Summer 2014

Screen Shot 2014-04-29 at 10.22.27 AMHere’s a snapshot of the salon of the apartment I rented last summer in Aix-en-Provence. It’s right off the main market place and I was so excited to BE there. I planned on cooking in more than I actually did–and there’s no excuse for that since the  food marchés were literally below my apartment window! Speaking of which….IMG_4348

While I can't imagine Laurent living anywhere near this particular alleyway, I was charmed to pass it every day on my way to the car park in Aix.

While I can’t imagine Laurent living anywhere near this particular alleyway, I was charmed to pass it every day on my way to the car park in Aix.

 

I spent the day  in Arles during my visit and it was exhausting but satisfying as usual. I’d never gotten so close to the Bridge of Lions before but as I was there with my photographer brother (in addition to my husband), we walked right up to the lions so he could get the shots he wanted. I was so impressed with the expression on the lion’s face. So regal, so

The long walk along the docks was worth it to see this bad boy up close.

The long walk along the docks was worth it to see this bad boy up close.

arrogant. (I’m not showing the other picture of the lion with a pigeon sitting on his head–a lot less regal! Haha.)

I was reminded how much I love the smells in Provence. Not just the omnipresent lavender and lemons but the floral perfumes that the French women never seem to be without.

Mid-11th century abbey outside Arles, Montmajour Abbey, is a gorgeous ruin beautifully maintained. It was the setting for the film "The Lion in Winter." Spent a spell-binding hour wandering its ancient and cavernous halls.

Mid-11th century abbey outside Arles, Montmajour Abbey, is a gorgeous ruin beautifully maintained. Spent a spell-binding hour wandering its ancient and cavernous halls.

This abbey–the Montmajour Abbey–was amazing. So much so that they used it for the filming of the movie, “The Lion in Winter.” I’m definitely thinking Maggie has to discover a body here some time soon. 🙂

It’s very hard for someone like me to slow down. I do not smell the roses when there’s always so much to do. Here in Aix, roses-smelling (well, really lavender) is a main pastime and an art that I really wanted to master. My husband is convinced he’ll be the one giving the eulogy between the two of us because I can’t spell the word

My handsome husband doing what we did all week long...!

My handsome husband doing what we did all week long…!

mellow let alone be it. But if I was ever going to learn how to do it, I swear it would be in beautiful, slow-paced, ethereal, magical Aix-en-Provence. In a cafe, sipping a coffee or an exquisite rosé and watching the world go by –without feeling the need to jump up and run with it.

Whether people-watching (or being watched!) I can’t think of a more idyllic way to spend an afternoon…or a morning…or an evening.

My brother, Kevin, and I at yet another cafe.

My brother and myself at yet another café.

How in the world was I ever going to replicate the experience back in Nocatee?? Or is that the whole point of vacations?

You don’t replicate the experience. You remember wistfully, fondly–until you save up enough to go back again.

Voila the patisserie five steps from my apartment! Life should always begin with cake.

Voila the patisserie five steps from my apartment! Life should always begin with cake.

7 thoughts on “Summer 2014

  1. Susan, I discovered Maggie Newberry just before leaving on a trip to France, and I read the first three books while travelling along the Cote d’Azur and in Provence and Burgundy. It was a great treat to recognize the locations mentioned in the books. Now that I am home, I know this series will continue to remind me of these beautiful places.

    • Mindy, I’m so glad you enjoyed them and that they reminded you of your travels! Every time I write a new one I try to talk my husband into going there with me for “research.” But, like you, I enjoy them because I get to “travel” there without the expense! The fourth one “Murder in Paris” came out in March 2013 and the fifth one, “Murder in Aix” will be available August 1. Thanks again, Mindy. I loved hearing from you.

  2. I have just read a bookFrench Diet.

    Although English, we are having the same problems with food that Americans have. I just hope this piece of information helps anyone trying to loose weight. Forget the word DIET it just mentally means do something for a while then go back to the old way – does that make sense?

    The adage my Mother brought us up with is “EAT WHAT GOD MADE AND LEAVE ALONE WHAT MAN MADE AND YOU WILL NEVER HAVE A PROBLEM WITH WEIGHT. I have followed this all my life and at the age of 67 I have a 35-25-36 figure I am studying French and have a great life. Food is like the fuel you put in your car, If you put the wrong fuel in, don’t expect it to work well.

    Oh! By the way God did like a good drop of wine, occasionally.

    • Exactly! Your mother’s adage is spot-on. If you eschew processed foods and eat healthily, you will have a healthy weight. Good for you. It takes a life time for many people to learn the gift your wise mother gave you from the beginning.

  3. To think my Mother was born in Ireland in 1908 one of 15 children she was a very wise Lady with very little accepted education. Lets keep trying we could save more lives than the Medical Services,

  4. Hi Susan,
    I have read all the Maggie Newberry series – just loved them. I have been to all those parts of France so could see exactly what you are describing when I read them! Do you have plans to write another book in the series.?

    Lynda – New Zealand

    • Hi, Lynda, thanks for commenting! I’m glad you like them. Yes, I’ll be writing two more books in the series next year (three, possibly.) I’m finishing up two more series at the moment and then will just focus on Maggie for awhile. My plan is to spend the summer in the south of France in 2014 to immerse myself in the culture while I’m writing the books, so we’ll see. Thanks so much for the positive words, Lynda! I lived in Auckland for two years in the mid-eighties. I’d love to set a series “down there,” too. 🙂

Leave a Reply