Saturday, April 30, 2016

Open Air Market, Arles

Flavors of Provence at the Saturday market in Arles: olives, asparagus, strawberries, lavender and other flavored
honey, sausage made from the meat of the famous bulls of the Camargye, fresh herbs, dried herbs, artichokes,
garlic, and salted cod (for the famous dish brandade de morue).

Fish and Shellfish at the Market

Other Products 

Fifteen flavors of macarons. We bought 12 of them and shared with all the other people on our tour.
Everyone seemed to love the unique flavor of their personal macron.

A popular snack truck for the market people. 

Produce from various places. Many of the stalls had imported fruit
and vegetables such as melons from Morocco, asparagus from
Spain, oranges and pineapple from Kenya, and so on.
After a morning of birdwatching we had a picnic which our tour guides had purchased in the market before we left.

Friday, April 29, 2016

So much to eat, so little time!

Left (top to bottom) -- mango tart, strawberry tart, molten chocolate cake with chocolate sauce.
Right: our guide looking really pleased at his decorated ice cream.
We have been enormously enjoying the food on our tour of Provence. Our guide has taken us to quite a number of stunning restaurants for both dinners and lunches. I'm not going to try to go into detail about the menu and ambience at each of these varied places, just show some of the highlights of the food, course by course. I started with dessert, above -- of course! Not pictured: various creme caramels and tart au citrons.

Entrées and Salads

The French word for first course is entrée. Most fixed menus come with three courses. For lunch we've often ordered salads that could also serve as a first course at a full meal.
Salad with mushrooms, goat cheese on toast, and tapenade.

Fish soup with rouille (a mayonnaise-type garlic sauce).
This was Len's -- at this meal I had fabulous fois gras.

One of three buffets of salads, hot entrées, and more -- even pizza! One of the other buffets offered a variety of pâté.

My selection from these buffets included 4 types of roasted peppers.


Wine is available at lunch and dinner.  This was last night's wine.

Main Courses

Lamb chops.
Ravioli with creamy mushroom sauce.
Rabbit stuffed with fennel. Side dishes:
mashed potatoes and ratatouille.
Duck breast with a sauce of morille mushrooms, also with
mashed potatoes and ratatouille.

Restaurant Interiors -- Just a Few

In Les Saintes Marie de la Mer.

In Arles.
Near the natural reserve where we watched birds beginning at sunrise,
therefore missed breakfast, therefore were grateful for the coffee!

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Flamingos, Horses, Bulls, and Other Creatures

Flamingos are the most dramatic birds we saw all day. They were everywhere on the marshy landscape of the Camargue
near the famous town of Les Saintes Maries de la Mer. 
The region is famous for white horses as well as flamingos.

An oyster catcher on its nest on the mud flats.
Horses going in front of a field where black bulls were grazing.
Bulls and flamingos.
In the town of Les Stes. Maries de la Mer.
The seafront promenade.
Arles: a black bull on the merry-go-round, dated 1900.
Spoonbills flying over the Camargue.
One more fantastic creature in Arles.

Les Baux de Provence

Les Baux de Provence is a fortified Medieval town on a hill that was mainly
destroyed during the wars of religion in the 16th century... it would
have been too valuable to Protestants. Its original inhabitants were bandits
working under the name of "Lords of Le Baux."
It's now one of the most beautiful places I know of. 
Still fortified! There are several war machines from the past, and costumed re-enactors doing some demos,
but I don't think they throw large stones down to the surrounding countryside any more ...
The countryside below.
The craggy peaks above the ruins, with more ruins on them. 

The current medieval lord of the town is Prince Ranier of Monaco (or whoever
replaced him), titled Marquis Des Baux. He funded these modern murals
in one of the chapels on the hill. The imagery of the watch and the adoration
of the shepherds uses the local shepherds, who take their flocks up to
the mountains each summer (the transhumance). 
Workers demonstrate medieval crafts.

provence-len 4

Birds like this kite fly over the ramparts. For more birds, click on the image and you will see Len's Flickr set.

Between the parking lot and the medieval area that you pay to enter
are very touristy streets selling Provencal stuff, some kitch, some ok.

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Saint Paul de Mausole: Van Gogh's Last Days

The entrance to the Van Gogh memorial museum in the Saint Paul de Mausole
asylum near Saint Remy in Provence
This morning we explored the town and fortress of Les Baux de Provence. After lunch we went to the asylum at Saint Paul de Mausole near Saint Remy, where Vincent Van Gogh spent his last days. Although a number of the buildings still house an asylum, the cloister and rooms where Van Gogh stayed are now a museum. Here are a few images that to me relate to Van Gough. Part of the museum displays include many reproductions of Van Gogh's paintings of the locale, but I'm relying on your imagination as I did when enjoying the splendid views and scenes.

A European robin was singing in a tree as we approached the museum.

The late medieval cloister near Van Gogh's room.

From Van Gogh's window.
Said to be the room and furniture from Van Gogh's stay. 
From another window. also barred, into the cloister.

The olive trees and vistas outside the building are amazingly reminiscent of Van Gogh's paintings. More later about Les Baux, which is just as beautiful.