⪧ We left our life in New York City to make a new one in Provence ⪦

December 11, 2017

Le Sapin

Xavier always picks the fattest ones. Ambitious, even in his tree selection. Nutcracker effect - the tree dwarfs the rest of the room. Romy, Colette and Marguerite were wide-eyed and leaping around (breaking ornaments, naturally). The lights were tangled and each girl wanted to be the star placer, but the general effect was a dash of Christmas magic. Our Danish au pair was trimmed and made shiny (the girls love her, we all do). And now we gather around the tree to read stories and sit in the twinkling lights.

I love this moment when lived through three little girls. Colette has had a lot of Christmas questions this year. Esteban’s (her amoureux) mother informed him that there is no Père Noël and he sadly unloaded this knowledge onto Colette. Kind of confusing because throughout the month of December at school, the girls learn 20 Christmas carols for the Christmas performance and all bad behavior is reprimanded with the threat of Père Noël withholding gifts. Colette is perplexed. Romy just wants chocolate and presents. Marguerite wants to jump high and do flips on a trampoline. Fingers crossed for them all.

December 2, 2017

The snowy day in Provence!

Snow is a rather extraordinary event in this part of Provence. As if to bring in the month of December and Christmas, we woke up to it! The girls were frantic, trying to piece together their ski gear to get out and roll around in the white powder they all knew so well in NYC. Our yard was transformed - just magical.

November 30, 2017


I’ve been running a lot in Provence. I love to run in wild places…often where I am more likely to come across a wild boar than another human (or hunters! fluorescent shorts and hair ribbon!). I’ve made a friend in my village with whom I’ve been running for the past year or so. She is British and has lived here for almost 20 years and knows the best wild trails I now run regularly on my own as well. Up through hills and olive groves and cherry tree fields and lookouts onto the Montange Sainte-Victoire. It’s made me a bit obsessed and I ran a 15K with 1,000 ft gain last weekend with pleasure. Next I am going for the 20K in the Calanques between Marseille and Cassis. It provides a good excuse to get to hard-to-reach places with views to die for and light that inspires.

Wild trails near our house lead to a château down the road...still feels wild - in the winter there is never anyone around. We often run with my friend's puppies - here is beautiful Cassius.

New York

Xavier and I have started a new work project that has taken us to New York twice this month. Whirlwind trips - 3 or 4 days. The highlight, of course, was seeing my two brothers who live in the city. And running in Central Park.

New York has enjoyed a protracted autumn this year, the leaves all still in glory in the park. With jet lag I was ready for a run before 5am and had to wait hungrily for some light. I ran with my brother Stephen one morning. We talked about the USA and the blustering political and cultural mess. I have this gnawing feeling that my culture is sick. Sick in a profound way and it makes me hesitant to even want to be there. I read the news from our village in Provence and feel a sense of incredulity. So, it was refreshing to go back and recognize the city and the people and the cultural forces that I hold dear. All the best parts. Looking at the faces on the subway, in the park, the city - people from every imaginable place and circumstance all jumbled together. It was so reassuring. Stephen made the good point that the cultural counteraction - bringing to light the pervasiveness of sexual harassment, etc is probably in direct response to the current forces at work. There is good coming of it.

And the city through the lens of Central Park is so fine.

November 16, 2017

Île des Embiez

I like pulling out a big paper map of Provence and the Côte d'Azur, tracing the coast to find any inlet or island I've not considered. We set out for Île des Embiez recently as a result. Almost at our fingertips. I pinch myself every time we do one of these day trips; this region is so densely packed with haven after haven. The more time we spend, the more I also appreciate that ability to go to each off-season. (I wouldn't go near this island in July or August).

We drove to Six-Fours-les-Plages and found the ferry boat that crosses to the island every hour. We hiked around the very small island (part of the Paul Ricard islands; he is buried here) and found a steep path down to a splendid looking beach - right up against a cliff wall. We sat on the rocks and had a picnic, considering the clear, turquoise water below. Then, despite it being the end of October, we all spent time splashing in it.

Marguerite, Colette and Romy climbed up the rock face and the little girls begged Marguerite to help navigate their steps down. I dislike saying no and 'be careful,' preferring to let them do things that seem precarious to them. Even to fall a bit. Sometimes we bridle Romy because she is totally undaunted by fear. Colette is naturally very cautious, thinking of all the potential effects of any action. Marguerite naturally falls in middle and guides both.

We all went down to the water and climbed on the rocks. I love how naturally industrious kids are. Marguerite and Colette had soon found purpose - gathering rocks of a specific size out on a rock island in the water. Back and forth with energy, rippling the jewel colored water with their tummies.

I had a short swim and then made my way along the sharp coast of rocks to explore. I came upon this swimming hole. It was something out of a dream. My feet for scale.

I would say we will be back, but there are so many places along the shore I want to explore!

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