Author Archives: backyardprovence
Most days at the office, I don’t leave for lunch. I get into doing my work and I usually just end up eating my lunch at my desk and just keep working through lunch time. Sometimes I’ve even forgotten to eat lunch! Very American, right?? There have been only a few occasions where I’ve said, “This bites and I’m going to enjoy my lunch time”, but those have been few and far between occasions.
Well, the other day, Dude and I decided to cash in on my lunch savings and we headed for the local boulangerie. Like most boulangeries these days, they have something called a Menu Formule where you can have a sandwich or salad, along with a drink and dessert for around 7€50. That, folks, is a steal.
Dude opted for a salad, ice tea and a tarte framboise while I got the poulet cesear sandwich (which is oh so delicious with the dressing and feta cheese), a bottle of water and a tarte fraise with Chantilly on top. Grand total was 15€. Money well spent, I would say.
Then we headed off towards the beach in La Ciotat which happens to be about 5 whole minutes from my work. Luckily, the tourist season has not quite started yet and we were able to find some free parking close by. We only had to walk a short distance and we found a nice bench under some trees to shade us from the sun. Viola, a two hour “vacation” with a spectacular view.
It’s times like these while I’m quietly enjoying my lunch and looking out onto the Mediterranean that I ask myself why I don’t do this more often. I don’t think I’ve quite transitioned, yet, to the mind frame of taking a proper lunch to rejuvenate myself.
I was never able to do that since in The States you’re lucky if you get a whole hour for lunch (I have friends who only get 30 minutes!) and that doesn’t leave much time to enjoy your lunch when that one hour includes drive time to get to a restaurant! One always feels like their rushing and can’t really enjoy lunch let alone digest it.
I do vow to take more two hour vacations this summer. With this sort of view, how can I not?!
In France, there are a lot of households that hang their clothes out to dry from their window. I always thought this was a bit odd since there is so much dust and dirt from the cars driving by, not to mention all the times people have forgotten their drying clothes and left them out in the rain (unless that was how they were being washed), and of course, there’s the wind that’s always blowing here in Provence. That alone means there’s a good chance that someone might lose an article of clothing every now and then.
Well, some suspicions came true the other day while walking through a local village. It seems that someone had lost their “chonies” while hanging them out to dry! What a great surprise for the neighbor it must have been when he went to open his window the next day and saw his neighbor’s underwear stuck on his volet holder! He probably got a good chuckle out of it.
I’m sure it happens quite a bit here. I guess you can’t be a person easily embarrassed if you live in a village house!
If it were me that had found the underwear on my volet holder, I would have told one of my kids to go stick it on their head, run upstairs to the neighbor’s and when they answered the door, to just point at their head and say, “Ummm, you missin’ something important?” Knowing my son, he totally would have done that!
To all my blogging friends out there, I have to say that I am a bit behind.
These last few weeks have been a real struggle at work. I’ve had several projects on my plate to complete and I found out last Friday that I acquired a few more. This, coupled with another issue Dude just found with our house, has made it a whirl wind end of June.
I apologize to those out there whose blogs I read and comment on religiously. I have not forgotten about you or left you by the way side, I promise. I’m just a bit behind and hope to catch up soon, like by the end of the week! I’ve managed to write a few posts of my own, but even that has been a struggle to find time to do. Last weekend I vowed to take it easy and just run around and see the sites. It was a much needed rest from the past weeks for me.
Now that summer is here, Dude and I were hoping to start on the bathroom remodel, but the house has other plans for us. About a week ago, Dude was doing some work in the kitchen and he found a large crack in the floor tiles that extends about half the width of the kitchen. Apparently one of the beams in the garage that is supporting the kitchen floor is giving way and now it needs to be reinforced.
He said there was a couple of ways to do it and one would be to take out the existing beam and replace it. On any other house I would be fine with that but this is one of the original beams of the house that was put in around 1776, so that would be a big NO in my book to replace.
The other idea was to reinforce the wooden beam with a metal I-beam. It would run alongside the wooden beam and then down either side of the garage. I think we will probably go with that idea, but now Dude has to start another search project for what we need, and how it’s going to be done. It also requires welding equipment which we don’t have. It’s still an idea in the works and he isn’t quite sure how it’s all going to come together but it’s something that needs to be resolved quickly. The tile in the kitchen is super nice and it will end up getting ruined since the one side of the floor has moved and actually sinks in a bit. It isn’t too bad, yet, but it will be very soon.
So there you have it. Work and house taking priority! I still have visions of one day waking up, the house is done, and all I need to worry about is what village I’m going to sight-see in that day! It better be coming soon, but soon is probably next year 🙂
Oh, by the way, little creatures have started to visit us for the summer. We have suddenly found scorpions and centipedes in the house! That’s always nice, isn’t it??!!
This little guy wondered in one evening. His funeral was that same night.
With summer upon us and the days in Provence becoming increasingly warm, we have opted to stay indoors during the mid-day to keep cool and venture out for our travels in the cooler evening hours. The bonus for us is that by the evening time most of the crowds and tourists have left and we get to enjoy the scenery with only a few others.
Last night our choice for an evening outing was to Le Pradet, a small village in the Var that is situated just next to the Mediterranean Sea. The village has installed a nice walkway along the water that stretches for about one kilometer and they have also put in benches so one can take a rest and just gaze out at the ocean. There are two restaurants in close proximity to the walkway, one it L’essentiel and the other is Le Samana.
Continuing south you will find some hidden away stairs leading down to the rocky beach. Once on the beach you can head left and you will come upon a Sentir Littoral. This is one of the many located here in Provence and it is a nice path that follows the ridge along the water on which you can stroll. Last night we only encountered a hand full of people, but mostly we were the only ones enjoying the lovely view of the sea from this advantage point.
The end of the trail leads you down to the port where there are a few restaurants. We stopped in for an evening snack of crepes abricot and refreshing drinks.
After our “dessert before dinner” snack, we followed the trail back to the walkway with the benches and finished the night off by watching the sun set. A perfect end to a relaxing evening.
About a week and a half ago while Dude and I were shopping at the market, I happen to hear a mother and her son speaking American. Yes-that’s right, I said American. The reason why this was so shocking is that in the middle of the nowhere area of Provence that I live you don’t hear American too often.
I approached the mother and son and asked if they were from American and with wide eyes the mother replied, “Yes! Are you?” Well, of course I said yes and she was surprised as well when I told her that I lived in France. Now, I tell you, I’ve never seen someone more excited to see a fellow American than this lady. The minute I told her that I was a Provencal girl she wanted my number and was inviting Dude, myself and Tinki over (it just so happens that she has a daughter the same age as mine). She said that she had lived in Provence for a long time, but was never around any Americans. Her husband is French and her children go to French schools. She was so happy to speak to an American that I thought she was just going to leap over and hug me! Her son reiterated that fact that his mom was dying to meet another American to chat with.
Well, we hit if of right there in the market and chatted American for about an hour and a half and by the end of the conversation she had invited us over for a day at her place! We nearly closed the place down that night and when there was only 30 minutes to closing we exchanged numbers, promised to give each other a call to hook up and took off like lightening speed to finish our shopping before they kicked our American behinds out.
Fast forward to mid-week.
I gave my new American friend a call around Wednesday and we decided that this past Saturday we would hooked up. So on Saturday morning we headed out to their place and oh my goodness is their place amazing! They have the most wonderful view of the Mediterranean Sea and vineyards just in front of their yard and their house is the most adorable Provencal house ever!
It was an unbelievable how marvelous the weather was. Not a cloud in the sky and just a light breeze.
My new friend made us Cobb Salad for lunch with bread and cheese, of course, and Dude chatted it up with her husband. We ate on the terrace overlooking the water and it was just breathtaking.
After lunch, we picked apricots, mulberries, almonds ( and some other fruit I don’t know the name of ) right off of their garden trees and then we sat around and chatted some more while munching on them.
We got the grand tour of the area and the story of the family.
They also have a cute little dog name Spot and guess what?? My most favorite animal of all, a turtle 🙂
It was one of the most delightful days we had spent out in a while. I tell you, we have the best times with American girlfriends who are married to French men! It’s always nice to chat with a fellow American girl all about peanut butter, Dr. Pepper, Pop Rocks and Hugh Jackman!
I can never say enough how much I love the area in which I live. The minute I leave my house and turn down the first street, I am hit with the most magnificent views of hills and vineyards.
Dude and I have started taking evening strolls since the weather has warmed up and the sun hangs in the sky until nearly 10pm (I love that). We tried to take a stroll during lunch one day, but it’s now proving to be too hot so I guess we will stick to our early evening walks.
The center of town in our village is small compared to some, but there are many houses and streets that surround it. There are also some nice hikes in the area and one of them is easy to get to once I leave my front door. I heard from the town maire that our village consisted of only a little more than 1000 people in 1970 and over the last 40 years has grown to be around 6000. Even though that is still a relatively small number, the growth is impressive. I guess everyone else likes the surrounding scenery, too! As a result of the growth, there are a number of really nice areas in which to walk and take in not only the view, but all the different styles of houses. It makes for a very enjoyable evening.
The last couple of days and evenings we have been venturing out more often. Come and take a quick stroll with me. I love sharing what is literally, in my back yard.
On Sunday we headed off to the little village of Signes for their antique car show. The weather could not have been more perfect that day. Nice and warm, but not too warm, with a cool breeze.
Lots of car enthusiast turned out for the event and there were plenty of cars to see. We ended spending the afternoon looking at all the wonderful cars on display. Some were from France and Italy and some were of course, American.
Not only were the cars a treat for us to look at and enjoy, but so was the scenery. The village of Signes has some of the most picturesque hills surrounding it.
Here were some of the cars on display as well as some of the beautiful hills and countryside of the village.