It’s become a bit of a tradition for my family to visit with my wife’s aunt just outside of Aix-en-Provence each summer. This Saturday, I’ll pack up the wife and kids and whisk them away from all the crazy in California for a few weeks. While there, I will continue to blog, but with a bit of French flare, a lot more photos, and probably a baguette and glass of wine (or two) in my belly.
In Provence, there is no over-scheduled calendar of after-school activities, no pressing work deadlines, no television. Our cellphones get spotty reception. We only have a dial-up Internet connection, and no Wi-Fi. In a word…heaven.
The tiled roof, stucco house we stay at is simple but comfortable. It even has a name in addition to a street address, “La Borie,” thanks to the centuries old igloo-like rock hut tucked up against the olive grove terraces on the property. At one point the borie was probably a hunting shelter or winter home for the local shepherd. Now its residents are a tired old lawn mower, and some rusty garden tools.
I’m looking forward to our usual routine at La Borie. Days often start with sleeping in (it will take the entire visit to adjust to the time change), black coffee and a flaky croissant for breakfast, and then a jaunt off to a local market or tourist spot for a bit of culture. By one o’clock, the intense mid-day heat reminds us it’s time for a leisurely lunch in a shady café, or back home. The afternoon might include work on an enormous puzzle, a dip in the pool, or for a little exercise, tomato harvesting in the garden out back. The afternoon exertion is rewarded with a cold glass of Rosé, and a lighter evening meal eaten on the terrace at sunset. This is followed by an attempt at some post-prandial bi-lingual conversation—aided by a few more glasses of wine or a digestif. There is no bedtime at La Borie, although we all seem to fall asleep before someone asks us to. Then we wake to start the whole thing over again the next morning.
This year, while we visit with family, explore the local patisseries, hike a bit, explore a castle or two, and attempt to keep our children off of screens, I will also be visiting some of the farms, restaurants, markets and–of course–butcher shops that make up the remarkable and delicious French meat system. As a result, the blog will be a little more free flow for the next several weeks as I try to capture things as they happen.
And I need your help! I’ll be in the South of France from July 7-27th and I realized, that some of my readers might have an opinion or two about where I could find the ideal Provencal carnivore experience while there. Maybe you have a distant relative with a sheep farm, a honeymoon story about a delicious picnic saucisson, or a dog-eared article (or Internet bookmark) of your favorite village boucherie. Where should I go? Whom should I meet? What should I eat? Send me your ideas, provide comments below, or message me on the ECB Facebook page. I look forward to your thoughts and feedback!
– à bientôt