Sunday is market day in Bandol so it’s a little busy but it’s not too touristy which is what I love about the place. Unlike St Tropez, Cannes, and Nice, you don’t hear too many other languages being spoken here (other than French!). And yet it has everything – a beautiful port, fantastic restaurants and shops, and of course great wine. Continue reading Day trip to Bandol in October
On the far West side of the Verdon is the little village of Esparron with it’s own lake and stunning castle. In October it’s particularly pleasant because there are few people around (the village has a population of 450). We parked on the Northern side of the village and took a nice walk through the ruelles and charming village houses, took photos from outside the castle (unfortunately it’s private but a bed-and-breakfast worth a look. Click on https://chateau-esparron.com/en/ ). Further down the road towards the lake are some lovely cafés where lunch was being served all afternoon on a Sunday. We stopped and had a beer and the kids munched on ice cream bars. From there the views just got better and better. The afternoon sun was glittering on the water (dont forget to bring your sunnies even this time of year). The lake here has their own sailing club, electric boats for hire (all year ’round) and even a tour boat (check the schedule) with a guide. It was October 8th and there were people swimming although we felt it was too cold. But the water was clear and a gorgeous turquoise colour and pleasant for a foot-dip. This place was only a 40 – 45 mins drive away from Cotignac through some lavender fields (N.B. lavender is in bloom in Provence in June and early July only). If you felt more adventurous you can continue driving to Gréoux les Bains afterwards or stop in Quinson on the way. Either way, a great afternoon out!
What could be more fun than visiting your local open-air market for fresh regional organic vegetables and fruits, dried sausages, nougat, a roasted chicken with potatoes to take home for an easy lunch, some pretty clothing or sandals, local truffles or tapenades, and the list goes on! Continue reading Markets in and around Cotignac
We all have a good idea about the expected benefits of living in this Mediterranean region: the clean air, water, the relaxing slow paced life with good wine and olive oil, the fantastic weather (so much sunshine!), and the outdoor markets full of organically grown produce…the list is long. Continue reading The unexpected benefits of living in rural South of France
Located just 20 minutes from Cotignac, and on the way to the Lac St Croix, is the medieval village of Aups, famous for Truffles and their annual Truffle Festival in January. In Summer the village is bustling with life and their twice-weekly markets are really worth going to because it’s cheap and there is an abundance of choice. Aups has their market on Saturdays and Wednesdays. See also http://provence-living.net/aups-truffle-village
It was a gorgeous, warm, sunny day in Cotignac and the tourists seemed to come out of the woodwork. The market was bustling and there were so many buying temptations from the roasted chickens to big bunches of lavender. I finally succummed to some pretty cotton clothing at the bottom of the Cours Gambetta but oh, if I had all the money in the world I’d buy up half this market, it was so good! Continue reading Market day in Cotignac June 13th, 2017
Quality of ingredients, good service, and a relaxed atmosphere is what you can expect here at the wonderful La Table de Pol in Lorgues. It’s a little escape, like something we’d find nearer to the coast here or on a beach. Lots of stretching room, super comfy tables and chairs, benches with cushions for your aperitifs, and a cozy wine bar indoors for a more romantic feel; perfect for couples. Continue reading La Table de Pol – wine bar and restaurant in Lorgues
It’s always such a delight to visit Mr Gum at his boutique full of fabulous ceramic necklaces, earrings and bracelets in old Villecroze. Guillaume (owner and creator of the shop) is full of charm too and is always a real pleasure to chat with. What’s best is that his shop is right next to the now famous La Bohème Café with equally charming Liz as owner and hostess. Have a coffee, a piece of cake, a look around at Mr Gum’s then head for the beautiful rose park across the way with its stunning limescale cliffs and cave dwellings (kinda like a miniature Cotignac!!), a beautiful old house, picnic tables, tennis courts, and a great park for younger kids too. All this is just 25 mins’ drive from Cotignac. Worth the detour!! Continue reading Villecroze Park, Café La Bohème, and Mr Gum’s
The village house in Sillans-la-Cascade is just 2 mins walk to the fabulous bakery and restaurant “Les Pins.” There is a 30 mins’ walk down to the impressive double waterfalls of Sillans from here. Aups, Cotignac and Salernes are just a few minutes’ drive away. The lac de St Croix just 25 minutes’ drive. Continue reading Comfortable accommodation in Sillans-la-Cascade
Tourists often confuse these two outdoor sales events but basically a Brocante is run by professionals and a Vide Grenier by either a local municipality and/or an association.
At a Brocante one can typically find lots of antiques in the form of cutlery, decoration, furniture, and jewelry. You’ll also find art in the form of sculptures, framed paintings, old posters, and textiles. The people behind the stands are professional buyer-sellers who spend much of their time collecting and then selling their treasured items at regular brocante markets around the region. Some travel from as far away as the North of France. My personal experience in shopping at Brocantes is that they often over-price items but if you tell the seller you are local and that you’d like to negotiate the price, they are mostly open to this. It helps if your French is very good, of course. Continue reading Brocante versus Vide Grenier
There’s a new exposition in town and it opened today at the Centre d’Art La Falaise, in Cotignac. The current collection features regional fine artists, sculptors and photographers (in alphabetical order): Elian Bachini, Jean Marie Cartereau, Chantal Casefont, Martine Doll, Michel Dufresne, Alain Francois, Vonick Laubreton, Stéphane Lovighi-Brougogne, Manuel Pontarelli, Eric Principaud and Carla Van Der Werf.
The centre is a beautiful renovated old chapel and was once a cinema from the 1930s until the early ’60s. It was then turned into a restaurant until ten years ago when it became a garage until Mirabeau Wine turned the lower floor into its headquarters and boutique two years ago. Anyone can enter the Centre d’Art on the first floor for a very reasonable fee of just two euros, benefiting the privately run non-profit foundation. If you are a local or live here most of the year, I highly recommend getting a “Pass Privilège” for just 5 euros with access to all the expositions (not counting other events such as concerts or conferences) throughout the year. For more information and announcements, follow their facebook page here.
Opening hours from 15th April – 14th May: Tuesdays and Fridays 10h00-12h30 15h00-17h30, Thursdays (from 27th April) 10h – 12h30 and
weekends (Saturdays and Sundays):
11h00-12h30 & 15h00-17:30
– jeudi – 10h à 12h30
– dimanche – 11h à 12h30 et 15h à 17h30
Follow their facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/centredartlafalaise/?fref=ts
A stunning “immersion exhibition” of art inside the quarries of Les Baux de Provence, this is a must stop in Provence. This season’s collection feature Dutch Rainassance artists Hieronymous Bosch, Pieter Brueghel, and the Italian Giuseppe Arcimboldo.
Les Baux de Provence is approximately one hour and forty five minutes’ drive from Cotignac.
For more information in English click here. Or go to: http://carrieres-lumieres.com/en/home
Tourtour is set on top of a windy hill (elevation 900 metres) with sweeping views all the way out to Frejus and the Mediterranean with the Mount St Victoire between. The population is just under 500 but the locals are a tight knit group who put on one of the most amazing festivals (fête de l’oeuf or the Egg Festival) around Easter every year. Tourtour is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in France and is well worth a detour when not too cold or windy. The little streets through the village houses are so full of charm and the restaurants serve simple yet freshly made food that of course goes rather well with a nice glass of chilled rosé or anything really. It’s about a 20 minutes’ drive from Cotignac, via either Aups or Villecroze (fastest). Continue reading Tourtour in March, 2017
This year’s Cotignac Trail Challenge will take place on the 4th of June and if last year’s event is anything to go by, it’ll be another smashing day full of excitement and participation from the entire village. Continue reading Cotignac Trail Challenge – the best annual sports event
Recently written up in our local newspaper the Var Matin, Le Mas de Cotignac offers Michelin standard “voluptuous” accommodation for even the fussiest of guests. If you are looking for a romantic break, a tranquil vacation, or a weekend getaway without the kids, this is the place to unwind and be luxuriously pampered. They are located just outside the village. Le Mas de Cotignac is an exceptional bed and breakfast with table d’hôtes (possibility to book lunches and dinners) with swimming pool and jacuzzi. And their service is also top notch and attentive to guests’ every need. Continue reading Le Mas de Cotignac – accommodation and table d’hôtes
It’s the most wonderful time of year, or so the song goes, but the build-up to Christmas in Cotignac is indeed quite special! All the local merchants do their best at decorating their shop fronts and just before the big day there is always an annual Marché de Noël on a Sunday where all the locals and even many people from other villages come to enjoy the free entertainment (music, museums, mulled wine, local delicacies, etc) and this year was exceptional with our warm sun that decided to make dining on the terrace of the Cours Gambetta a real pleasure. We helped ourselves to some soup made by the international association Club 28, at the bottom of the Cours. For just 2 euros we had hot, scrumptious pumpkin soup and/or split pea with lardons (it really was good) home made by one of the association members. Then we bought a bottle of Mirabeau wine and drank it in the sunshine with treats like fresh apple beignets from a nearby stand. Continue reading Cotignac at Christmas time
Chateau de Berne used to be a small upscale auberge tucked into the middle of their vast property but nowadays boasts five stars for its hotel and spa facilities. They have invested heavily in making the resort top-notch with super equipment and amenities to excite and attract even the fussiest of upscale visitors. Continue reading Chateau de Berne – hotel, restaurant, and spa
Just when we thought the weather was going to turn chillier and less sunny, it was clear blue skies and bright sunshine on October 30th, 2016. It was 23 degrees celcius. Continue reading Bauduen (Lac St Croix) in late October
Tourists from all over the world who visit the South of France flock to Les Baux and it’s not surprising; the region is already stunning but what makes Les Baux stand out is its dominant stone chateau and the white rocky hills that surround it. From the top there are sweeping views across Arles, Camargues and the Alpilles. Les Baux is in the department of Bouches-du-Rhone (13) and about one hour and a half’s drive from Cotignac in the Var. Continue reading Les Baux de Provence