This website has a popular facebook page also called Provence Living, www.facebook.com/provenceliving. We get lots of requests to share other peoples’/associations’/businesses’ information on it because of our reach (in high numbers). But I just want to clarify what this page and website are about because sometimes people misunderstand. It is not about selling houses, or publicising every local event, or advertising summer rentals. Sometimes we share friends’ “for sale” items that include homes but this is not the main goal.
Provence Living is about sharing what is important in life and in rural Southern France and in particular, Cotignac. What’s important may be relative to different cultures but here it is: a great, low-key lifestyle geared around good weather, having clean water, pollution free nature, beautiful scenery, bringing together interesting people who love to share and are generous with their time which in turn churns out fabulous food, a variety of cooking methods, quality wines and time spent sharing outdoor entertainment. But it’s also about sharing what we know about how the French live. We are under their laws and cultural norms. We accept them and try our best to assimilate with them, learn their language, and take in the best of their traditions and joie de vivre. Provence Living is not about the newest technological gadgets for travelling, designer clothing or expensive interior decorations. Luxury is great on the odd occasion but it’s not a popular lifestyle here in the Var (see the Côte d’Azur for that kind of stuff). We try and share what’s useful, fun and affordable (with an occasional splash-out treat that might be merited), discoveries that may sometimes be delicious and other times just beautiful, like a glass of quality, chilled rosé sipped on the top of the Bessillon mountain overlooking a picturesque sunset (violins, please), or just cool photos of what can be seen here on a daily basis.
France is not a capitalist country. France is not a get-rich country. It is however blessed with its rich history, a relatively well balanced distribution of wealth, a healthy attitude towards eating (good seasonal fruits and vegetables, taking time to dine together, etc), particularly in the South. Nothing is ever rushed here and that may sometimes frustrate people who come from other places where business competition is more fierce. Two hour lunches are very common and guest-dinner-entertainment can last four hours or more. It may take a week or more to find someone to get your swimming pool in working order and that is just how it is. C’est comme ça!
So if and when living here, you’ll be well advised to just ride the gentle waves, not get stressed over the little things (everything has a way of working out in the end, really) and just relax. There is so much to learn from the locals; they will help you when and if they are able, they will never be fake, they will eventually share their knowledge on where and how to find those edible mushrooms and the best way to cook ratatouille, how their ancestors fought in the world wars, their hopes and their dreams… And maybe, if you are lucky and patient enough, they’ll learn to like you too.