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Luxe Provence ? Celebrating the Good Life Home About Boutique Luxe Provence Box L’Agence Press Luxe Provence Box Voted Best New Subscription Box of 2015 Luxe Provence Launches Luxury Brand, Event and Marketing Services to Promote The Best of Provence Contact Art, Design & Culture, Weekend Escapes Rencontres Arles Weekend Escapes The Villages of the Luberon Scents of Provence, Weekend Escapes Lavender of Provence In-Season Weekend Escapes Best Beach Swimming in Provence Weekend Escapes Wine Tasting Guide to Les Baux-de-Provence AOP Art, Design & Culture, Weekend Escapes Charming Beauty of Vallons des Auffes Art, Design & Culture, Weekend Escapes Rencontres Arles August 3, 2016 The 47th Annual Rencontres d’Arles is underway and what better excuse to visit this beautiful and historically-rich Provence city than now. The Rencontres Festival plays an active role in revealing trends, talents and supporting artists through dozens of galleries set up in its historic Roman buildings and museums each year. Copyright: (Right) Charles Fréger and Claude Schwartz (1963) Discover street photography and Western classics featuring French cult figure, Johnny Hallyday, bounding about in the Camargue, along with visual themes tackling today’s difficult social and political issues as: dictatorships, abortion and misogyny and difficult lives of transvestites… to the collision of African and European cultures. There is something for everyone to appreciate this year. I particularly enjoy that the city’s classic Roman architecture and history as a backdrop to a curation of modern images supporting a variety of visual storytelling styles, along with side streets and smaller galleries that are brimming with “off” image photographers tacked about. Arles of course, has some impressive Roman monuments, of which the earliest – the arena, the Roman theatre and the cryptoporticus, date back to the 1st century B.C. During the 4th century Arles experienced a second golden age, as attested by the baths of Constantine and the necropolis of Alyscamps. In the 11th and 12th centuries, Arles once again became one of the most attractive cities in the Mediterranean. The Saint-Trophime (shown above), with its cloister, is one of Provence’s major Romanesque monuments and has recently been restored and serves as one of the venues. As part of the celebration, the local museums offer free admission or discounted rates with your festival ticket or pass, which makes Arles an ideal weekend destination as there is much to see. Be sure to visit the Musée Réattu to appreciate Katerina Jebb’s creative world of sensual textiles, materials and color together in a glorious symphony that pose interesting questions on the definition of beauty. Jebb worked closely with Arles famous couturier, Christian Lacroix, whose creative vision is behind the museum’s exhibition space. “In her work, she explores the singular aesthetic of a visual quest in which textiles and bodies mingle, composing mysterious floating idols wearing Christian Lacroix dresses. In Katerina Jebb’s work, the idea of three dimensional reproduction gives way to a hyperrealism of material and flesh.” – Source Musée Réattu Enjoy your summer experience the historic beauty of Arles and be sure to follow us on Instagram for more street shots, dreamy images and beauty of Provence. Blog author and Arles photographs: by Tarik Koivisto More info: The Les Rencontres d’Arles Exposition de la Photographe July 4th – September 25, 2016 Online Tickets Arles DATES AND HOURS OF THE EXHIBITIONS Every day from 10:00 am to 7:30 pm (last entrance at 7:00 pm), except for the following venues: Clo?tre Saint-Trophime open from 9:00 am to 7:00 pm (last entrance at 6 :30 pm). Musée Départemental Arles Antique open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (last entrance at 5:30 pm) – collection closed on Tuesdays. Galerie Arena open 10:00 am to 1:00 pm and from 2:00 pm to 7:00 pm (last entrance at 6:30 pm). Musée Réattu open from 10:00 am to 6:00 pm (last entrance at 5:30 pm) – Closed on Mondays. Chapelle Saint-Martin du Méjan open from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm (last entrance at 6:30 pm). Exhibitions closed from Sunday, August 28th: Camarguais Western Bernard Plossu Charles Fréger Jo?o Pina Don McCullin Alinka Echeverría Olympus engages in a photographic conversation Exhibitions closed from Sunday, September 11th: Stéphanie Solinas, “The Method of Loci” Yan Morvan Nothing but Blue Skies Lady Liberty Weekend Escapes The Villages of the Luberon July 29, 2016 The Luberon is one of the most romantic, irresistible regions of Provence. It conjures up images of colorful markets set in “platane” tree-lined squares, elegantly perched hilltop villages, fields of dancing sunflowers and beautifully colored vineyards in autumn. Peter Mayle’s best-selling A Year in Provence pushed tourism to this region years ago, particularly to the villages of Gordes (pictured above), Ménerbes and Bonnieux but there are many villages that retain their authentic character. What is special is that each of these Luberon villages has its own unique feel. Here are just some of our favorites, so come along and explore with us. Whether you’re in the mood for antique hunting or lazily sipping a café while watching village life unfold, there’s a perfect Luberon village for you. We start with Lourmarin, a charming village ideal for chic Provence shopping or slow terrace dining featuring a beautiful Renaissance chateau just on the outskirts of the center’s activity. Lourmarin is a peaceful village yet offers a cosmopolitan flair featuring many lovely dining terraces, galleries, boutiques and artist ateliers, along with a lovely market held two times per week. The markets are on Tuesday evening and each Friday until 1pm, featuring a mix of local artisanal products, clothes, straw baskets, produce, cheeses, honey and more.We love snagging a table on a rooftop terrace for early evening nibbles “grignoter” along with a glass of wine to kick off an evening, or to relax after a day of shopping. Visit the chateau to pick up a local bottle of wine from it’s extensive cave inside, along with a wonderful assortment of fine “epicerie” items for a picnic or apéro. The chateau also houses temporary art exhibitions and special events throughout the year. Lacoste is one of my personal favorite Luberon villages due to it’s mix of finely preserved stone architecture and cobblestone streets that give the impression of a village where time has stood still. Yet scratch the surface, or stumble upon modern art sculptures scattered around the village to discover a vibrant creative community of artists, designer students living here. I attended Pierre Cardin’s Annual Festival de Lacoste last week in the stunning setting of the Carrières du Chateau at the top of the village. The festival draws thousands of visitors each year for world-class opera, theater, and music coinciding with the Festival d’Avignon each July. It’s an intimate, spectacular cultural evening and the Mozart operetta I took in was awe-inspiring. Learn more about this village here. Romantic Cucuron has it’s own amazing restaurants and markets as well, but in particular I adore its gorgeous center plaza featuring a still reflecting pond with some of the most beautiful platane trees in Provence. Ideal for a lazy stop to sip a cafe along one of the many restaurants lining the center plaza. Isle sur la Sorque is known around the globe for it’s antique markets each Sunday, along with it’s large Antique Fair held twice per year. The city is brimming with sourcing opportunities for collectors and is also known as the Venice of Provence, featuring many attractive water wheels throughout the town which are still in working order. You can also hire canoes and travel between Isle sur la Sorgue and the beautiful Fontaine-de-Vaucluse, one of the most visited towns in the area. More on this adventure next week! The village of Buoux is in the center of the Luberon and known for it’s beautifully rugged landscape and steep climbing cliffs and caves. These steep and dramatic surrounds of Buoux provide a paradise for climbing enthusiasts. The irregular contours of the Aigue-Brun River are filled with caves, cliffs and peaks and is a popular place for climbers from around the world. Our family tries to escape here with friends in the off-season, June or September, to experience this magical area in its quieter moments. So get out and explore some of the Luberon’s more hidden gem and discover true bliss. Blog author and Luberon village photography by: Tarik Koivisto Scents of Provence, Weekend Escapes Lavender of Provence In-Season July 4, 2016 Luxe Provence Photoshoot images: Provence Lavender Field images (2 -4) by: Tarik Koivisto. Tarik Koivisto cover image (1) in field by Melanie Jacquier. Venue: Plateau de Valensole on July 3, 2016. Weekend Escapes Best Beach Swimming in Provence June 21, 2016 We are often asked of our favorite swimming escapes and beach recommendations, so we’d love to share a few of our top places to swim in Provence. Now is the ideal time to visit or discover the gorgeous turquoise waters of the Calanques, or the breathtaking beauty of the Lac Sainte-Croix along with it’s famous Gorge du Verdon, best experienced by boat. For the rest, however, just simply dive right in and enjoy. Expect heavenly turquoise waters and bliss. 1: Calanque en Vau (pictured above), Cassis: arrive in style by yacht, or take the more rigorous, yet rewarding, 2-hour hike via Port Pin to one of the most breathtaking places we’ve ever seen. This calanque features some of the highest cliffs in the area and dazzling waters, situated between La Ciotat and Marseille. The Calanque En Vau is stunning when reached by foot, which is a relatively steep hike in. The views from the hike and vantage points above are spectacular. If you depart from Cassis near Port Miou, you will arrive at the Calanque Port Pin first, a gorgeous destination itself. However, if you want to be royally treated for your efforts, continue 45 minutes further to En Vau. Try to arrive on the off-season in June or September, or in the early morning hours before the larger masses of tourists arrive during the busy summer months. 2: Calanque de Sormiou is located between Marseille and La Ciotat. Generally, a hike-in is required. However, we learned the local’s secret to arriving a bit easier (thank you Laura) even in the bustling summer months. You are allowed to drive in directly to the park if you arrive by 8am to the park gates. Access is restricted in summer due to the risk of fire. It’s definitely worth an early start to arrive before the masses regardless and enjoy a peaceful moment in such an authentic setting just minutes from the bustling streets of Marseille. Be sure to hike in bit further to the left of the beach, to discover its tiny inlets with bobbing small fishing boats surrounded by pine trees. 3: Mugel Calanque and Park, La Ciotat: warm, clear waters with little waves, ideal for an early morning snorkel or reserve a table in advance at Le Mugel Restaurant for a spectacular end of day sunset reflected on the Ile Verte (Green Island) under the sweetly scented fig trees. The quaint, no-frills beachside restaurant offers simple plates such as delicious grilled fish and seafood kebabs, or the “Salad Mugel” always a favorite, with a changing daily menu. Mugel is a real local treasure, lesser-known than the other calanques in the region, and neatly tucked away in the recently re-birthed town of La Ciotat, complete with its own protected natural tropical gardens. The park, twelve hectares in size and is at the foot of a massive rock, Le Bec d’Aigle (Eng: The Eagle’s Beak), 155 meters high, which shelters the site from the wind, while the Mediterranean warms it in the winter, and keeps the temperature down in the summer. The tropical gardens contain thirty different species of palm trees, as well as mimosa, bougainvillia, bamboo, banana, and other tropical plants. It also features a garden of aromatic plants. A garden of lavender is planted just below the main house. 4: Saint Croix du Verdon: a must-see on any tourist’s list and incredible place to spend the day in Provence. The connected Gorge du Verdon is a river canyon that is often considered to be one of Europe’s most beautiful. It is about 25 kilometres long and up to 700 meters deep. You can rent either small electric boats from Saint Croix and cruise slowly around the lake, or choose kayaks and leave from the mouth of the Gorge du Verdon itself. Prepare for a splendid natural journey through tall white limestone cliffs and turquoise waters. You may be treated with views of visiting goats along the way. Be sure to visit one of the area’s charming villages of either Saint-Croix for a relaxed visit with views over the lake or nearby Moustier-Saint-Marie for it’s dramatic cliff setting on the western entrance to the Gorges du Verdon. The village has been a centre of the pottery trade, especially fa?ence, for centuries. A spring flows out of the cliff and creates a waterfall in town, providing water power. At twilight when the sun on a clear day strikes the south-facing cliff, a diffuse pink light glows across the village.. 5: Les Lecques in Saint Cyr sur Mer: is a great beach, a bit wider than most of the narrow beaches in the region and is ideal for families. The large sandy open beach offers public parking lots and simple, little snack shops and basic, beach front restaurants. Spots fill up early. Blog Author: Tarik Koivisto Scents of Provence, Weekend Escapes The Provence Lavender Is In Bloom June 19, 2016 It’s that special moment in Provence that everyone dreams of that has brides-to-be flocking. Having had a warm winter this year, the lavender has already started to bloom a few weeks. A most magical sight to behold and a must-visit experience. But THE place to view lavender fields in their full glory is definitely the Haute Provence region’s famed, Plateau de Valensole. Each year, starting from mid- to late-June through most of July, this plateau of 800 km in altitude pops to brilliant life with unbelievable violet colors, contrasted by intermittent blonde wheat fields, along with Provence’s deep sky blue. Countless photo opportunities are awaiting soon featuring the natural beauty of summer in Provence for locals and visiting tourists. But wait, don’t forget about the bees. Their presence and constant hum between the rows of lavender are quite impressive as well, moving along busily producing some of France’s most sought after lavender honey, which of course you can buy along the route on the plateau. A display and taste of pure, luxe natural beauty. One of my favorite drives at this time of year and into July, is even a bit further into the Haute Provence region. Head to the Plateau de Valensole first to experience the magic, and then pass through to sweet groves of olive trees and goat cheese farms, toward some of the most dazzling rugged natural sites of Provence. Cut through the Plateau, and you will find one of most beautiful turquoise lakes I’ve laid eyes on called the Lac de Saint Croix which gives way to the stunning Gorges du Verdon (learn more here from this post). I simply adore stopping at the small goat cheese farms along the way and then stopping at Saint Croix-du-Verdon a sweet, little picturesque Provencal village with incredible lake views, a little bar and few charming restaurants. Finish your day with shopping at the Cité de la Fa?ence (the city of ceramics), Moustiers Sainte-Marie, classified rightly so as one of the most beautiful villages of France in a most dramatic setting. And if gastronomy is a priority, be sure not to miss a special luxe dining experience or stay the night at Alain Ducasse’s The Bastide de Moustier (pictured above upper left). For more lavender adventures or tour ideas, check out the Grand Route of Lavender web site here for driving route ideas and planning, by bike or car: www.grande-traversee-alpes.com/en/routes-de-la-lavande It’s officially time for those living here in Provence to slow down and stop to smell the lavender. The light and colors are such magic to behold. Each season, our gift curations represent the best of Provence. This summer, we are featuring the fragrances of lavender and rosé wine in a unique luxury gift curation with our limited-edition V4: La Vie est Belle curation found here. Be sure to reserve yours today, we only have a few left. We also curate VIP gift boxes for that special bride or occasion. To request a luxury gift or special event curations from Provence, learn more here, or contact us at: orders@luxe-provence.com. Lavender Bride photo credits: Creative Direction by Laura Jullien, Photographer: Remi Dupac of Un Vie en Provence and Model: Katie Gillespie. Weekend Escapes Wine Tasting Guide to Les Baux-de-Provence AOP June 10, 2016 We are very excited to introduce today’s guest author, blogger and Provence wine expert, Jill Barth. Jill is a wine writer and journalist based in the US who frequently travels to Provence. She blogs at L’occasion and is Provence Wine Master candidate. We’ve asked Jill to share her suggestions and recommendations on some of her favorite domaine’s to visit, along with lazy summer meal pairing ideas from this breathtaking and reputable wine region of Provence. There is a spot of mystique and natural beauty that must be experienced to be understood: the Proven?al wine region of Les Baux-de-Provence Appellation d’origine controlee (AOP). The Alpilles Mountains run a ridge through the north-western corner of the Bouches du Rh?ne department of Provence. Alpilles means little Alps, but visitors to the area are moved by the largess of the wildly rugged, authentic and mysterious setting. It’s here that a small group of winemakers produce red, rosé and white wines in the shadow of Les Baux-de-Provence village, a 13th century fortification that lends its name to this AOP. Vineyards can be found on either side of the Alpilles Mountains, cresting into the quite dry, fascinatingly hot oven where the grapes thrive and the Mistral wind blows. This region is unique for production of a larger percent (over 50%) of red wine, rather than the traditionally Proven?al output of primarily rosé. Most estates also grow olives and mill olive oil, established under an agricultural AOP as well. While the AOP is young (celebrating 21 years this summer), the practice of making wine is ancient, often conducted as part of general family farming in recent history, but dating back to Roman times when this area of Provence was on the road from Rome to Spain. Roman and Greek ruins can still be viewed in the area. The AOP leans heavily on biodynamique and organic farming and movements are in process to include these practices as an AOP mandate. It is also a small settlement of only twelve estates; a unique opportunity to taste and purchase a full portfolio from the area. 36 Hours in Les Baux de-Provence AOP Locals and visitors can enjoy a summer exploration of each of these estates. Many of them do not export greatly, or at all, outside of Provence. Les Baux-de-Provence wines are found in local hotels, restaurants and for sale on site, with a small portion available for export. Taking time to explore and discover the region is the best and perhaps only way to experience the richness of this distinct space. Friday Start out early on Friday morning with a visit to the Eygalières market. Here you’ll find gorgeous produce (and a scarf or dress in colors to match), plump roasted chickens, aromatic herbs, colorful baskets and lots of families out doing their shopping. Local vignerons are often at the market, increasing one’s chances of getting an inside conversation with a local winemaker. Gather picnic essentials: cheese, a couple of baguettes, a chicken and some tomatoes. These can be eaten on a sunny stone wall, or under a tree along the summit, where chateau ruins offer a view of the Alpilles. After lunch, pace the afternoon around time at these neighboring wine estates. Domaine de la Vallongue The name means Domaine of the Long Valley, signifying the estate’s location on the ancient Roman roadway connecting Rome and Spain. Enjoy a tasting of the domaine’s red, white and rosé wines as well as the AOC olive oils, for sale on premises. Domaine Lauzières Taste both estate wine and olive oil in the domaine’s carnotzet, a Swiss word depicting a cellar bar or room where people gather to taste wine in a lively and welcoming setting. Purchase wines in 750ml bottles or an impressive magnum bottle for entertaining. Mas de Gourgonnier This family-run estate welcomes visitors to their bio-dynamically farmed estate. They’ve been certified by European and American governing bodies for sustainable growing methods. Guests can taste and purchase wine and olive oil and perhaps meet one of the estate family members. Mas de la Dame Vincent Van Gogh once painted Mas de la Dame, in a work once featured at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. The likeness now appears on certain bottles of Mas de la Dame wine. Visit and taste wine and olive oil in this family-run, historic cellar. Chateau d’Estoublon Pop into the Chateau’s boutique to purchase wine and tasty gourmet and local treats. A family friendly self-guided walking tour leads through the native habitat as well as the grape and olive growing culture. Enjoy an exquisite dinner at Bistro Mogador (weekday dinner July and August only), the on-site restaurant. After dinner, spend the evening in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, a town rich with stone, light and history that leaps back many years to Gallo-Roman times. The layout of the town still bears the shape of a protective circle, and the remains of a 14th century wall (including distinctive portes) still welcome residents as they stroll through town. Plane (platane in French) trees line routes leading into town, many planted by Romans to distinguish travel lines. Saint-Rémy-de-Provence is inviting for luxury and appeals to ancient artistic urges. Vincent Van Gogh still lives through nearby environs which exhibit the colors, nature strokes, sky and stone that he painted until the end of his life. Luxury hotels in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence are a curated delight. Consider booking at Hotel de Tourrel (recently featured), l’Oustau Baumanière les Baux de Provence, Domaine de Manville or Chateau des Alpilles (shown below) for a restful and pampering overnight between vineyard visits. Saturday Linger over breakfast at your hotel before packing up the car to head to the village of Les Baux de-Provence. This village welcomes many visitors each year because it is absolutely unique in natural setting as well as its history as a Proven?al stronghold dating back to the 10th century. Carved and re-carved out of the bauxite hills, the village is visually stunning and presents a glorious view of the surrounding vineyards and Alpilles Mountains. A stop at the nearby Les Carriere des Lumieres (now showing a Marc Chagall exhibit) is a stirring and imaginative distinction set aside exclusively for visitors to this area. Nothing else like it exists! Continue the day by tasting wine from the vineyards just observed from above. Domaine Guilbert Located on the road out of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, Domaine Guilbert is the smallest domaine in the appellation. The domaine’s mas (the southern French term for a country house, typically made of stone) and cellar is situated around lavender, cypress and olive trees; a natural expression of the region. Chateau Dalmeran Chateau Dalmeran offers cooking and wine tasting classes at their chateau where olive groves and vineyards grow. Take home your own bottle of Chateau Dalmeran Red, a cellar-worthy blend of Grenache, Syrah and Cabernet-Sauvignon aged in oak for 24 months and sold 5 years after harvest. Mas Sainte Berthe The stony vineyards and welcoming tasting room of Mas Sainte Berthe rest at the foot of Les Baux de-Provence village. After tasting or purchasing from their set of red, white and rosé wines, Mas Sainte Berte invites visitors for a walk through the property. Get cameras ready for a unique view of the village from the vines. Domaine des Terres Blanches Domaine de Terres Blanches is located along a gravel road, which eventually leads to vines and onward to the tasting room. The estate offers promenades around the property, which is directly in the shadow of the Alpilles Mountains. The estate utilizes “BioActive” farming methods, thus leaving much of the surrounding natural, an excellent spot to connect with the native essence of the area. Chateau Romanin Recently completed, the estate’s chai is exquisitely modeled after a cathedral, carved into the native rock. The tasting room is just as beautiful, with soothing wood and metals in custom décor. Taste or buy from their lineup of wines in a luxurious setting. After a day of walks, wine and sightseeing spend and evening in the hotel’s piscine followed by a late dinner in town. Maison Drouot, Bistrot du Paradou and L’Estagnol make lovely choices for gastronomique, locally-sourced menus. (see earlier article here for more) Two estates, Domaine Hauvette and L’Affectif don’t run a tasting shop, but have wine for sale through other methods. L’Affectif is the creation of Jean-André Charial, founder of l’Oustau Baumanière (mentioned above). Jean-André’s vineyard is located at Domaine de Lauzières where Jean-André produces 8 000 bottles of L’Affectif, his own biodynamic wine. For those interested in fine cuisine, this Michelin-starred chef offers personable cooking classes on Saturday mornings throughout the season at l’Oustau Baumanière with one coming up this weekend. Another estate of note, Domaine de Trevallon, is an important part of the regional winemaking story. Founder Eloi Dürrbach planted his first vineyard in the Alpilles in 1973. Since then he’s been a groundbreaker for authentic, sustainable and innovative Alpilles winemaking. To preserve his estate’s ability to make wine without appellation restrictions, the estate is not a member of the AOP. Still, these wines reflect the region through landmark methods and flavors and play a significant role Alpilles winemaking. 5 Les Baux de-Provence AOP Wines for Summer Meal Pairings With so much lovely wine to choose from, it could be a hard decision when it comes to purchasing wine to enjoy during a Proven?al summer. May we suggest a few bottles? Domaine de Lauziers Equinoxe 2015 Rosé Powder pink in color, this wine opens with “basil-scented strawberry notes” leading into citrus aromas. Balanced in profile and acidity, the winemaker suggests pairing with Mediterranean Bluefin tuna, small meat-stuffed vegetables or a strawberry, citrus fruit and herb soup. 90% Grenache Noir, 5% Counoise and 5% Mourvèdre. Chateau Romanin AOP Les Baux-de-Provence 2015 Rosé Pale pink and delicate, this wine offers a balanced and complex profile to accompany the flavors of meal. The winemaker recommends pairing with mixed summer salads, seafood and fruit salads. Grenache, Counoise, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Domaine des Terres Blanches Les Baux-de-Provence AOP Blanc 2014 Intense yet clean, crisp and “slightly effervescent” this wine can be enjoyed now or cellared for up to eight years. Pascal Leonetti, Best Sommelier in France 2006, sommelier at the Auberge de l’ill (three Michelin stars) offers the following pairing suggestions: “salad of scampi fried in olive oil, or Japanese cuisine, smoked salmon maki. Proven?al goat’s cheeses, such as matured Banon, are also a good match.” Rolle, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Marsanne, Ugni Blanc, Roussane and Viognier. Chateau d’Estoublon 2015 Rosé Aromatic and expressive of the region, this well-rounded wine with candy jar flavors is perfect to sip by the pool or with a meal. Pair with a plate of almonds, goat cheese and a baguette or with a summer meal of greens and a lightly seasoned roast chicken. 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 20% Mourvèdre. Domaine de la Vallounge Cuvée Garrigues 2015 AOP Baux de Provence Lively and fresh, this well-balanced bottle exhibits citrus and white fruit flavors. Lovely as a pre-meal drink or with a menu of grilled fish and vegetables or salads dressed in a local olive oil. 60% Grenache, 40% Cinsault. Guest Post written by: Jill Barth Jill Barth is a wine writer and journalist based in the US. She blogs at L’occasion and is Provence Wine Master candidate. Visit her on Instagram and twitter as @jillbarth and on Facebook as L’occasion. Luxe Products & Services, Provence Gift Guides Luxe Provence Spring Box Unveiled May 10, 2016 We just finished up another sold-out season of delivering the beauty and luxuries of Provence with our popular, Luxe Provence Box and thought we’d share a little peek under the cover. Our Springtime in Provence curation featured a luxury French gift collection of home textiles, luxury beauty and niche fragrances from Grasse. This season, we curated a gorgeous product collection designed to deliver blooms directly from Provence to your door. We featured high quality beauty items from Grasse, the world capital of perfume, along with a pop of spring in linen to add chic Provence elegance to our client’s home décor. You can learn more about the story behind this sold-out curation here. Here are the four featured brands featured in this Spring Edition: Au Pays de La Fleur d’Oranger (USA, Europe clients only) Each box will contain one full-size bottle of your choice (for a limited time) from niche perfume house, Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger (up to a $128 USD value alone). This perfume house is outstanding and there is plenty to choose from. The founders behind this brand have put their hearts and souls into making exceptional fragrances and it shines through. Their success hinges on many factors, not least the heritage linking them to orange blossom and the high quality of the local ingredients used. Even more important, is the undeniable talent of their nose, Jean Claude Gigodot, who has spent a lifetime creating beautiful smells. He is a generous and delightful man and his body of work reflects this. Sabé Masson Le Soft Perfume Stick (USA clients only) Each box will also contain one surprise selection from the ultra-chic Soft Perfume Line from Sabé Masson, perfect for your on-the-go fragrance needs. This is a very unique gift item receiving much buzz and praise for its hybrid blend of soft stick perfume and nourishing skincare. Delicate, sophisticated without alcohol or parabens, these beautifuly packaged soft, elegant perfumes bring together the pure sensation of perfume with the virtues of skincare. Source de Provence This brand new luxury cosmetics product line was recently launched after three years of extensive testing to achieve products that are 99% natural in origin from Provence. We have tested a range of their products ourselves, and are pleased to be the first to deliver these luxury cosmetics around the world from France! In fact, they were such a hit that we have ordered up their amazing Replenishing Day Cream for our boutique, by popular demand so run on over and order up yours here. Série Limitée LOUISE One of our favorite, luxury French linen designers is back by popular demand. We featured a lovely surprise collection set of luxury napkins featuring blooms that coordinated with a past curation, ideal for annual members to create their own chic, coordinating tablescape. Our award-winning Luxe Provence Box offers a highly curated collection of surprise French gift items representing each change of season in Provence. Be sure to reserve yours in advance, they sell-out quickly each season and are a limited edition. Up Next for Summer: La Vie Est Belle Luxe Provence Box We have our pre-sales on now for V4: La Vie est Belle – Summer in Provence. This season’s curation will feature a Luxe Provence exclusive design collaboration! Reserve yours today this is a limited edition only available to Luxe Provence clients. Art, Design & Culture, Weekend Escapes Charming Beauty of Vallons des Auffes May 4, 2016 When I started this blog over a year ago, my goal was to share a creative visual journal featuring my favorite places with a fresh perspective of what makes Provence such a charming, luxurious place to live. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder. While I haven’t had as much time as I would like to bring daily features, I am working on posting more visual explorations. So I hope you enjoy my visual journey into Marseille’s charming Vallons des Auffes. Inspired by its natural beauty, authentic charm and Mediterranean colors, I set off to bring you a fresh perspective of this Marseille neighborhood. The Vallon des Auffes is a little traditional fishing port in Marseille’s 7th arrondissement, just over 2 kilometers from the much larger, Vieux-Port, and just over from the corniche between the Catalan beach and Malmousque bay. It’s name was derived from the French word ‘auffe‘ or alfa, the sort of grass used to make ropes, braids and fishing nets. It’s definitely one of the must-see authentic neighbors of Marseille. It’s busy port restaurants draw crowds, it’s far from being a secret, but the neighborhood still maintains a sense of discovery upon arrival down its narrow streets. The must-dine local institutions include the newly remodeled Pizzeria Chez Jeannot and popular Chez Fonfon. This little port haven is home to over 50 fisher cabins and traditional fishing boats, as well as, some lovely views, charming residences and a hidden natural swimming pool for the neighborhood to enjoy. The natural colors and beauty are so inspirational. Hope you find your inspiration today, too. Plouf! Photography by: Tarik Koivisto Luxe Provence Hotels, Weekend Escapes Weekend Escape at The Coquillade May 3, 2016 Of course, there’s nothing I enjoy more than a beautiful weekend escape in Provence, especially with a group of gorgeous girlfriends. There are so many stunning and distinctly charming micro-regions in Provence that it is a surprise to many who visit, and even live here. Most recently, we covered highlights from Les Alpilles region of Provence. This time, I share a glimpse further north to the Luberon between Roussillon and the Colorado de Rustrel, part of the the superb “route de l’ocre”. To appropriately mark the season, we were greeted by a beautiful field of poppies, or coquelicot, just before arrival to our hotel. They are actually popping up a couple weeks early this year. We spent our girls’ weekend near the village of Gargas, part of the Parc Naturel Regional du Luberon, where you will find La Coquillade Village Hotel & Spa, our five-star escape for the weekend. It’s truly an ideal launching point for biking (electric if you fancy, my favorite way to travel) and exploration of the nearby ochre quarries of Roussillon, Peter Mayle’s dreamy Gordes or Bonnieux, Avignon or the gorgeous vineyards of the Cotes du Ventoux. But it’s also quite ideal, for just lazing poolside for a relaxed afternoon. Did I mention, there are vineyards on the property? This is the good life. We stayed in beautiful suites with our own private terraces that included views of the surrounding Vaucluse countryside. The “village” is a mix of older beautiful stone buildings and newer “bastide-style” suites set on a 100-acre estate complete with vineyards and tasting room. I tasted a lovely white Tramontane, featuring 50% Viognier, 25% Marsanne, 25% Roussanne from the Aureto Vineyard on the property. I will have to return (such a good excuse) for a full tasting and review of the other wines produced here, but I hear that they are garnering great reviews. The estate is perched in the heart of the Luberon Regional Natural Park and enjoys magnificent views over the region, its perched villages and Mont Ventoux. If wine tasting isn’t for you, there’s plenty of other activities to choose from. Unfortunately for us, the weather was a bit too chilly for outdoor swimming in either of the beautiful pools, including one at Olympic-size proportions. However, we did spend a wonderful afternoon in their deluxe spa facilities. The spa is definitely one of the highlights of this hotel and is certainly the largest in the region complete with multiple steam rooms, sauna, outdoor jacuzzis, hot and cold plunge pools, indoor pool and more. Our girls weekend escape to the Luberon was just perfect. Well, almost perfect. I could’ve spent much more time there exploring. So many beautiful regions of Provence to experience! For your next girls getaway, try our suggested pairing, the new “petit” Luxe Provence Gift curations featuring the a taste of the finest of Provence, curated to measure. They now come in the ideal size for celebrating a special milestone, birthday, wedding or group event. Learn more here. Photography by Tarik Koivisto and Celine Le Floch (Luxe Provence Box shots). For more info: La Coquillade Village Hotel & Spa Domaine de la Coquillade, 84400 Gargas Phone: 04 90 74 71 71 Provence Gift Guides, Scents of Provence Iris Blooms of Provence April 18, 2016 Arguably, one of the most photogenic regions of France begins it’s bloom. The Provence region of color and natural beauty has arrived bearing fields of powder periwinkle blooming irises throughout Trets’ landscape right now. Passing through the region to capture the beauty this morning, it felt as if thousands of delicate butterflies were displaying their colors as they rest gently upon fields of brilliant green. These fields are complimented by the picturesque outlines of the Sainte-Victoire, Mount Aurélien and Mount Olympus in the backdrop. So, pack your cameras and follow the route from Rousset to Trets to uncover the beauty for yourself. If you’re lucky, you’ll also catch an amazing whiff of the freshly cut thyme fields while trolling through the charming country roads. It’s easy to understand how such artists as Van Gogh and Cezanne drew inspiration by the iris and their beautiful faint and delicate blooms. At the same time, our clients around the world are opening up their sold-out V3: Celebrating Springtime curations featuring them. This spring, we hand-selected a fragrance collection for each of our clients that showcase the local perfume production. Iris is of prime importance in perfumery. Some describe the iris note as “the smell of cash” as it is expensive to produce. Did you know that Trets is one of the biggest iris growers in the world? Learn more about Provence’s Iris perfume production from Rebecca on this earlier post. The Trets region does not only produce Irises, but also award-winning wines, along with its breath-taking and charming neighbor, Puyloubier. This micro-region of Provence is covered in hectares of both ancient and newly planted vines with their bright early leaves just emerging. This Provence wine growing region dates back to the early XIII century, and happens to be home to some of my favorite, local pale and fruity rosés from Domaine Saint Lucie and the Famille Sumeire. Check back in a few days for our next post on the wine, vineyards to visit, and recommended restaurants to help you discover this gorgeous region, just a few kilometers outside of Aix-en-Provence. For now, stop and photograph the flowers. But please be careful, these are very precious fields used for cultivation of perfume so be sure to take your photos from the road to protect the delicate rhizomes. Photography, copyright and post by: Tarik Koivisto Older Posts Recent Posts Rencontres Arles The Villages of the Luberon Lavender of Provence In-Season Best Beach Swimming in Provence The Provence Lavender Is In Bloom Categories Art, Design & Culture Bastides, Interiors & Garden Design Designed In Provence Gastronomy & Wine Luxe Events Luxe Products & Services Luxe Provence Hotels Provence Gift Guides Scents of Provence Taste of Provence The Good Life Weekend Escapes Instagram Slider 2 days ago by luxeprovence #amour #provence #architecture #love #turquoise #arles #photography #wanderlust 5 days ago by luxeprovence INSPIRATION experiencing the history and true beauty of #arles #culture #creative #photography #chapel #history #rencontres #light #luxeprovence 4 days ago by luxeprovence Beautifully restored Clo?tre Saint-Trophime and a stunning venue for the #arles #rencontres #photography #architecture #roman #luxeprovence #summer #weekend #provence 1 day ago by luxeprovence end of day summer routine #goals #mood #plouf #thegoodlife #beautiful #light #turquoise #form 4 days ago by luxeprovence taking in the #authentic #beauty of the #summer #streets in #arles ... 3 days ago by luxeprovence #Phoenician summer #break #french #culture with my sweeties #mucem #marseille #architecture #igersmarseille #design #turquoise 2 days ago by luxeprovence a beautiful morning in #provence #bloom #arles #wanderlust #travel #picoftheday #luxeprovence #turquoise 5 days ago by luxeprovence tasting, testing and curating for next season #arles #provence #artisanal #curating #luxeprovencebox 3 days ago by luxeprovence INSPIRATION in #natural #forms ... the #beauty of #provence and its #platane #trees #france #wanderlust #travel 1 day ago by luxeprovence today's #style #pure #luxeprovence in #turquoise via @lovebynatsu Facebook Instagram Pinterest Google Plus Youtube Made with in Provence. ?2015-16 Luxe Provence? and Luxe Provence Box, All Rights Reserved. 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