Tuesday, September 1, 2009

In Provence...

My friend Anna Horn, who lives near Aix en provence, picked me up yesterday from the Nice airport and whisked me away into my Provencal adventure. You can see her here at the Fragonard perfume factory in Grasse, dipping her hand into an uncharacteristically ultra-modern water fountain filled with rose-water! As soon as you walk into the factory and showroom, you understand why--this is a very high-class establishment. They use the essences of various flowers (including lavender of course) to make a wide variety of perfumes, colognes, soaps, and lotions. You cannot believe how divine it smells inside the building! We took a tour of the facilities and learned a bit about the art of French perfume making; our tour-guide, Monica, was terrific.
From there we traveled to Anna's beautiful and charming home, which is situated about an hour's drive from Aix en Provence, near the village of Vacheres. That's where we met the sweetest little girl and her perky terrier on today's morning walk... Lou, so sweet, told us carefully how to spell her name ("L-O-U"), and as her little dog yapped and growled, we had a short conversation with her. So cute!
Then we toured another nearby village and had some ice cream. As we were walking through the town square, another little terrier came bounding up with a squeaky rubber chicken in his mouth; he wanted us to toss it for him to fetch. We tossed it several times and he joyfully bounded after it... then we tried tossing it into the fountain, and he dutifully jumped in to fetch his toy, but after two attempts at this, he gave up and found another gullible human to toss his chicken!
Throughout this time I've been staying at Anna's lovely home. Michael, her husband, is the most amazing chef. He's planted his own veggie patch on their property and makes the most divine French meals; simple, uncomplicated, incredibly delicious. He promised to give me his recipes before I leave.
For the next few days, Anna and I will be seeing as much of Provence as we can and then heading out west to the Languedoc region for the weekend. We'll return by Monday, for more sightseeing and good eating I am sure! On Wednesday, a nice group of gals from the US and Europe will arrive, and we'll begin our wire art jewelry workshop series. It promises to be a magical adventure.

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