Scenes From A Market

Forcalquier, a village northeast from us on the other side of the Luberon mountains, is home to a huge Monday market. We often take guests there and it is always packed with tourists and locals alike. It is spread out over a large area in the village, below a hill topped with the ruins of a citadel from the 10th century and a chapel. I see some of the same sellers here that I see in Apt or Lourmarin. That must be an interesting life, moving from city to city each day, setting up your wares, selling things in searing heat or blowing cold wind and rain.

Colorful signs made of pottery. Expensive though.

I often see this divinity for sale but I don’t think I’ve seen it with cherries before. We bought some and it was really good.

There are always hats for sale. I took this photo because the little girl looked so darling in her hat but she turned her head before I could get a good shot. She bought another hat. I bought one too, a panama to look more stylish than I usually do.

This booth was selling pottery jars and vases and took the time to put some daisies in their display.

I wanted one of these caserole dishes just because I liked the design on them. I didn’t buy one though as I thought they were too expensive.


Along with lavender, you can find fields of sunflowers in Provence too. On the way to Valensole, we stopped at a sunflower field to take photos but it didn’t turn out to be a good field. It was really on its way out, with heavy flower heads dropping over, many without petals but the kids were fascinated with the seeds inside.

They hadn’t seen sunflowers in fields before. They took some seeds to see if they can grow their own next year.

I had to search to find any sunflowers to photograph. Still a thrill to be driving along and see a field of these flowers blooming.

Tale of a French Armoir

Decorating is not my thing even though I am always looking at decorating blogs. I know that our living room really needs some help from someone who has that special touch and knowledge but never really found anyone until Corey . She is a decorator extraordinaire with that decorating gene that I wasn’t born with and an expert at finding buys at brocantes. She is an American married to a Frenchman and also lives in Provence. When you say that someone lives in Provence that doesn’t necessarily mean that they are within walking distance of your house, or even 15 or 30 minutes away. Provence is a huge area. It turns out that Corey lives an hour away from our home as we found out when she kindly invited us over for dinner one night. Her place is just as fabulous as you might expect. I had my camera and it was all I could do to not run around like a paparazzi taking photos. I restrained myself but did get a few shots. You can see what great taste she has.

An urn filled with all sorts of interesting antique things.

The bathroom. She wrote a really interesting post on decorating it, from finding the tub and painting it, to covering herself in paint doing something different on the walls.

Anyway, to my delight and amazement, she has offered to help me decorate my living room. She has yet to see it except in photos with summer so busy (plus she is going off to Prague with her husband on his motorcycle any day now) but maybe after August. Maurice and I went to a brocante in Pertuis, a city near us, and saw an armoir that we thought might help the looks of our living room. It wasn’t that old but it had been decorated with touches of yellow-we have light, creamy yellow walls-and it would be delivered for free. I sent Corey a photo in an email and asked her opinion. She thought they were asking a little too much but she liked the armoir. We negociated with the antique dealer, got the price down and now have our French armoir. I think it really looks great although I still need to find some things to go on the top of it. Isn’t the blogging world amazing?

Here it is. It also gives me more storage space

Lavender Festival Encore

I made it to yet another Lavender Festival at Valensole. Each year it seems more crowded and this year they had huge fields cleared for parking. There were many many booths selling lavender products. I bought some lavender oil and lavender honey (although the nuns weren’t there this year selling their’s).

Lavender infused sponges. I kind of wanted one of these.

The lady who makes these lavender incense sticks is there each year. They last for two hours.

Lavender scented and colored teddy bears.

Handy Dandy Thingie

While at the Friday morning market at Lourmarin, my daughter in law and I happened upon a cooking demonstation used to try and sell a little device that I have no name for. Maybe it’s a spiraler?

It looks like this

The guy was a real performer really into demonstrating the thingie which is a little metal device with a metal circle that, when inserted into a potato, carrot or other firm vegetable, and then turned, creates a spiraled piece that you can use to decorate a plate with or, as with a potato, fry in a circle.

A carrot circle

The guy was practical doing Shakespeare demonstrating how to use it. I asked him at one point how much it cost but he held up his hand and said I had to wait until he finished telling us all about it. So we stood there while he drilled into a potato and a carrot, cooked up the potato ring, put another carrot into the hole left in a potato and then cut it into circles with white potato on the outside, orange carrot on the inside.

The hallow carrot left behind

Finally, he told us the price-10 euros. My daughter in law said, “That performance is worth 5 euros alone”. So we each bought one. My grandkids were fascinated with it and loved using it on carrots and potatoes.

A carrot spiral

The potato circles fry up really light and crispy but I’m not sure if I want to use a whole potato each time I want to fry up one. You’d need 4 at least for two people and then you are left with that hallow potato. I tried stuffing one with cheese and baking it but I had cheese running out all over the place. I guess I could make a farci type stuffing for it. I’m thinking it was one of those impulse buys but it was fun. I’m having a huge group of people over next month and will be doing a lot of cooking and my daughter in law said I should make carrot circles or radish circles to put on plates but I’m not sure if I will have the time or energy. She is much more into doing things like that than I am. Mostly I think that thingie will sit in a drawer.


Nearby Roussillon is the perched village of Gordes. There is such a stunning view of it as you approach:

There must be nothing but rocks under the soil in this region. Most of the homes and walls are made of the stacked stones found in the area. I love how they make their walls:

All around Provence are little buildings made of stone called Bories. You usually see them in fields, and they were probably used by shepherds. At the base of the hill where Gordes is found, is a whole village of these buildings called Borie Village. It is interesting to see how people lived in them. The place was inhabited until the end of the 1800’s when electricity became available.

Oh, and by the way, no cement was used. Everything was just stacked.