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2015 IN PROVENCE: LOOKING BACK THROUGH THE LENS

2016 whooshed in like the infamous Mistral wind tears through the Rhône Valley.  So fast, I've barely had time to take stock of the wonders of 2015.  The Modern Trobadors covered a lot of ground in 2015, accompanied by, for the first time, a tour group--affectionately named after this blog--of eight engaging and adventurous people. It was exciting to share our love for this area of France with them, as we strive to do for all our readers with...
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GÉRARD ISIRDI: THE PAINTER IN THE CORNER OF CAFÉ GABY’S TERRACE

Inconspicuously tucked in a corner in the back of Café Gaby’s busy terrace, one might think that local artist Gérard Isirdi would go unnoticed. On the contrary, by the time Lourmarin’s most famous artist has set up his makeshift easel atop a café table, attached his large canvas with a series of  large stainless steel clips, and arranged his paints, a hushed excitement has swept through Lourmarin’s three crowded cafés
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MEET MARCO, LE PROPRIÉTAIRE DE CAFÉ GABY

If you have been to Lourmarin, you know Café Gaby. Located in the center of the village on Place de l'Ormeau, where main street Rue Henri de Savornin meets Rue du Temple, Café Gaby is the hub of this charming Luberon village.

Men meet at the bar when the sun first rises
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“WHO’S AFRAID OF PETER MAYLE?”

We—or rather those of us of a certain age—grew up asking ourselves "who's afraid of the big bad wolf" and later, as adults, were compelled to ask the same question about Virginia Woolf. I've never had the occasion to pose the question about Peter Mayle, internationally known English author of a long list of wildly popular books about Provence, most notably A Year In Provence, and recipient of many honors, including the prestigious Chevalier de la Légion d'Honneur (Knight of the Legion of Honor)...
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NEWS FROM AUBERGE LA FENIÈRE: REINE SAMMUT PASSES THE REINS TO DAUGHTER NADIA

After 40 years at the helm of one of Provence’s most renowned restaurants, La Fenière, Chef Reine Sammut and sommelier husband Guy are handing over the reins of the cuisine to Nadia Sammut in October. Nadia, who is the third generation of Sammuts at La Fenière, credits her grandmother and her parents for her culinary knowledge and passion for food but brings her own personal experience and education to the table, too: growing up with celiac disease and learning to cook creatively sans gluten...
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SUMMER IN PROVENCE…AND A SURFEIT OF TRUFFLES?

In all the summers we’ve spent in Provence, I have never seen any mention of summer truffles. Maybe I was drinking too much rosé to notice something I thought only surfaced in the winter—silly me—but, this summer, Tubera aestiva were on my radar…and on my...
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THE MUSÉE EXTRAORDINAIRE CELEBRATES ITS 40TH ANNIVERSARY

Forty years ago, Georges Mazoyer (1925 - 1996) opened his Musée Extraordinaire in the tiny Luberon village of Ansouis. Deep-sea diver, artist, and world-wide traveler, this extraordinarily unusual man spent ten years refurbishing the small space--a former stable--adjacent to his studio and filling it with the souvenirs of his adventures. Encouraged by friends to share his passion for underwater life, the museum was a labor of love that today is carried on by his daughter, Nicole, and her husband...
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FOR OUR FIRST THANKSGIVING IN PROVENCE, WE TURNED TO LA RÔTISSERIE DU LUBERON AT THE WEEKLY MARKET

As the days move closer to Thanksgiving, I am thinking of the year we were in Provence—in the charming village of Lourmarin—on that quintessential American holiday. Like most people who are drawn to travel abroad, we love to learn about the traditions of other cultures and are eager to embrace them when we are in those countries. Some, we may even take home with us and celebrate as our own. I’m thinking of the Santon village that will soon grace a corner of our living room and the wheat that, with a little luck, will grow tall in the sunny kitchen window (and bring us a prosperous...
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