Winter in Provence


2011 — can you all believe it?  Obviously this Santa is having a tough time!Many twists and turns in this year..with the last road of 2010 leading to Rognonas, Provence, France, where I have been since mid November.

“Nice and fresh, isn’t it?” ..temperature 20° …

Mistral winds – 65 mph one day, and the next day, calm and sunny skies

Closing the shutters every night…

Trucks lined up by the neighboring greenhouses loading wooden crates filled

with red and butter lettuce reminding me of loading bales of hay at the ranch…walking thru the orchards, onto forgotten railroad tracks, thru the village to the boulangerie for croissants…

The colors of fall…dried leaves crackling underfoot and barren trees..frost on thick turf under fruit and quince trees.. the bus to St. Remy for Wednesday morning markets.

Speaking French with every action happening in the present tense, because I forget to use the past tense, elicits a question mark on a person’s face which slowly turns to a smile as comprehension settles in…going w/Keryn(gite owner) to town and not limited to one sack of groceries because I have use of a car(!)..my skin feeling soft because of all the moisture..not hearing “Rudolph, the Red Nose Reindeer” every three minutes during the Christmas season…………

My dear friend of 36 years, Nancy, arriving and zipping down the country roads remembering days when our children were small…

Christmas Day with the gite owners and their friends — eating foie gras, wild boar and roasted vegetables,chocolate Christmas log, wearing paper crowns, pulling crackers(pop out paper containers with little surprises inside), 2000 piece jigsaw puzzle, Trivial Pursuit game w/looks of expectation on faces when a question pertaining to the States happened, and great conversation with no topic sacrosanct.

Walking by the village folk riding their bikes, men playing boule in the village center… http://www.petanqueamerica.com … see for further definition of boule because it requires more patience than I have to explain it!…

Life goes on and no matter where you are in the world, there is a rhythm, and after a passage of time, we are notes on the scale and following that song.

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Agriculture is alive and well in France.  Trees are pruned so they are kept low for easy fruit picking since all is done by hand.   Also, branches are tied to other trees so they are forced to grow sideways instead of vertical – again since harvesting is done by hand.   Drove up to Vaison de la Romaine – vineyards, villages built on the side of hills & Roman ruins.  Farmers were in the vineyards tying the vines to the wires, and some of the vine stalks are 4′ – 6″ in diameter(how many family generations have picked grapes off that vine?).  Went to a wine co-op and families came in with their plastic containers to fill up with wine for the week! Went to L’Isles sur la Sorgue for Sunday market day, and table upon table of antique everything, clothing, jewelry – then the food sections – fresh beef/lamb/pork/poultry, sausage, cheese, bread, vegetables with everything smelling fresh – made me want to bite the air!

The USA is so-o-o young! And, the plane trees – Napoleon planted these to provide shade for his troops while they were walking and these trees are everywhere, pruned every which way and provide shade for everything  —

Winter time in France is cold and damp — but — the other side of that is:  great boots, coats, hats and scarfs get to adorn one’s body if one is so inclined!  Prices are significantly lower than in the spring, summer  & early fall – hotels are 50% lower in some places, monthly house rentals are 75% lower, no lines for tourist attractions, music festivals are on, roads are easy to manuever, Christmas is celebrated with food, friends and no stress, shopkeepers have time to chat,  weekly markets are navigable……food for thought if you decide to visit Provence from November thru April 1st!                                           Take good care,                                                                                                                                                                         me!

11 thoughts on “Winter in Provence

  1. Hi Lisa! I appreciate your positive spin on cold weather as an opportunity to wear some pretty winter clothes! It has been VERY cold in Tucson the last 10 days — we had 5 or so nights with temps in the mid-20s — brrrr! Our furnace cannot keep up and many plants in our yard have bit the dust. BUT the upside is coordinating scarves with jackets and such. Thoroughly enjoyed reading your recap! I will share it with my hubby as I KNOW he will LOVE it, too! Bonne Annee!

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  2. Lisa, You are having such great success and what wonderful stories. It has been freezing here as well. If only it would get above 28 in the evening and early morning my water pipes would be thrilled. Life is good, remodeling the house again – organization? Well… Love to you mon cher and am really enjoying reading of your adventures it sounds like a wonderful place to be.

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  3. Lisa, Provence really sounds like the place to be for your adventurous soul..How interesting and fun you must be finding it..We have had a warmer than usual December but got bitter cold about 4 days ago..I have had to take Undie warm water for his bucket!! but there is no wind down in this river bottom and it is much milder..just a scattering of snow and about 10 degrees instead of below zero.. Hope to get out and ride within the next week or so..miss you , love Celia

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  4. Lisa,
    This is a really fun blog. It won’t be long and Claire and I will be savoring all the good things that you have described and danced in our heads. Thanks. We will just west of you in the Languedoc near Beziers. Maybe our paths will cross.
    Lots of love and adventure,
    kenneth

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  5. Dear Lisa,
    What a delight to receive news of your whereabouts and doings. Still such fond memories of our trip together in China, Tibet and Vietnam. Bill and I have just returned from Patagonia and Cape Horn, a real adventure of hiking and climbing glaciers. So much fun. Lots of flora and fauna. We are headed to Egypt, Syria and Jordan next, then home for an extended period.
    Your adventures delight me. Love the photos and accounts of it all and, of course, your sense of humor. Always wonderful.
    Happy New Year to you. Love to stay in touch. You are an inspiration.
    love, Kathy

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  6. Lisa,

    Sounds like you’re having a good time despite a few set backs. Love your letters and your photos. Christmas sounded like the best kind of holiday with games, food, paper tiaras, and good friends – my favorites.

    So missed your updates while without computer. Glad to hear from you again.
    Wish I was there. Take care and enjoy!

    Best, Sherry

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  7. Bonjour Lisa – I am presently in Provence at Mas St Antoine. I arrived on March 8 and depart on April 2. I have been here solo for the past two and a half weeks loving every minute – my sister and one of my friends arrive today. One of the things that made my final decision to stay here was your blog. You are a wonderful writer. I have a blog also but my writing is not nearly as beautiful. However, it will be a wonderful diary for me when I get home. If you care to take a look, it is ww.onmyowninavignon.blogspot.com.
    I am 68 years old and decided I better travel more now while I am healthy. I envy your two years on the road. I will be away for 5 weeks in total – off to Barcelona on April 4th to meet up with my daughter. I wish you many more wonderful days of travel. Barbara

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    • Thank you so much for your nice comments. K1 & K2 are great great hosts, are they not? And the bakery — I am absolutely sure I supported that bakery !!! Glad you “hit the road” — the older we get, the harder it is to head out..I am in So. Italy right now w/my sisters…and enjoying traveling w/therm — love to travel alone, but, always nice to have it broken up w/friends and family — so — you take good care, enjoy the special moments in France.. and maybe we will connect sometime… one never knows!!! Thanks again for the email…

      me!

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