Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Where to Stay in Provence? A Roman Quarry!


Calling all wanna-be cave dwellers! Get in touch with your inner troglodyte by vacationing in this one-of-a-kind stone home, built within a Roman quarry in Provence.

Located five km from Bonnieux--near the villages of Gordes and Roussillon--the Carriere St. Symphorian is the home and studio of husband-and-wife architects Philippe and Lien Jonathan and their two boys ages 8 and 11.  And they love to welcome travelers from all over the world.

Philippe, who lived in nearby Aix as a child, first fell in love with the Luberon while biking its winding roads as a teenager. He went on to a career in Paris, built the quarry house as a vacation property and moved the family to Provence full time in 2013. Today he designs residential projects across the South of France--houses, gardens, pools and greenhouses--as well as public buildings in France and elsewhere. Lien works with Philippe on all projects...and you can see their striking work here

Looking for property in the Luberon back in late 1990s, Philippe wanted something "different and challenging"--not the typical mas or bastide. When a realtor showed him the site in 1997, it was derelict, overrun with vegetation and had been on the market for many years.

"Previous buyers had been put off by its inaccessibility and lack of services," Ruth Corbett wrote in a Sunday Times Magazine story in 2012. "But Philippe was mesmerized from the moment he set foot in it."

"I am an architect which means I am a rational man," Philippe chimes in, "but concerning this I am irrational. I felt that the place had chosen me."

The quarry dates officially to the 12th century but archaeologists say that Romans were cutting limestone here 2000 years ago. Stones from this quarry were used to build the nearby Apta Julia Theater and the Château de Buoux, among others. During the final chapter of the quarry's life, workers excavated the mountain itself using the “chamber and pillar” technique, which resulted in the space that the Jonathans now call home. At one point 20 workers lived in its humble dwellings, until it was finally abandoned in 1930.  It took Philippe and Lien ten years to transform the rubble into this magical property.

"There are not so many places where I feel so good," Philippe told the Times.

There are a couple different ways you can stay here. You can rent a room in the quarry house (it's called "Situation Exceptionnelle" on Airbnb)...or rent a small separate house called the Eagle's Nest. During the month of August, you can rent the entire property, although the first two weeks are already taken.  Occasionally the Jonathans also rent out the grounds for events such as art exhibits, concerts and weddings.

The "Situation Exceptionnelle" (quarry room) is for two people only, consisting of a bedroom with a 160 cm bed,  bathroom (shower, sink and toilet) and a small living room/lounge.  The 60-square-meter Eagle's Nest--with two bedrooms, two bathrooms and a small lounge area with a fridge--can accommodate a couple with two children. 

All guests have use of the infinity pool--carved into the rock, with exceptional views of the Luberon and three historical monuments--plus the pool house with its small outdoor kitchen.

The property has three hectares of outdoor space so you and your imagination can run wild in a totally tranquil setting.

The Luberon is a vast regional "parc naturel" and one of the most-popular areas of Provence. The serene rolling landscape of farms and vineyards is dotted with perched Medieval villages and laced with paths and trails, perfect for hiking and biking. Tennis, golf, kayaking, hot-air ballooning, historical sites and multiple outdoor markets are nearby. Bonnieux is roughly one hour from the Avignon TGV (high-speed train) station, from Aix and from the Marseille/Marignane Airport.

Rates for the quarry room and Eagle's Nest are range from 130€ to 170€  per night, including breakfast, for a minimum of three nights. 

Want more info?

See a video of Philippe and his family at home here....

Read the Times Magazine story here (if you have Times access) or here  (if you don't)...

And see the "Situation Exceptionelle" and the Eagle's Nest on Airbnb here and here. (Change the language to English at the very bottom of the screen, then click "translate" within the text itself.)

Then, for further questions and booking, contact Philippe: jonathan.architectes@orange.fr, +33 4 90 71 70 88.

Photos:  (1 to 6) Various indoor and outdoor spaces including the room (photo #6)--called "Situation Exceptionelle" on Airbnb--that you can rent. (7) The stone infinity pool and its view. (8) At night, parts of the quarry site have made a mystically beautiful space for concerts and other performances. (9) Come into our cave: Lien and Philippe love to welcome guests from all over the world.  (10) A site overview from Google Maps.  Click on any photo to enlarge it.

Still looking for the perfect Provence vacation rental? We can help! Email me: whattodoinprovence@gmail.com.--Julie

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Two Cool Events Coming Up This Week...


Two events caught my eye for this week, one happening in Paris on Thursday and one in London over the weekend.

Tech blog Rude Baguette, which tracks the tech and start-up world in France, will be holding its winter Paris Founders (or #ParisFounders) event on Thursday, January 28. Launched in 2013, Paris Founders "brings the global tech ecosystem together for the country’s largest networking event" four times  a year. Speakers will include investors Jacky Abitbol and Gil Dibner; Damien Bon of Stuart (a delivery startup that raised €22 million pre launch); COO Yann Lechelle of Snips; Microsoft's new startup leader Diana Flippova; Keyrus CEO Eric Cohen, CEO Franck Melloul of i24 and others. Different countries and cities are often showcased at these events and this time, it will be Tel Aviv. "Paris and Tel Aviv have long been interconnected as ecosystems, financially and entrepreneurially," explains Paola Gabriele of Rude Baguette. "In addition to showing off great founders and products on stage, we'll be bringing out special guests who are involved in both the Paris and Tel Aviv startup ecosystems."  The format for Thursday evening will be startup pitches, followed by keynotes, followed by a networking cocktail. Planning ahead, future Paris Founders events will focus on San Francisco (April) and London (July), with a large international two-day one in Paris in October. Some success stories and alumni info can be found here. For Thursday tickets and all other info, click here.

The annual France Show--the UK's biggest celebration of all things French--happens at London's Olympia this weekend, January 29 to 31st.  The organizers call it "the best of France in a day."  You'll find 150-plus exhibitors promoting French food, wine, tourism, vacation ideas, finance and legal help, entertainment and more, all under one roof.  (To see all exhibitors, click here.) Roughly 15,000 attendees are expected. As in previous years there will be a French market, cooking demos, tutored wine tastings, a language theater, a chance to play pétanque and entertainment. The France Show also hosts the largest French Property Exhibition in the UK, so if you're hunting for real estate, this is a great place to start.  There will also be prize giveaways, such as a gourmet cycling holiday in Southern France, a week-long stay in the Dordogne, a canal boating trip, luxury weekend breaks, an Apple Watch, a bike and more. Tickets are £16 at the door or £12 in advance.  Children under 16 accompanied by a paying adult are free. For all the show info including directions, hours and a schedule, go to: thefranceshow.com.

Photos: Two scenes from the last #ParisFounders event at the Hotel de Ville in Paris followed by three scenes from the last France Show at Olympia in London.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Contest: Who Makes NYC's Best Baguette?


*Note: Here are the winners for the Best Baguette contest I wrote about just below. Eric Kayser of Maison Kayser took home the grand prize by both reader and jury’s choice. A Special Jury Prize was awarded to the two runners-up for best baguette, Amy Scherber of Amy’s Bakery and Jerry Jan of Breads Bakery, and Clemence Danko of Choc O Pain took home the Special Fan Prix. Epicerie Boulud was acknowledged for the Most Original Bread, and Orwasher’s Bakery was named Best Specialty Bread.

Gentlemen, start your ovens! Fourteen of the city's best bakers and pastry chefs will be battling it out for the title "Best Baguette in NYC" at the Sofitel New York on Thursday January 21st.

The event starts at 6:30 pm and is open to the public; info on tickets is below.

The competition pits the finalists of a readers' poll conducted by the online magazine French Morning against each other, in a blind tasting judged by an impressive panel of experts.

Vying for the title will be: 

* François Brunet (Epicerie Boulud)
Keith Cohen (Orwasher’s Bakery)
François Danielo (La Boulangerie)
Clemence Danko (Choc O Pain)
Zachary Golper (Bien Cuit)
Eric Kayser (Maison Kayser)
Jean-Claude Perennou (Cannelle Patisserie)
Hervé Poussot (Almondine)
* Gus Reckel (L’Imprimerie)
* Uri Scheft (Bread’s Bakery)
Amy Scherber (Amy’s Bakery)
Le District
Fairway Market 
* Le Pain Quotidien

The professional jury: 

*Chef André Soltner (dean of classic studies at the French Culinary Institute, NYC; James  Beard Lifetime Achievement Award winner; former chef-owner of Lutèce).
*Ariane Daguin (owner/founder of D'Artagnan; winner of Bon Appetit‘s Lifetime  Achievement Award).
* Chef Didier Elena (culinary director of the Chef’s Club by Food & Wine; former exec  chef of Alain Ducasse at the Essex House, where he earned two Michelin stars).
* Sylvain Harribey (exec chef of Sofitel New York and Food Network alum).
* French novelist Marc Levy.
* Sara Moulton (TV chef, author, Food Network alum).
* Charlie Von Over (bread expert and author of The Best Bread Ever).

Event tickets are $30 per person and include a tasting of the baguettes (each chef is allowed two types), charcuterie (from D’Artagnan), cheeses (from Savencia) and wine (from Les Jamelles in the Languedoc).

To buy tickets online, click here.  If space is available, they'll also be sold at the door. 

The Sofitel is at 45 West 44th Street, between Fifth and Sixth Avenues in Manhattan. 

Questions? Contact: daniel.harpaz@sofitel.com212-782-3013.  

Photo: Le Petit Parisien by Willy Ronis, 1952.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Win a Week in a Gorgeous Provence Villa


To celebrate their 25th year in business, my friends at the rental agency JustFrance.com are giving away a week in their most-popular villa in Provence. 

The Grand Prize winner of the #justfrance25 promotion gets a glorious one-week stay at La Tourelle, a renovated 18th-century farmhouse near Vacqueyras and Beaumes-de-Venise, in the heart of the Southern Côtes du Rhône wine country. La Tourelle has a heated pool, two acres of grounds and spectacular views over the northern Vaucluse. The prize can be used by up to six guests during one of two weeks: either May 14-21 or May 21-28, 2016. 

Included in the package are a welcome basket, a chef-prepared welcome dinner, your fridge stocked for breakfast on Sunday morning and a half-day guided tour of local vineyards with a wine professional. The retail value is $6,325. 

A second-place winner will get $1000 off a rental of $5000 or more. Third prize is a gift box of elegant personalized soaps, made in Provence by Comme un Murmure

The #justfrance25 anniversary giveaway is open to U.S. residents only...for all the details and to enter, click HERE. The deadline for entries is Feb 2 and the winner will be notified by Feb 7. 

To follow JustFrance.com on social media, find them on FacebookTwitterInstagram and Pinterest.

Good luck to you all on winning this great giveaway. And congrats to everyone at Just France on this impressive milestone!!

Friday, December 11, 2015

Painting Workshops in Provence in 2016













Many of my readers and clients ask about painting classes in Provence...and I've lined up some great instructors who are happy to give half- and full-day lessons for travelers. (Interested? Email me: whattodoinprovence@gmail.com) But if you're thinking of something longer and more comprehensive, you might consider a multi-day workshop...meaning, a trip devoted mostly or entirely to painting. Most last about a week, there are many offered this year all over Provence and a sampling appears below. I can't tell you which are best as I haven't experienced any of them myself. I've chosen these because they're either led by painters I know and admire...or they were recommended by people I trust...or they look really promising online. For specific questions, contact the organizer or instructor directly. And if you have another workshop to promote or recommend anywhere in the South of France, feel free leave the info and a link by clicking "comments" below this story. (The best way to comment is to choose Name/URL. Put your name as the name, put your website as the URL...then fire away.) In the next month or so, I hope to share some photography workshops as well. 

British artist Julian Merrow-Smith lives and paints in Provence full time. I think his work is exquisite and so do the thousands of people who follow his "Postcard from Provence" online art auctions. In 2016, he'll be offering seven- and eight-night painting getaways with his wife Ruth Phillips, a writer and musician, in May, July and October."There are no frills to this workshop," Julian says. "We usually visit one of the local markets; otherwise the week is all about painting—talking, living and breathing it together. Our aim, above all, is to give you the experience of living the painter's life in the south of France." The group stays in the lovely restored priory/B&B called La Madelene, in the countryside at the foot of Mont Ventoux. Julian also offers "self-catering" painting retreats for smaller budgets, for up to six people who stay in his rental house near Mont Ventoux. The full painting kit is provided (as it is in the workshops) and Julian is available to paint with the guests for up to three hours per day. For info on the worishops, click here.  For info on the independent stays, email: ruth@wintermane.

Jill Steenhuis is an Atlanta-born, French Impressionistic painter who lives in Aix en Provence, where she taught painting and drawing (at the American University) for ten years. In addition to leading Cezanne and Van Gogh walking tours for American museums and art lovers,  Jill offers week-long oil painting workshops in the Provencal countryside for all ability levels. (For those who share her passion for Cezanne and Van Gogh, special arrangements can be made to paint on the very sites where they did.)  "My joy comes from watching the beginner or more advanced painter climb a mountain in their creative way and in their inner soul," she says. Students may bring their own equipment or Jill will provide it. All ability levels are welcome and full details are on her site here.

French Escapade is offering seven different eight-day painting vacations in Provence this year--each led by a different instructor--plus one in the French Alps, one on the French Riviera and one in Giverny. Choose from oil painting, watercolor or journal sketching. Groups are seven to 12  students max. "We usually stay at the same accommodations for the entire tour so you can immerse yourself in the culture, meet the locals and feel at home without having to pack and unpack every day," says company founder Jackie Grandchamps.  "Best of all, we always choose an ideal base location and take you on a wide variety of nearby daily excursions." French Escapade also has workshops this year in Spain, Belgium/Holland and Tuscany; they'll add the Loire Valley in 2017. For all the details, click here.

This year, Workshops in France and The Art Engine are offering two uninstructed 10-Day Painting Retreat for Artists, led by Scottish artist Julie Snyder. There's one in June ("Lavender Season") and one in September ("Glorious Provence").  The package includes 10 days of artistic immersion (mentoring available) and daily painting sessions in locations such as private vineyards, charming villages, markets, on the Van Gogh trail, St. Remy and Les Baux and more. You'll stay in a château above the hillside village of Chateauneuf de Gadagne, not far from Avignon and the Luberon, and there's plenty to do for non-painting travel partners as well.  Click here for details.

Since 1990, David and Liz Atkinson have run Arts in Provence in the tiny hamlet of Les Bassacs, with its commanding views over  the Luberon Mountains and the Vaucluse. Surrounded by cherry orchards, vineyards and olive groves, Les Bassacs is within easy reach of the well-known Luberon villages of Gordes, Lacoste and Bonnieux. Workshops of varying lengths are led by different artists, reflecting a wide range of styles and themes. This year there are eleven of them, between late April and late September. All the info is here.

Ian Roberts is an Iowa-based artist leading two "Plein Air Painting in Provence" workshops this year. "No place continues to call me to paint like Provence does," he says. "And of course I'm not alone. Corot, Bonnard, van Gogh, Gaugain, Matisse, Cézanne and Picasso all came to live and work here. I know you too will love the quality of light, the folds of the earth, the old stone farm buildings and medieval hilltop villages, the poplars and cypresses." Workshops are based in the medieval village of Le Barroux, a place "so rich visually, so full of possibilities, each day you'll find something that sings to you." Lodging is in the village's only hotel, which has just 11 rooms. "Dinners are served on the terrace overlooking the valley below," Ian says. "With the sun setting after a long day of painting--and wine from just down the road--it's a great way to end the day." Info on Ian's workshops is here

Tessa Baker--who has lived in Provence since 1985--offers week-long watercolor workshops at her home in Lorgues, in the Var. Here you'll be surrounded by beauty, as vineyards, rolling hills and fields (lavender, sunflowers, poppies) surround the farmhouse Tessa shares with her husband David. Meanwhile chef Anna prepares the meals, served with wines from top chateaux, some of which are in walking distance. "And our picnics have certainly stolen a few hopeful glances, especially when we set up our table in the port of St Tropez!" Tessa says. Visits to the famous Gorges de Verdun, the village of Moustiers, the wine domaine Mas des Brun in Bandol and of course a local market are all part of the trip. The group paints at least six hours, most days. "We all have such a lovely time together and become such good friends," Tessa says, "it's hard to say goodbye." For infotessabakerart@gmail.com or +33 6 11 25 29 72. You might also enjoy her blog here

"Whatever your reason is for opening up to a creative pursuit," says artist Andrew Petrov, " there is no better place to learn, practice, and enjoy the process of painting than in Provence!" This summer, in the picturesque and historic village of Saignon (which he considers his second home), Andrew is inviting painters of all levels to  "live and breathe art" with like-minded travelers. (He lived in Saignon full time before moving back to the US in 2012 ...and has offered workshops there since 2001.)  One of his 2016 workshops is already full, but the one scheduled for June 19 to 29 still has space. "If you know Saignon, you know it's the perfect setting for plein-air painting," he says, "and these dates should be ideal for lavender seekers." You'll find more info on Andrew's website here or contact him directly: monsieurandrewpetrov@gmail.com

Milan-based painter Francesco Fontana will teach in Provence again in 2016, as he has done since 2008. You'll stay in Isle sur la Sorgue, a charming village with a river running through it, known for its 250+ antique vendors and large Sunday market. Exact workshop dates will be announced soon but you can see the details--and Francesco's workshop in Paris and Giverny--on his website here

Finally...Atelier Provence 2016 combines a seven-day painting workshop in the Alpes-de-Haute-Provence with a four-day art history tour in Barcelona...a fine opportunity to paint, learn art history, discuss and enjoy Provencal famous cuisine and wines in the land of Cézanne and Picasso. Their July 2016 trip is full (with a waiting list) but the trip will be offered again July 1 to 12, 2017. Check it out here.

Photos: (1) Painting the village of Gordes with Workshops in France. (2) A painting by Brenda Swenson, who will teach this summer with French Escapade. (3) Whoever takes the group portraits of the Workshop in France students has a great eye. (4) "Avignon Mobylette" by Julie Snyder, workshop leader at Workshops in France. (5) "Le Vieux Port in the Rain," a 2015 oil-on-canvas by Jill Steenhuis, who leads workshops in the Aix countryside. (6) Jill, second from left, with students. (7,8) Painting in Cucuron and out in the lavender fields with Arts in Provence, which is hosting 11 workshops this year with different instructors. (9)  Arts in Provence students stay in David and Liz Atkinson's home...and swim in this glorious pool. (10-12) Three paintings by French Escapade instructors: Tracy Lewis, Evelyn Dunphy and Frank Eber. (13) One of Julian Merrow-Smiths recent groups; men are very welcome too! (14) Julian's groups stay at La Madelene; here's a guestroom. (15) Julian and his group picnic-ing...and looking very painterly. (16. 17) Two paintings I love by Julian Merrow-Smith. (18, 19) Students in an Ian Roberts workshop. (20) Lunch during Ian's workshops is always  "the most delicious, simple Provencal food," made by this owner of a local B&B and served on an outdoor terrace. (21) Ian likes to take students to the Friday morning market at Carpentras, which has run continuously since the year 1150. (22) Ian's painting of a village just down the road from Le Barroux, where his workshops are based. Call "Below Crillon le Brave" the painting, by coincidence, sold yesterday!

Monday, November 30, 2015

Winter Fun for Foodies in Provence


I'm from Wisconsin where winters can be brutally cold...very snowy...and gray for days on end. I once heard a great line: that summer in Wisconsin is just three months of bad sledding.  

So winter in Provence always seems quite tame to me...with some days bordering on balmy. Yes, it gets cold...but not cold cold. Every couple years we get a real snowfall but more likely it's a light dusting, once or twice each winter. December is extremely festive here, with villages all lit up beautifully, colorful Christmas markets on town squares, holiday concerts in churches everywhere and shops and stalls overflowing with seasonal foods: oysters, foie gras, confit, Champagne, truffles (both kinds) and the ingredients for hearty winter dishes such as daube and cassoulet. On sunny days you'll see people still eating on cafe terraces. Things quiet down in January: hotels close up again, shops and restaurants go on limited hours, and the locals who can go off seeking sun or skiing in the Alps. But with fewer crowds, lower prices, plenty of sunny days and lots of outdoor activities still possible, winter can be a wonderful time to visit Provence. 

That said, here are a couple really nice winter packages for foodies...and some great hotel discounts...and few a la carte ideas for winter foodie fun.

Madeleine Vedel--who hops back and forth regularly between Provence and the US--has a charming old farmhouse on the island of Barthelasse, smack in the center of the Rhône River opposite the history-rich city of Avignon. And once again, she's welcoming food and wine lovers with a decadent winter package.  Called the Winter Provence Truffle Tour (this year's dates January 24-31), it includes truffle hunting, duck confit and foie gras, wine tasting at Châteauneuf-du-Papes, chocolates, hill towns, feasts and your own personal guide to take you to to experience it all. For the details, click here

Philip and Jude Reddaway have a B&B and wine school called La Madelene, where they base their year round business called Rhone Wine Holidays. This winter, they're hosting a three-day Truffle and Wine Tour, January 20 to 23.  It includes truffle hunting in the Luberon hills; a truffle-and-wine pairing at a Châteauneuf-du-Papes estate; four top winery visits with tastings led by the winemakers; a visit to the famous truffle market at Richerenches and of course truffle-based dishes to savor in restaurants and back at La Madelene. For all the info, click here.

In Tarascon, Catherine Burtonboy is offering a special winter package at her foodie B&B Le Mas de Lilou. Rooms begin at 90€ with breakfast; book two nights and get a third free. Or, for groups of four or more staying a minimum of three nights, get a free gourmet dinner and a 10% discount on your stay. Cooking classes are also offered at a discount. 

At Provence Paradise in St. Remy, there's a winter special designed to encourage longer stays. Book a week at the B&B rate (two people minimum) and you get subsequent weeks at 50% off (up to a four-week stay). The winter special B&B promo includes breakfast Monday to Saturday, a wine-and-cheese welcome and a romantic dinner for two in St. Remy, for each two-week stay. When booking, use promo code: ProvencePost. 

The gorgeous Relais & Château hotel Crillon le Brave offers truffle-and-wine weekends, with some led specifically in English, in February and March. Click here for info.

In the Southern Luberon, truffle hunting continues all winter at the farm Les Pastras, run by the adorable Lisa and Johann Pepin.  Their 11-hectare farm produces grapes, olives (they have 600 trees!), a wide range of fruit and--wait for it--black winter truffles. Yes, they also have a a stand of oak that regularly produces the prized tuber melanasporum, AKA truffes noires, AKA Black Gold. Sign on for their truffle tour and you’ll learn how truffle trees are cultivated, the signs indicating your trees might have truffles beneath them, the lengths people will go to in order to steal or even sabotage truffle hunters, how to clean and prepare fresh truffles, what dishes taste best with them and much more. You'll tag along while a duo of dogs dig for the hidden treasure and then tuck into a sampling of fresh truffle hors d'oeuvres, with Champagne, and a tasting of Les Pastras' organic olive and truffle oils. In winter, two-hour weekday tours are at 3 pm; weekend tours are at flexible hours. For 2-12 people. Cost per person:  70€, with a 20€ reduction for children, age 10-17. To book: pepin@lespastras.com.

The ancient village of Richerenches  has the largest black-truffle market in Europe.  It’s in the department of the Vaucluse, which produces more than 90% of the black truffles sold in France.  The Saturday morning market runs from mid-November to late March…and attracts restaurateurs, exporters and truffle lovers from far and wide. The best way to do the market is with an expert tour guide…and I’ve got just the gal. She lives nearby, knows the market in and out, often cooks with truffles…and loves to share her passion. As you poke amongst the stalls, you’ll learn how to choose, clean and preserve them, what wines pair best with them, what local restaurants specialize in them…and much more.  You may even meet some trufficulteurs (truffle hunters), who work the market with their bulging linen bags, meeting discreetly with “courtiers” who evaluate and buy their precious “black gold.”  You’ll break for coffee at the locals’ favorite café and visit a few historic sites too. You may even get to enjoy a festive communal lunch of truffled omelettes (with salad, cheese, bread, wine and dessert) served in the village hall. Tours are 3 hours (longer if you have lunch) and cost €150 for the first person, 75€ for each additional person, lunch is extra. Available: Saturday mornings, mid Nov to late March. To book: whattodoinprovence@gmail.com.

In honor of the Fête de la Truffe in Uzès (Jan 16 and 17, 2016), chef Eric Fraudeau of Cook’n With Class Uzès is offering three workshops themed around truffles. Together you'll create seven different preparations, which will be paired with perfect wines. The class is offered in English January 15, 22 and 29; there are other dates for French speakers. For more info on the classes and to book, click here. Or, email: info-uzes@cooknwithclass.com.

Many of the tour guides, wine guides and cooking instructors I work with are happy to cut their prices to build winter business...some as much as 50%. If you're interested, have a look at WhatToDoinProvence.com and let me know what interests you. Everything there is customizable. (My email: whattodoinprovence@gmail.com). 

For info on seaside seafood festivals in winter, see my friend Sheila's website here

For more about truffles in Provence--including markets, tours and restaurants that specialize in them--see my story from last year here but be sure to check for 2015/2016 dates. 

For truffle festivals and markets in Languedoc-Roussillon, click here.

Looking for Christmas markets in Provence? See my growing list here...

And a really nice list of winter events in Provence here.

Photos: (1) Happy truffle hunter Pierre Sauvayre at the Richerenches Truffle Market. (2) Delicious truffled omelettes are served up on most Saturday mornings in Richerenches; check the schedule here and be sure to reserve ahead. (3, 4) Cooking classes at Mas de Lilou are discounted in winter, for two people minimum. The foodie B&B, in a restored 18th-century farmhouse in Tarascon, is also offering the third night free. (5) Prized black winter truffles from Provence--truffes noires--are also known as Black Gold. (6, 7) La Madelene, home to the company Rhone Wine Holidays, is hosting a three-day Truffle and Wine Tour in January. (8, 9) Madeleine Vedel's charming farmhouse sits on an island in the Rhône, opposite Avignon. Madeleine is a professional cheesemaker, a goat-raising expert and a passionate foodie...the perfect host for a winter food tour.  (10, 11). The village of Crillon le Brave and the Hotel Crillon le Brave; both are gorgeous. (12) The winter sea urchin festival in Carry le Rouet, along the "Blue Coast," is usually held in early February. Check with the Tourist Office for 2016 dates. (13) One of the pretty antique-filled bedrooms at Provence Paradise offered in the winter B&B package.

ShareThis

Related Posts with Thumbnails