Provence in December

Old Dec 29th, 2022, 02:47 PM
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Lunch at Chez Paulette - the special white fish with vegetables and a hard-boiled egg

My bouillabaisse - very tasty with a rich broth

Chez Paulette - we have eaten here several times and always enjoyed our meals

So pretty
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 02:55 PM
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Ancienne Eglise Saint-Laurent

Ancienne Eglise Saint-Laurent

The museum is now located here

One of the pathways to the ancient ruins
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 03:02 PM
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The ruins of the Ancienne Eglise Saint-Laurent - built during the 12th century

Love the old tile rooftop
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 03:05 PM
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Ruins of the ancient church

The bell tower - the original was destroyed during the French Revolution
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 03:09 PM
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The ruins of the Ancienne Eglise Saint-Laurent

Views of the Alpilles from the hilltop

Panoramic view from the hilltop

Eygalieres' street
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 03:13 PM
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Yummy window display

Lovely home in Eygalieres

Eygalieres street

Christmas window display

A pretty display
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 03:19 PM
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Originally Posted by rhon
Great report. It must be lovely having family in Provence and be able to make lots of visits. I think we would wear out our welcome if we had family in France!!! Having local knowledge as well lets you visit some places the average tourist might miss.

We visited Bonnieux in 2014 and walked up to the church. Your photos brought back happy memories.

Looking forward to more.
rhon, you are right that "having local knowledge lets you visit some places the average tourists might miss." If it wasn't for our daughter, we would not know about Eygalieres and Senas. They are not in the guidebooks!
I am happy to know that my photos brought back happy memories for you! Thank you for your kind words.
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 03:22 PM
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Originally Posted by gooster
Lovely pictures of Bonnieux. We stayed a few years ago just outside the old town (near the Chateau of Mayles fame), in a lovely B&B. The Belgian owners were down to open for the season -- they said Easter to early November, and then things shut down. They gave us their favorite restaurants to eat in the town, which was so great. Some very nice vineyards close by as well, made for an excellent stay

Since then, we did meet a couple that bought a house just outside the center. It is such a seasonal town, that can be challenging, but the peak tourists are nothing like Gordes or Roussillon.
How lucky for you that you were able to spend some time in/near Bonnieux! It is wonderful, isn't it? I fell in love with Bonnieux immediately and can't believe this was our first visit after visiting Provence for 10 year!
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 06:28 PM
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Debbielynn, ANUJ, Progol and Zebec, thank you for your compliments.

The salads I ordered all had large amounts of pastry wrapped cheese, which I love, but it’s probably not as healthy as I thought .
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Old Dec 29th, 2022, 10:12 PM
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I love the street scenes, the food, the interesting homes, really enjoying this.
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 11:32 AM
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Loved your pictures from Eygalieres. I've been through but didn't stop -- it does look like a real provencal village, less touched by the masses (though being December also culls the tourists)

(for the others) I believe your husband had le grand aoili or aoili provencale (sometimes just written as aoili, the sace). It's very typical as a plat du jour on Fridays, not just in that village. Quite a healthy choice, as well (you don't need much aoili to dab on the steam ingredients as it is so pungent -- just have some breath mints handy!).
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 11:59 AM
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Fantastic report. We were there in 2016 and enjoyed three fantastic meals. A beautiful town. Fun reading. Thanks.
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 01:17 PM
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Originally Posted by gooster
Loved your pictures from Eygalieres. I've been through but didn't stop -- it does look like a real provencal village, less touched by the masses (though being December also culls the tourists)

(for the others) I believe your husband had le grand aoili or aoili provencale (sometimes just written as aoili, the sace). It's very typical as a plat du jour on Fridays, not just in that village. Quite a healthy choice, as well (you don't need much aoili to dab on the steam ingredients as it is so pungent -- just have some breath mints handy!).
Gooster, you are absolutely right! The fish my husband had is aoili provencale; the sauce is made from olive oil and garlic! So, yes, have breath mints handy! The waiter told us what the specific fish is but I forget. It is always a white fish.
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 03:44 PM
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St. Remy and Aix en Provence

We visited St. Remy, which is one of my favorite villages in Provence, even though it is touristy. St. Remy makes a good base for visiting many villages, especially the Luberon villages, Pont du Gard, Les Baux, Arles and Avignon. It’s very pretty with a good selection of nice shops, restaurants, and cafes. The Glanum archeological site is located here, and the Monastere St-Paul de Mausole (monastery turned asylum where Van Gogh admitted himself in 1889) is very close to Glanum. If I remember correctly, we walked from the asylum to Glanum when we first visited St. Remy many years ago.

I don’t have any photos of St. Remy to post because my grandchildren are in the few photos I took. On this visit, we had lunch and did some Christmas shopping. I shopped in every village we visited! I purchased lavender oil, lavender-scented soaps, fragrant teas, jams, foie gras, duck pate, honey, kitchen tea towels, and gloves and put together Christmas gift bags for family and close friends. And brought home several bottles of red wine for Christmas!

Aix en Provence has a special place in my heart. That is where our daughter lived for several years when she first moved to France, and we visited many times. I love the Old Town, the plazas, fountains, Cours Mirabeau, Cezanne’s studio, and the many shops and cafes. The Musee Granet is a wonderful art museum, and I remember one time walking into a choir rehearsal at Cathedrale St.-Sauveur.

On this visit, I bought quite a few boxes of tea for gifts at Kusmi Tea. We shopped at the Christmas stalls lining Cours Mirabeau. The stalls have a rustic, cabin-like appearance. And there are amusement rides at the end of Cours Mirabeau. If our grandchildren were with us this day, they would have spent all day on the rides!

We had another very good lunch at Brasserie Le Verdun in Aix. I ordered a whole fish (Dorado) with delicious grilled vegetables. My husband had a tripe stew. I looked up the restaurant for reviews, and it gets very good reviews on Yelp but poor reviews on TA. Maybe we were just lucky but our food was very good that day.

I will post a few photos from Aix, but I don’t have a lot because I was concentrating on shopping!
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 03:51 PM
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My lunch at Brasserie Le Verdun - whole fish with grilled vegetables. I don't have a photo of my husband's tripe stew.

Christmas market stall

Christmas market stalls lining Cours Mirabeau


Last edited by KarenWoo; Dec 30th, 2022 at 03:53 PM.
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 04:10 PM
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Panorama of Provence countryside - close to St. Remy

Beautiful Provence countryside - even in December
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 04:56 PM
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And last but not least!

So we wake up on December 15, the day we are supposed to fly home, and I have received a message from Lufthansa that our flight from Marseille to Munich is CANCELLED! They rescheduled us for the next day flying on Swissair with a layover in Zurich. Were we upset??? NOPE!!! Of course, we are fortunate that we have a free place to stay; we are retired so we didn’t have to be at work the next day; and we get to spend an extra evening with our grandchildren and our daughter who just returned home from her business trip! All I had to do was extend our car rental for one day and call my dentist to reschedule my appointment.

Even though it was raining, we decided to go out sightseeing since everyone else was at work or at school. Our daughter recommended a coastal drive near Marseille along the corniche President John F Kennedy. It is pretty but it probably would have been more spectacular if the sun was shining and skies were blue. But we still enjoyed the drive which goes through the Parc National des Calanques and ends at Port Les Goudes, where we stopped for some photos.

It was still early enough so we decided to drive to Cassis for lunch. We had visited Cassis once before about 10 years ago in nicer weather. I remember a boat ride to the Calanques (coves), a seafood dinner at the Cassis harbor, and the aborted drive along the Route des Cretes. That day, after lunch, we started driving up the Route des Cretes, described as “a gripping 15km of hairpin turns on this seasonal, coastal road, meters above the rocks and wild breakers below.” I had read that sometimes the police close the road when the winds are dangerously high. When we started off, the road wasn’t blocked. When we got to the first look-out point to take photos, it was nearly impossible to get out of the car because of the strong winds. Our youngest daughter was with us, and she had to crawl on her hands and knees to snap some photos. I am not exaggerating! I couldn’t get beyond the open car door. I think my husband had to crawl, too! We have never encountered such strong winds! When we got back in the car, fools that we are, we actually tried continuing the drive uphill. But within minutes, a police car was coming towards us and instructing us to turn around and go back. They were in the process of closing down the road. So, needless to say, on this very rainy and windy day in December, we didn’t even attempt the drive. I am sure the road was closed.

We had another delicious seafood lunch at one of the few restaurants that were open, located on the harbor. I can’t find our receipt so I don’t remember the name. We shared a plate of oysters; then I ordered the moules et frites (mussels and fries); my husband had grilled sardines. Both of us enjoyed our meal.

Then we walked around the harbor a bit, took some photos, and then headed back to our daughter’s house. And we had an uneventful flight home the next day. I like transferring in Zurich. We have done this several times already, and it is always very orderly, although the lines at passport control were long, but everything is very well marked. We had to walk a distance, take escalators, take the tram, and we got to our gate just when boarding started. The plane did wait for some late passengers, so that’s nice to know they do that.
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 05:03 PM
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Along the coastal route south of Marseille

Along the coastal route south of Marseille

The fishing village of Port Les Goudes

Raw oysters in Cassis

Delicious moules et frites

My husband loves his grilled sardines!
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 05:10 PM
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Cassis harbor

Boats in Cassis harbor

Along the waterfront

Cassis center

Cassis center
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Old Dec 30th, 2022, 05:57 PM
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Your meals look wonderful. We love sardines. We live in a provincial city and do not get fresh sardines so we like to buy some and cook in France, although I do not think we did last trip ( 2018 ). Will have to rectify that next year when we return at last.
You had a lovely trip . Thank you for sharing.
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