not think about the pool newly installed.

Calas

Time and life change things. I did not expect anything upon returning home. Expectations ruin things most of the time. The old village had not changed however. The church where I did my communions, the central plaza where I did my ballet recitals. All these years spent there becoming the person I am today. I finally started making sense of myself to myself.

Calas

The chapel on the hill where we'd have Scouts meetings. It was good to be home and take a walk under the pine trees and to hear the kids running around at recess. Nothing like a trip home to reset the human clocks right.

Calas

It's good to be home now although I am already planning another couple of trips out West! First is BlogHer Food in San Francisco October 8th and 9th. I am honored to be back as a speaker on a photography panel with my buddy Jen from Use Real Butter as we share the same view about conferences being teaching tools not mere presentations of what is or should be. Sharing is key. We hope to see you there!

Aix-En-Provence

1303 comments:

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Kelsey said...

Makes me want to be there!

montague said...

my oh my. if this isn't an outstanding giveaway, i don't know what is!

Rachel said...

Best giveaway ever! And gorgeous photos too!

Beth said...

I want to dive into a pool full of those figs and never come up for air. So gorgeous.

Anna aka.BeachMama said...

I have not been to France since I was 7 years old and every time I see photos I wish I had been just that much older to really appreciate it. I hope to return one day and your photos just push me one step further to getting there again. Thank you for sharing your trip home with us.

Kirsty said...

Ahhhh....looking at your pictures brings back such fond memories of traveling to Provence. Aix is one of my favorite places to visit.

Sanne Pieters said...

I would LOVE to win that beautifulbasket

Yael said...

Your photos are so amazing and what a great giveaway!

Rebecca said...

This post makes me long for France. I spent a year there as an exchange student and haven't had the chance to get back since. What lovely photography and what a lovely gift pack!

drellabella said...

The macaron napkins make me swoon! Thank you for sharing these wonderful photos!

H said...

Your photos and stories evoke some of my fondest memories and stir my desire to travel much more. It's getting to be fall, and I want nothing more than to be at home baking and crafting! : )

Megan said...

Gorgeous pictures! I dream of someday visiting France...but it will be awhile. Thank you for bringing a bit of the beautiful country to us!

erin said...

Your photos are magnificent and transport me to France with every new glimpse. I still haven't gotten my heart back since my first trip to that amazing country. I hope to return one day soon, but in the meantime I got to go back through your images. It was a lovely trip!

erin@erinyaeger.com

figandfennel said...

That is a LOVELY giveaway. Your photos are beautiful, as always!

erin said...

Thank you for the magnificent photos! I still haven't gotten my heart back from my first visit to that amazing country of France over a decade ago. I plan to return one day soon, but in the meantime, your images have transported me back. Oh, it was a lovely trip. Thanks again.

erin@erinyaeger.com

Elana said...

An amazing post and gift! Your blog continues to delight me both with your recipes and photographs.

Jennifer said...

These photos are so pretty. Really makes me want to hop a plane and head to France. Thanks for sharing your wonderful trip.

Cat G. said...

Gorgeous photos, as always! Fingers crossed...

Nina said...

Love the beautiful pix

Brad said...

That basket looks especially delightful, and the trip sounds like it OK as well.

Yumi @ Natsukashii said...

What beautiful images!! I feel like I've been transported to France myself. What a generous giveaway!

Dawn (KitchenTravels) said...

Your aunt and uncle's home is so gorgeous, as are your photos. Thank you for sharing a bit of your trip with us!

Pat said...

I think it's hard going home, and easy, at the same time. What beautiful pictures of your trip, along with your comments!

Hayley and Bill said...

This is one of my favorite posts of yours... ever! The stories and photography are so honest - its hard to find people that can be open like you anymore. We love the blog!

Sweet Tooth said...

Yummy. :D I'm so jealous of your trip.

kwonton said...

Le sigh...

I am starting a change jar today to save for a trip to Provence. :)

Gabytiaby said...

I love all your photos! its like you could smell every dessert and be in every place you are!

Shan Shea said...

Oh, what a dream!

Shannon

Synapse said...

I just had a friend ship off to Paris to study abroad. I hope she visits Provence and tells me all about it. :)

jane parks said...

Your photos are wonderful. They send me along as your "guide".

emy said...

I just wish that we have such lovely scenery to escape to in Singapore!

Maryline said...

Magnifique. You made me realise what a wonderful country we come from. I'm a French expat too. You made me want to travel to Provence next summer. Merci.

Jillian said...

I miss France and would love these treats! <3

Skyflyer3 said...

Beautiful pictures!

lani.av @ gmail.com

Tina said...

I love your pictures- they are breathtakingly beautiful. I have been to the South of France only once, but it was amazing!

pam, minneapolis, mn said...

I've been following you on Twitter and on your blog for over 6 months and delight in all the posts. The photos and writings about Provence inspired me to look at my photos from my travels there two years ago. So magical and calming for one's soul. Thanks for sharing your insight with us! pam, minneapolis, mn

Lynn in Tucson said...

Lovely post. C'est vraiment quelque chose les rentrees, non?

Meg Martin said...

What beautiful, evocative photos - thank you for sharing them!

HLEure said...

What a lovely giveaway! I miss France so much...and I'm jealous that you get to live in what is possibly one of the next best places in the world--Charleston!

Thanks for hosting the giveaway!

Emily said...

These photos are simply stunning. I have only been to Paris, and I've been dying to go to Provence!

Alfredo said...

Great Pictures!! Beautiful place!!!

I hope I can visit Provença sometime!

Maxine Parrish said...

What lovely pictures! I would love to visit France again someday.

Betsy said...

When I traveled around Europe after college I just stopped in Paris, but your pictures have inspired me! I am going to plan another trip to France and really explore! Thank you for such a beautiful post.

courtney said...

It all looks wonderful. Thanks so much for posting and for the contest as well.

Amy said...

Such a lovely post - makes us realize what "home" is - such a beautiful part of the world. Now I want to try those carrots.

Marsi said...

Just got back from two weeks in Gap visiting friends. Best village I visited this time around was Moustiers-Ste-Marie. Your photos bring back a lot of new memories!

Please enter me in the draw. What a fabulous giveaway!

Marsi

Nea said...

Beautiful Pictures! hope i will be lucky enough to visit there someday :)

joy said...

Your pictures are amazing! So beautiful. Love those napkins.

Sarah said...

Your photos are beautiful, they capture more than I think I would be able to see in person, it made me wonder just how great it smelt when you were in the shops or just walking around outside. Thank you for making me feel like I was in France for a few moments.

Julie said...

How gorgeous! If I don't win, I'll just have to make a trip to France myself!

Tammy said...

What a wonderful time you spent with your family. The pictures are absolutely wonderful.

Jenny said...

I'm late to the party, but oh my goodness. Oh my goodness.

PLilR said...

I CANNOT WAIT TO VISIT MYSELF!! Your photography is breath taking!

LeahSavitsky said...

Love your blog, glad you got to take a vacation.

Nantucket Mermaid said...

I would spend hours in La Cure Gormande just looking at the tins and colors and yummy confections! Thanks for sharing....maybe someday we will get to visit that lovely shop!

chroniclesofasingleton said...

Your pictures are always beautiful.I hope to visit Provence someday.

Kate Kintzel said...

amazing shots and wonderful memories. Cheers to you and your family for taking a trip down memory lane. Love the basket of goodies!

Cindy said...

Your pictures are so beautiful, they bring back fond memories of a trip my husband, daughter and i made in the 80's.

fleabaggins said...

Beautiful photos and so grateful for the gluten free recipes!

MJ said...

Helen, thanks for sharing your pictures! I visited Aix, St-Remy, and Arles (you could call it a Van Gogh pilgrimage) last year and your images brought back wonderful memories.

Starla said...

Your photos are beautiful! Looks like you had a wonderful time!

Hollis said...

Oh, what gorgeous photographs! I'm so glad I came for my Tartlette fix before heading to the grocery store, I'm thoroughly inspired. Merci!

Nicolle said...

The fountain with the pipe in the man's mouth reminds me of something similar I saw in Peru. Thanks for sharing your pictures and your stories! =)

Avery at Britex Fabrics said...

I am always looking for food blogs to link to for Britex Fabrics' blog, and just discovered yours. We linked to your blackberry and apple galette with burnt sugar ice-cream recipe yesterday in M. Du Jour's post!
Best - Avery at Britex Fabrics

Donina said...

Oh my! Have I missed the deadline? Hoping not :-)

Love the photos, absolutely gorgeous!

Shabina said...

Gorgeous photos! I want to visit France :) But in the meantime, a taste of France through the gift basket will suffice! I hope I win!!!

the agniels said...

oh, i would absolutely LOVE to win this!! my mom and i went to france when i was in high school and this would be a great reminder of the amazing food we tasted there!

diana said...

The pictures from your trip look absolutely lovely. I cant wait to visit France some day :)

fancy pantalons said...

Sigh. How absolutely lovely! Many thanks for sharing these gorgeous photos of your trip.

Elaine said...

Oh, how positively lovely. Looking at everything gives me such a delicate, "lifting" sort of feeling.

Christina said...

I love your pictures, and I would love to win that beautiful basket and dream about someday traveling to France. Thank you so much for sharing your pictures with us!

Artemis said...

Wow! Your trip looks absolutely beautiful... how wonderful :)

Abbie said...

I found your blog through La Fuji Mama, a friend of mine from our Paris study abroad days. I love your photography and of course everything about France (my second home!). I'm having fun going through and reading old posts.

Amber said...

What a beautiful post! I actually showed my sister, she and I want to go to France so badly. Your post had us ooohing and ahhhing over the photography and lovely scenery. Thanks so much!

shevilkenevil1 at aol dot com

Michelle Landwehr said...

So beautiful! My husband and I just returned from the South of France, where we spent part of our honeymoon. We miss it!

Noshings said...

I feel homesick looking at your photos and Ive never even been there. Truly a beautiful place. Thank you for sharing =)
-nicole

Beatriz said...

Oh my god, that basket looks amazing.. I only ever visited Paris (and EuroDisney) but France is in my list of top countries, for sure.

Punctuation Mark said...

your images and post are so inspiring and beautiful... will feature this post on saturday's post

Loul@ said...

Bonjour, je ne sais pas pourquoi vous n'avez pas publié mon commentaire, surement à cause de mon mauvais anglais.
Sans rancune et bon week end.

Helene said...

Loul@: votre commentaire est en page 6:
"Thank you for your beautiful pictures and sorry for my bad english. I love so much this part of the France. When my father lived there, I liked to visit the famous Marché de Provence; the smells, the colors, the people...."

San rancune...

Your commentary did get posted - on page 6.

Have a great weekend too!

Ms Licorice said...

As always your photography is breathtaking...your styling is so unique that it transports my mindseye to places...like I am really there.

Sheilah

adli said...

Hi!! just wondering.. is the blue fig-looking fruit really is a blue fig?? or it's something else??

Elena Christine said...

This is gorgeous!

Emma said...

Everything in that basket looks delicious!

keighley@thebellalife said...

I am so sad I missed the deadline however I just had to comment and tell you that this post made me CRY!

LOL I am so serious. Something about you talking about your childhood and resetting human clocks right. It really touched me heart and I want to say thank you. Then the pictures... the pictures could send anyone into a tailspin they are so gorgeous.

I've never believed in reincarnation however I see pictures like the ones you posted and I feel such a strong connection to then that sometimes I question if I've been there before... oh the questions of life ;)


Thank you for being inspiring Helen or is it Helene? (sp)

xoxo keighley

The Asymptotic Faery said...

Such amazing and gorgeous photos! Truly inspiring...I've always wanted to visit and see France.

Although I've never been, I feel like the energy of the country would feel very kindred upon first visit.

bethbrownables said...

I know I'm late, but these pictures, this basket of treats make me think of my time in France when I was little (dad working for Michelin).
Thanks for the sweet reminder!

Ella said...

You make me want to travel again!

Brilynn said...

Thanks for taking us along on your trip, beautiful photos!

Michael said...

Beautiful! Can't wait to experience it in person - for now, the photos and goodies will have to do.

m_j_s72 at yahoo dot com

WanFen said...

Bonjour,

Je m'apelle WanFen. Je suis Singapourienne. Je parle francaise un peu et Je suis e'tudiante a l'alliance francais.

Well, that is as much as my french goes for the moment : ) Well, I just wanted to say a big thank you for your blog, I've learnt to make yummy birthday cakes and at the same time pick up on more french words : )

I really hope you and your friends will visit Singapore one day so that I can attend some of your interesting workshops : )

Merci beaucoup

Sini said...

So great photos! I should visit someday in Aix, as it's only 1hour away :)

Pri said...

Loved your pictures!! And I miss France!

Pri.

Jamie said...

Such beautiful photos! SO glad you had a great time. Your post brought back lovely memories of my first trip to Provence...one of the best places on earth.

Katie K said...

Hi! I would absolutely ADORE that basket full of goodies! Please pick me!!!!! :-)

kathryn.hankins@gmail.com

Alyssa has Pink Antlers said...

mmmm... you make me want to say toodles to my savings account and buy tickets to France... yum!

Riikka Kovanen said...

Your photos give such a serene, beautiful feeling of France, it almost brings tears to my eyes :) Sounds like you had the most lovely holiday.

Emily Glass said...

Hi Helene -- your photos are as delicious as your recipes always look! One question from a budding photographer: when you were at the Cure Gourmand, for example, did you ask permission to take the photos of the merchandise? I always feel so awkward, and I don't know whether I should take photos. I was walking by a boulangerie the other day and I wanted to take a photo but I was too nervous that it would be an invasion of privacy. Any advice?

Helene said...

Emily: I always ask for permission first. That way I am relaxed and they have a way out if it's that much of a problem.
Much like my husband asks "do you mind if I speak English, my French is really bad" when we are visiting France.
Hope that helps!

lindsay harmony said...

Gorgeous photos and a gorgeous giveaway!

Sonya said...

Gorgeous blog! I just included it in "10 Food Blogs You'll Love" http://www.travelinggreener.com/blogs/10-food-blogs-youll-love/.

Heidi - Apples Under My Bed said...

Oh, I heart Aix so much. Thanks for this delightful trip down memory lane.
Heidi xo

kitchenarian said...

Beautiful, beautiful pictures.
What a great site.

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