2CV Easter Egg Rally

Written by Laurence Bry. Posted in Tours & things to do

Join in the fun on Easter by renting a 2CV for an Easter Egg hunt around Fontaine de Vaucluse. Promoting the event with the Tourism Office in Fontaine de Vaucluse is the company 2CV en Provence.

The company  rents the vintage cars for half days or full days. Located in Ilse-sur-Sorgue, it's the perfect place to start your journey to discover the Ventoux, Luberon and Alpilles regions of Provence.  And if you are staying within a 20 km radius they'll even deliver the car. 

For the Easter egg rally budget  58€  for a 4 passenger convertible, a road map, some chocolats and 2.5 hrs of fun on April 2, 2018

Reservations a must : email : This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call  06.45.61.38.63.

If you won't be in Provence until later this summer and you are planning a party or a wedding, they can have a whole fleet available for you. 

Designed in the 1940s by French car manufacturer Citroën the 2CV (deux chevaux or two horse power) has become synonymous with vacation and holidays. Often referred to « La Deuche »a play on the word deux (two) Citroën stopped manufacturing them in the 1990s but vintage car buffs continue to collect them.  No electronic features on these minimalist light-weight cars that make for an entertaining drive and what better place to try them out but Provence?

 

Antiques - Spring 2018

Written by Laurence Bry. Posted in Tours & things to do

Not to be confused with a brocante or les puces, which are synonyms for a flea market, the Avignon International is a huge trade fair that draws exhibitors from across Europe.
It's a morning only (8am - 1pm) antique fair. Numerous stands are sprawled out in both indoors and outdoors at the Exbibition Centre located south of Avignon. Easily accessible with loads of parking. You can sign up ahead of time online as a buyer or just bring a business card if you are in the antique business.

Avignon International

March 29
April 23
May 21
June 18

But if you have time to root and rummage the following 3 towns have their own fairs on a regular basis :

Ilse-sur-Sorgue :

This Provençal town, which has an impressive number of antique stores open year-round including the Hotel de Donguier , L'Ile aux Brocantes and Les Villages des Antiquaires de La Gare  hosts 2 antique fairs a year and numerous flea-markets from April through September. The 104th Antique Fair March 30 to April 2, 2018.

Villeneuve-les-Avignon :

Located across the Rhone river from Avignon town centre Villeneuve-les-Avignon will host a brocante in Charles David Square on the following Saturday mornings : 

March 24
March 31
April 7

Carpentras :

Every Sunday from 10am - 6pm outdoors on the Allées Jean Jaures next to Parking 'Les Platanes'. Many stalls close in early afternoon so best to go in the morning.

 

Camargue Festival

Written by Laurence Bry. Posted in Tours & things to do

Looking for something to do in May ? The Camargue Festival takes place from May 7 -13th with dozens of tours and workshops to select from.

Wood sculpting for kids, kite building, birdhouse making workshops, nature walks, bird watching expeditions and horseback rides through the salty marshes of Rhone River Delta to name but a few.

If you have not yet been to the Camargue region of Provence- it's a step back in time. This is rural Texas à la française, 300 square miles of sparsely populated marshlands home to the local cowboys known as gardians and ranchers called manadiers, along with otters, muskrats, horses, bulls, flamingos and other migratory birds.

Reservations online  HERE

Visit Lafayette's ship that sailed for independence

Written by Laurence Bry. Posted in Tours & things to do

An 18th century replica of LaFayette's three masted frigate, L'Hermione,  left La Rochelle, on the west coast of France, last week and is headed into the Mediterranean. The ship is a copy of the 1780 that transported the Marquis of LaFayette to the States in support of their fight for independence from the British Crown. 

Lafayette, a French aristocrat and a friend to both George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, fought in the American War of Independence (1775–1783). He went on to be a key figure in the French Revolution of 1789. He was made an honorary citizen of the Unites States of America. Upon his death he was buried in Paris with soil transported from Charlestown Massachussets, the location of the 1775 Battle of Bunker Hill. 

Stops in Provence include :
Sète from March 27- April 2
Toulon from April 5-9
Marseille on April 12 -16

Below is a map of all the stops.
Route

You can visit the ship while it is in one of the ports. Tickets are available online
Tickets

Olive tree pruning and Apéro

Written by Laurence Bry. Posted in Tours & things to do

On March 3, 2018 from 9 am-12 pm Château Virant will be hosting a free demonstration on how to prune olive trees by trimming decaying wood and offshoots to ensure the best harvest the following season.

The demonstration will be followed by a wine tasting offered by this award winning vineyard. The domaine is located on the terroir of Aix-en-Provence and is part of that appelation/protected location. In addition to the three dominant grape varieties grown at the domaine (Syrah, Grenache and Ugni Blanc), Château Virant produces olive oil from Aglandau, Salonenque and Picholine varieties that thrive on the clay-limestone slopes that surround the estate.

Château Virant olive oil gained in reputation and holds to this day the best track record of awards in the French olive oil sector. 

If you you are interested in olive oil tasting you can sign up for a tasting seminar at any time. Christine Cheylan, the owner, who is a former President of the North American international contest “The Olive d’Or” (the Golden Olive), will host a tasting for olive oil aficionados.

Sheep crossing

Written by Laurence Bry. Posted in Tours & things to do

    This Monday May 16, 2006 at 11 am over 4000 sheep will be herded through the town of St. Rémy de Provence and taken to higher ground to graze during the summer months. This seasonal move of livestock, up to the slopes in spring and down to the valley in the fall, is known as the transhumance, from the Latin trans (over) and humus (ground).

    St. Rémy is one of towns of Provence that keeps this tradition alive and it is well worth attending - for the photo opportunity alone. The villages of Eguilles and Vinon-sur-Verdon will host a transhumance later in May.  

 

 

 

 

 

Chagall in Les Baux

Written by Laurence Bry. Posted in Tours & things to do

    

     From March 4, 2016 to January 8, 2017 the Carrières de Lumières, a former stone quarry in Les Baux de Provence, will host a new multi-media show titled: Chagall, Midsummer Nights' Dream.  This immensely popular venue, located very close to St. Remy de Provence, hosted over 513 000 visitors during a previous exhibition. 

   Set inside 5000 square metres of a cool abandoned quarry – these light shows meet music shows prepared by Culturespace, long time managers of cultural venues like the Musée Jacquemart-André in Paris and the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Nice,  are unexpectedly magical. Read more here: Chagall

 

 

 

 

 

 

Eco-friendly tours of Arles

Written by Laurence Bry. Posted in Tours & things to do

     There are over 100 historical monuments in Arles built successively during the Roman era, the Middle Ages and the Renaissance. Arles is also home to the most impressive museum of antiquity in France www.arles-antique.cg13.fr.  It is without a doubt a city that must be visited during any trip to Provence to view the immensely rich and diverse architecture that has been exquisitely preserved. 

     And if you don’t have time to walk everywhere try an eco-friendly approach with Taco & Co. They offers a selection of 1 hour tours for 45€ for 2 – 3 people in their vélo-taco or taxi bikes.  Choose from the Roman Tour, the UNESCO Heritage Tour, the Van Gogh Tour or their own Taco & Co Tour that will take you along the quays of the Rhone.  www.tacoandco.fr

 

Gift Giving Season Part 2

Written by Laurence Bry. Posted in Tours & things to do

 

Top 3 Provence Gift ideas for him:

Classic Motorcycle Tour of Provence.  Great selection of one day or several day tours (Luberon hills/coast to Cassis/ Gorges du Verdon/ Camargue wetlands) on your choice of bike from Norton, Enfield or Triumph (to list but a few classics).  Guided tours including motorcycle start at 180 euros. www.classicbikeprovence.com

Hot Air Ballon Tour of Provence.  Discover the treasures of the Luberon mountains. Leaving from the village of Roussillon the balloon will fly over the ocre cliffs, the villages of Gordes, Bonnieux and Lacoste. 230 euros www.bapteme-montgolfiere.com

Truffles.  Staight from the truffle orchard in les Alpes de Hautes Provence. Vacuum packed and shipped by courier anywhere in the world. www.truffe-noire.fr

Open House at Domaine de Rayol

Written by Laurence Bry. Posted in Tours & things to do

To celebrate the changing of the seasons the Domaine de Rayol, which is classified as a “Remarkable Garden” by the French Ministry of Culture and Communication, will have free admission on December 5-6th. Guided tours will be available between 10:30 am until 2:30 pm on both days.  Le Café des Jardiners opens daily at 12:15 for lunch overlooking the Mediterranean. 

The Domaine - located in Rayol Canadel sur Mer (Var) near Bormes-les-Mimosas – is a truly stunning garden with views of the pristine coastline of the Var region. The garden features varieties from all over the Mediterranean basin as well as regions that have similar climates. You’ll see plants and flowers from the Canary Islands, California, Australia, South Africa and Chile that thrive in this location.  

Domaine de Rayol
Avenue des Belges
83820 Rayol sur Mer
Tel : 04 98 04 44 00, www.domainedurayol.org

 

Provence Cooking Classes Part 1

Written by Laurence Bry. Posted in Tours & things to do

Provence not only offers exceptional cuisine but many of those chefs are so passionate about the local produce they work with that they offer cooking classes. I tried and tasted my way through many classes and here is a selection of some of my favorites:

La Petite Maison de Cucuron. 

Michelin star chef Eric Sapet offers a journey into Provencal cooking with each of his classes. Eric personally selects each product he works and he has found  the best local purveyors. There is a good chance that one of them will drop in to make a delivery while you are there and you’ll find out more about how the produce is grown and harvested.  Local purveyors will explain the patience and perseverance needed to produce the best of the best. 

Eric lets everyone take part so it isn’t just a cooking demonstration. He is jovial and generous. He will join you for the meal you and your class mates have just prepared either on the terrace shaded by ancient plane trees that overlooks the basin in the heart of the town square or inside the wood paneled dining room with terracotta tile flooring and authentic Provençal furniture during  the fall and winter months. Classes are available on Saturday mornings only.  As have probably already guessed, the classes offered are in keeping with the seasons. So this fall expect to see mushrooms, game and root vegetables. 

Eric started his career at La Tour d’Argent in Paris before returning south to Les Herbes Blanches and then the Moulin de Lourmarin. In 2007 he purchased La Petite Maison where he was awarded a Michelin star two years later. 

 

 

Le Miramar - Bouillabaisse

If you want to find out what is behind Marseille’s signature dish this is your chance to do so hands on. Michelin star chef Christian Buffa hosts a Bouillabaisse – derived from the words bouillir to boil and baisser to reduce – on the 3rd Thursday of every month.  Originally, fisherman prepared the meal for themselves using their unsold fish. Today it is one of the delicacies of the region.

The class begins with a walk-through of the daily fish market to familiarize yourselves with local species used in the making of Bouillabaisse including the tiny rock fish that are cooked whole for the broth. You will chop, peel, stir and sift along with your group of 5 to 8 participants before sitting down to the meal.

 

 

Chestnuts galore

Written by Laurence Bry. Posted in Tours & things to do

The Var is one of the leading producers of sweet chestnuts in France as is Corsica and the Ardêche. Historically not all regions had access to wheat so chestnuts were ground into flour and served as one of the only sources of carbohydrates. There are innumerable recipes using chestnuts and chestnut flour. And there are also chestnut based beers like La Marrouge from the Var, Pietra from Corsica and Bourganel from the Ardeche. Vendors selling individual portions of roasted chestnuts can be seen in many Provencal towns during the fall and winter months.

The bucolic village of Collobrières nestled in the forest of the Maures mountains has been hosting La Fête de la Châtaigne for 33 years.  It is such a popular event that it runs for the the last 3 Sundays of October. Known for not only its chestnuts but the harvest of cork from the cork oak trees, the windy mountainous ascent to the village is one of the most beautiful drives in all of France.