Lavendar Festival in Digne-Les-Bains

IMG_1364One of the many delights of last summer’s six-week stay in France was spending one day in Digne-Les-Bain to watch the Lavender Festival Parade. Block after block of the main street was filled on each side with long tables for the hundreds of parade watchers to sit have a yummy lunch served by local restaurants before the parade began.

With her iced popsicle in hand, my 3 1/2 year old granddaughter cheered for each elaborately decorated float, excitedly pointed out each costumed performer, and clapped and hummed along with each band.


But she held her ears when the Fireman’s Band was too loud.


IMG_1367Even her eleven-month-old younger sister seemed to be having the time of her life watching from her Mimi’s lap.


The highlight of the parade for all of us was the band dressed in traditional costumes that played and “marched” in perfect formation on board BICYCLES!


Goat Cheese on a French Mountaintop



I had to keep my eyes squeezed shut as my son-in-law to-be expertly navigated the hairpin turns on an 800 meter climb to the La Ferme des Courmettes near Tourrettes-sur-Loup. My daughter’s determination to see a goat farm had a happy ending. Our private tour and picnic lunch was well worth it.



DSC03257And the view from the farm was beyond spectacular even with a bit of haze.





Incidentally, one of my all-time favorite photos from my many trips to France is approaching the village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup from the south. Using Akvis ArtWork, I turned the fabulous shot into an “oil painting”.TouretteSurLoup

Bring Paris and Provence Home in Miniature

A must purchase every time I visit France is a few of the J Carlton miniatures of Paris and Provence. On each trip, a few of the charming and very accurately detailed buildings and figures have found their way home in my suitcase.


The majority were purchased at a favorite shop on Île Saint-Louis but I found a lovely shop near the Opera Garnier as well. You can see me in this picture bending over examining my next purchase with the store clerk. I have to take a list with me to ensure I don’t buy the same ones twice.

Enjoy this video of my entire collection. Now if I could just shrink myself down to about an 1/8th of an inch high, I could visit Paris or Provence as my pleasure. 

Provence and Quimper on a Table

P1020647My collection of Quimper china comes from the Quimper factory, from Paris flea markets, from eBay, and even matching petite dejeuner platters from my ancestral home in Maine, a gift from my beloved Aunt Midge. I loved seeing the artists at work in the Quimper factory. Amazing how each of their marvelous patterns is created with only single brush strokes.

Adding just the right ambiance to my table setting is the delightful musical petite poupée I bought at my favorite boutique on Île SaintLouis.

And speaking of La Vie en Rose, here is my daughter’s recording of the Edith Piaf classic which was played to her guests’ delight for the last dance at her wedding (click below to play).

MMM at Home Exchange in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte Baume

P1050461We enjoyed a month-long home exchange in Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume which is a commune in the Var department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region in southeastern France. It lies 40 km (25 mi) east of Aix-en-Provence at the foot of the Sainte-Baume mountains: baume or bama is the Provençal equivalent of “cave”. The town’s basilica is dedicated to Mary Magdalene.P1050470

Mommy, Mimi, and the two Muffins arrived first. Our gracious and ebullient host Marc had IMG_1233the oldest Muffin in the pool and the youngest in his arms before we’d even unpacked our bags.IMG_1235 For those considering home exchanges, having a day overlap of the two families at the beginning and end of a home exchange is a marvelous way to settle in and express gratitude. My daughter used a French home exchange site to find this beautiful home with a pool.

IMG_1239The patio was a great place to relax and enjoy all of our home cooked meals. The interior was Mediterranean modern and spacious with separate bedrooms for each of us, but within earshot of the little ones. IMG_1259The baby, not yet walking, enjoyed couch cruising and both children loved the pool. In another post I will share how our four-year-old was able to attend school in the town for 3 weeks.