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

July 26, 2017

Summer concert and a vineyard picnic

Château La Coste, a place where exceptional art is set amidst vineyards/beautiful vistas & restaurants, does a series of summer concerts and outdoor film screenings. The sun casts rich champagne light at the end of Provence summer days. That place absorbs it perfectly. Xavier and I went to see a jazz concert in the Frank Gehry piece there. The art is positioned to respond to the light and the trees and the grass around it. It is like Storm King in New York, but here in Provence. Just magical.

We packed a picnic (in a classic picnic basket given to us recently by a good friend). I am sure picnics are not generally allowed here, but we found a path on the far side of the vineyards and arranged ourselves in the grass, among the escargot-lined blades and the horizon, in its end-of-day flush.

July 12, 2017

Abbaye de Silvacane

There are three Cistercian Abbeys in Provence dating to the 12th century. One is in the hills near our house. Colette and I had a date after school one evening to go explore the Abbaye de Silvacane. Colossal proportions, stark, stone, simplicity. Just breathtaking. And just us.

June 30, 2017


Life seems to be made of the right stuff for us at present. It is a good mix of exploration, girls, play and sunshine.

1, 2, 3 soleil - a favorite. Best played while still in pajamas, despite it being time for the goûter.

Tea party galore. Little polka-dot suitcase with a dinette that has occupied these two every day since Colette's birthday (good gift, papa Joly). They rotate being queen, princess and twin. They take the cushions from the outdoor chairs and set a place for all. Serving up dirty water and caillous (gravel) from the garden, sprinkling in flower petals, mint and rosemary - all freshly picked.

Making soup

Garden bounty. Pears - a sweet little pear Jean-Marie (former owner) praised on our first tour of the house. Now we've tasted them! La Poire de Saint Jean (~June 23)

And apricots! In two days time, I consumed at least 75 straight off the tree

A little papa coiff-ing/bookshop on the couch

Morning legs

End of the day light - summers days end this way perpetually. Souse me in this, such a luxury

Performances! Our grand ballerina, Mademoiselle Marguerite, performing at the UNESCO theater in Paris. She is a true talent - hovering over her peers and just as graceful as can be

Colette's school performance, dancing away with the other children of our Provence village. So sweet. Smiling so wide watching her.

Who needs a swimming pool when you have a plastic tub

Little Romy dreamily watching the falling rain. When it rains in Provence it comes down in sheets. Just incredible to watch. Romy is only this quiet when she is observing something in nature. And Colette has been conducting a broad survey on lightning. "Have you ever been struck by lightning? Do you know anyone who has been?" (She remains riveted by events in the natural disaster realm)

Fountains remain a magnetic force for these two

Street performers too. The streets of Aix remain a magnetic force for me

Puppies in Provence! A good friend of mine has 10 puppies! The girls and I went to visit and Colette was deep in love - those eyes

Singing in the rain. Witches on brooms. Raindrops on bare skin. Abandon

Walk down the lane with trusty basket

Emptying pebbles out of slippers next to village fountain. Non potable, but water everywhere

Good news! Madame Maîtresse's fears about Colette's style of writing gone - Colette was awarded "I know how to hold my pencil correctly" in her end-of-year evaluation. Phew!

And baskets of doudous and animals

June 26, 2017

Swarms of nature

The other day we heard an intense buzzing sound - like a swarm of a thousand bees. And that was it. A swarm. They had chosen one of our big plane trees in front of our house for their new hive. For 30 minutes I thought we were being attacked - a thick cloud of bees above our heads. Lines of bees in geometric stripes up and down the camouflage trunk of the tree, leading to the hole where they were installing their new home. And then it was over and just a few bees were left buzzing around. They are all just inside there. We just stood there watching, amazed.

We read up on 'swarming' - the scout bees who come in advance and find the right location, the quorum of bees who agree on the spot and then the grand move with the queen.

Every day we are thick in nature. I am so happy for that. The girls wade through flowers and watch bees and beetles and lizards and toads. They find cicada skins and Colette describes their molting process (with finesse en français). Coming here, it is what I wanted most for them. It is everywhere, but we've found a spot where nature comes through really strong.

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