The South of France

10-Days in Provence & along the French Riviera with Culinary Instructor Karen Gros

Gallo-Roman Vaison-la-Romaine

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in The South of France, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

Gallo-Roman Vaison-la-Romaine

Vaison-la-Romaine was inhabited during the Bronze Age, and in the 4th-century BC, the upper city of Vaison became the capital for a Celtic tribe. A place of vital significance in the early history of Provence, Vaision-la-Romaine extends on both sides of the river Ouvèze, with an upper self-contained medieval quarter with the look and character of a hill-village.   From the 18th-century, most of the town had moved back down to the plains by the river, thus forming the “new” town. The Ouvèze River flows between the low-lying new town of Vaison and the rocky spur on which the...

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Seaside town of Cassis

Posted by on Sep 17, 2014 in The South of France, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

Seaside town of Cassis

“One who has seen Paris, but not Cassis, has seen nothing!” (“Qui a vu Paris, et non Cassis, n’a rien vu!”) – Provençal writer Alexandre Dumas Located in the département of the Var, the seaside gem of Cassis (not to be confused with crème de cassis, a specialty of Burgundy which takes its name from the French word for black currants) sits on the Mediterranean coast about 12 miles east of Marseille. The village encompasses rolling hills of picturesque vineyards which descend into a scenic port. Cassis produces its own wines, white and rosé, from the surrounding...

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Dinner with our French family in Marseille

Posted by on Aug 13, 2012 in The South of France, Travel with Karen | 0 comments

Dinner with our French family in Marseille

One of the highlights of my trip to Provence is weaving in time with our French family.  My husband is from Marseille, and the majority of his family is still there. My sister-in-law Christine and brother-in-law Claude graciously invite us over for a buffet dinner with family in their charming garden. Needless to say, a delightful time was had by all.  It was the first night of the tour, and as was hoped in the van to depart, one traveler exclaimed, “WOW, how are we ever going to top THAT?” Franco-American buffet with our French family in Marseille Colorful and diverse buffet...

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French conversation with our niece Elise

Posted by on Aug 10, 2012 in The South of France | 0 comments

French conversation with our niece Elise

Our niece, Elise, is a linguist who teaches French to foreigners.  She lives with her fiancé, Sébastien, on his family winery nestled in the rolling hills of the St. Tropez peninsula. Elise guides us on a seaside walk, followed by a lovely lunch and French conversation.  Lunch is composed of Sébastien’s grandmother’s recipe of anchoïade (thick anchovy vinaigrette served with a platter of crudités), quiche lorraine, baguette and cheese plate, fresh fruit tarts and the famous tarte Tropézienne.  Sébastien joins us for a presentation of his AOC Côtes de Provence wines...

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Meeting locals in the South of France

Posted by on Aug 10, 2012 in The South of France | 0 comments

Meeting locals in the South of France

My mother-in-law is a piano teacher with students of all ages.  What a pleasure for my group to be able to meet Madame Emilie in her home in the hilltop village of Castellet surrounded by rolling vineyards.  I had heard about Mme. Emilie because it was she who recommended our restaurant for lunch, but we had not planned to meet her.  While wandering in the village, I mentioned to a shop owner that Madame Larrieu is my mother-in-law, and she cheerfully informed me that she knows my mother-in-law well because she comes to the village every week to teach Mme. Emilie, who lives just next door,...

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Hanging chandeliers in the garden

Posted by on Aug 1, 2012 in The South of France | 0 comments

Hanging chandeliers in the garden

On my Provence & Mediterranean coast trip, we visit the beautiful Rothschild Villa & Gardens on elegant Cap Ferrat.  During the afternoon of our visit, we witnessed the gorgeous grounds being transformed into a reception venue.  Images of the evening to come danced in our heads. The rose pink facade of the villa contrasts beautifully with the blue sky and green lawn. Workers in the gardens installing chandeliers Elegant chandeliers suspended mid air ~ magical! It’s hard to imagine a more lovely place for a reception Photos by Sallye...

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