Provence, France C’est magnifique!
I have much to report on the brilliance of the dappled light and lush breezes of Provence, but it is the distinctive cuisine with its Mediterranean influences that I found so exquisitely authentic. Think: honey, olive oil, wine, figs, cherries, cheeses and lavender as in lavender honey and my favorite treat, lavender ice cream.
It was June, right around the time of the summer solstice when fields of lavender were in full glory and I joined a group of women for a retreat celebrating and cultivating creativity with Sigrid Olsen. Sigrid offers Creative Well Being retreats in a variety of locations each year .
We met at the beautiful Bed & Breakfast, Le Lavandin, and were hosted by the proprietress, a sparkling woman, Georgia Perrin Ball, whose taste and décor is impeccable – see her website linked in green above to view the rooms of the guest house along with the grounds of gardens, lavender, a pool and even its own labyrinth.
The timing was right. Exhausted by a hectic work life, I arrived from Boston via Paris needing a personal reset and I found it in the sheer beauty of the place and the comfort and conversation of the people.
Our schedule was well paced. Each morning we met in the summer kitchen for tea or coffee and then convened for yoga on the terrace with our instructor, Martha, followed by breakfast and several hours of art on the patio. Meals served as a balancing point during the retreat .
Breakfast included a great variety of choices including yogurt and fresh fruit, croissants and pastries of the day from the village patisserie, crisp pain de beurre with pear or fig confit, made from the trees just outside the door, fresh juices and coffee, and more.
Following breakfast, we’d gather on the patio under enormous umbrellas for three hours of art with Sigrid. It was a joy to watch her carve stamps to print, while we carved our own. Her
distinctive style and artistry is lively and light, and always, fresh.
From my seat at the art table, I could enjoy pomegranate trees with their bright orange flowers ready to pop and a lavender field as a backdrop. The herb garden was plentiful and I enjoyed sketching the intricacies of lacy yellow dill flowers. Sigrid focused on passion flowers resulting in a new set of stylized block prints.
One of my most memorable meals included a simple presentation at breakfast of cantaloupe slices with nasturtium flowers in the center. The vision of bold color and delicate nasturtium flowers distinctly reflected our surroundings. While many meals were served outdoors on the patio, luncheons were served in the dining room, doors open to the air and so as to leave our art work undisturbed.
Be sure to visit this link for a fabulous trip to the vineyard!
Breakfast in Provence