French culture

My top 5 Parisian discoveries

Posing on Les Deux Plateaux, a controversial art installation by Daniel Buren

Fortune graced me with the opportunity to spend two weeks in Paris in early December. It wasn’t my first trip so there was no need to play tourist bingo. Instead, I had the luxury of seeking out a few alternative highlights. Here are some of my favourite discoveries.

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The importance of Patience: Lessons learnt from Capoeira

It was with great reluctance that I first stepped into the Roda; a small circle of French people clapping their hands and singing in Portuguese. The prospect of someone aiming a kick at me while I sheepishly ducked in the centre of the group didn’t fill me with joy.

But when you are living in a small village in a foreign country you are more willing to try new things to make friends. So it was that our estate agent Olivier (one of our closest friends in the village) convinced us to join him in his weekly Capoeira class.

Taking on the teacher: My first Capoeira display

Continue reading “The importance of Patience: Lessons learnt from Capoeira”

Sketchy days: Beating the winter blues

Biking through the vineyards of Provence
Fond memories of biking through the vineyards of Provence

We’re now starting to understand why the locals in our village look at us with some concern when we tell them we are here for the whole year and are not just sun seekers on a jolly holiday. It gets pretty quiet here in January. The plane trees, which give such an iconic look to the whole village, are raising up their bare branches, as if they’re asking themselves where the sun has gone. Most of the restaurants have closed their doors for the season. And the villagers have retreated behind their shutters seemingly to hibernate for the winter. I’m sort of doing the same, staying in most evenings, watching old episodes of Twin Peaks and soaking up some bleak vibes. So, yes, it appears that even in sunny south of France you can catch the winter blues.

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Christmas in Paris: Need to know

pariswinter, amyinprovenceI’ll admit it, I was dubious about spending Christmas in Paris. Although I love the city I’ve become accustomed to Christmas at home with my family, roast turkey and all the trimmings. So the thought of wandering the sleepy streets of Paris looking for a bite to eat on Christmas day was not so appealing. Happily, and to my surprise, I found the city was buzzing and full of festive cheer. Despite the horrific events of November it held its head up high and shined more brightly than I’d ever seen it. Here are a few things to know in case you feel like escaping to the City of Light next Noël:

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Plan de la Tour market: The best olives in Provence?

Since moving to Provence, the Plan de la Tour market has become a weekly ritual. It isn’t the biggest market in the area and while it is busy and bustling in the middle of summer, it can feel a little ghostly out of season. But it is an important part of village life, with everyone stocking up on their provisions for the week from local vendors and producers.

The olives here are prepared and sold by a lady who my Grandma remembers running the same stand over twenty years ago. And they truly are the best olives I’ve tried, (particularly the garlic flavoured green ones).

The Plan de la Tour olive supplier's spread is bounteous and beautiful
The Plan de la Tour olive supply: bounteous and beautiful

Continue reading “Plan de la Tour market: The best olives in Provence?”

“Don’t buy your bread just anywhere”: French sign promoting artisan bakers

‘Artisan’ seems to be a favourite term around here. There are artisan bakers, butchers, candlestick makers and even artisan builders and plumbers. But what is an artisan?

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Plan de La Tour celebrates le Quatorze Juillet

Young and old enjoy the patriotic 14th July celebrations
Young and old enjoy the patriotic 14th July celebrations

A ‘snow party’ in the middle of July? Not something you’d typically associate with celebrating the anniversary of the beginning of the French Revolution but who am I to question it?

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Teaching yoga (in French)

Drew this to help me learn the parts of the body in French for my teaching!
Drew this to help me learn the parts of the body in French for my teaching!

Eight years ago I first stepped onto a yoga mat. It was a warm summer evening. The class was hot, sweaty and, for someone who couldn’t even touch her toes, very intense.

I thought that would be the end of my yogic experience but it turned out to be be the beginning as I slowly realised how valuable yoga could be to my physical and mental health. Continue reading “Teaching yoga (in French)”

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