Category Archives: Shopping

Clothing, antiques & collectibles, gifts, local produce, artisanal products

Cotignac’s Fête du Coing (quince festival)

If you have never seen a quince before, you’ll be charmed by it’s pear-like appearance and delighted by the variety of cuisine it can be used in. From tarts to tortes and candy to jelly, this multi-purpose fruit goes a long way here in Provence. It’s Cotignac’s pride and joy and every year the village traditionally celebrates its heritage and harvest in October. This year the festival will took place on the 21st of October and if you missed it, do come back for it next year.

Continue reading Cotignac’s Fête du Coing (quince festival)

Summer nights in Cotignac

It is dizzying how much goes on here in the Summer time; so much to do, so little time! Sometimes I wish I were on vacation here rather than living and working, sigh… But I try and get out as much as I can, not only to enjoy myself but also to bring you cool photos 😉

Earlier this month my husband and I had dinner in Lorgues and Saint Maximin and on a week-day evening both towns were “dead.” But not here in Cotignac. Almost every night of the Summer months there is some kind of entertainment and with it, many people who come here. Our population quadruples during the busy months, from 2, 300 to over 10,000! During the day you’ll see fruit, veg, and clothing markets or brocantes (antique markets) or boules (petanques) and at night there are concerts, outdoor movies, the restaurants are full of vacationers and it sometimes feels like one big street party particularly on weekends.

Last night (Friday the 17th August) I went out for some rosé and white wine at Chez Didier (Petit bar de vin de Didier) on the Cours and shared a huge platter of Spanish tapas (charcuterie hams, pickles, tortillas and such) with some friends before heading for the closing night of the Summer film festival at the Théâtre du Rocher. We thoroughly enjoyed the wine (Didier is always very knowledgeable about local wines and works hard to please his clientele), greedily downed all the tapas then rushed through the buzzing night market (even happening at the Place de la mairie with more entertainment there by bands) over to see Spike Lee’s latest movie “The Blackkklansmen.” What a great evening! I very much recommend the film, even though I am biased being an American.

At the bottom of the Cours, the now much-in-demand DJ AMAXXY was spinning his cool music too, so last night, basically everyone in the shopping/dining parts of the village were being entertained, it was truly formidable!

If you find yourself in our village and are looking for things to do, here are some suggestions: visit the Cotignac Museum on the rue St Joseph, go see the latest exhibition (the famous artist Arène is having a retrospective show until end of Sept 2018) at the Centre d’Art, check out the temporary expo at Cercle des Arts (next to the church), climb the rocher (if you feel fit enough), shop the shops, and have a nice lunch or dinner at any of the restaurants. Wanna go wine-tasting? Try Mirabeau Wine (and their gorgeous boutique) at number 5 Cours Gambetta, you can’t miss it. Market day is Tuesdays from 8am until 1pm. If you are not that hungry, you can always opt for a wine bar experience with tapas at chez Didier’s on the Cours, Nestuby Wine bar, or La Table des Coquelicots in the back. And of course there are non-alcoholic drinks as well.

The next night market will be held on the 22nd August, Wednesday. The next big event will take place on the evenings of the 24th, 25th, and 26th August when the big village festival descends upon us to remind the kids to enjoy one last hurrah before school starts again.

Market day in Cotignac June 13th, 2017

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

New owners at Deco Shop Au Moulin d’Antan

I have lived here for almost seven years now and have seen the owners of this shop change three times. The good news is that I found this collection of gift items, decorations, boutis, art, and dishware  MUCH better compared to the previous collections there. There is so much choice and even a gallery with local artists’ displays that are really good. The shop front has good parking space and the products are reasonably priced. A detour must for anyone who loves tasteful Provençale gifts and kitchenware.

Au Moulin d’Antan is just a 12 mins’ drive from Cotignac, in our neighbouring village of Montfort and just next to the Commandeur wine caves. It’s located just off the Route de Brignoles (18 bis, rue du Moulin) in Montfort sur Argens. Telephone: 04 94 59 98 21

 

Charming Salon de Provence

A bustling university town, Salon de Provence has 44,000 inhabitants and resembles a mini version of Aix-en-Provence.  It’s actually a practical place to stay if you want to spend more time on this side of Provence (Bouches-du-Rhone). Aix, Arles, Les Baux, and Avignon are a hop-skip-and-jump away and it’s also only one hour and 15 minutes’ drive from Cotignac.   Continue reading Charming Salon de Provence

Village visit: Lourmarin

Lourmarin is a village in the Luberon region of the South of France. It is in the department of the Vaucluse, and just one hour and fifteen minutes’ drive from Cotignac (via Montmeyan and Vinon sur Verdon). It was made particularly famous by Peter Mayle who wrote the best-selling novel A Year in Provence (later made into a Hollywood movie starring Russel Crowe – A Good Year). Continue reading Village visit: Lourmarin

Mr. Gum, Villecroze

Guillaume Goisque, the creator of the Mr. GUM brand of hand-made ceramic jewelry, has his atelier/shop in the quaint and really pretty village of Villecroze, just 20 mins drive from Cotignac, passed Salernes.

When I met Guillaume I was immediately taken by his good looks but this went further upon exploring his beautiful shop in the old part of the village. It’s inviting with its iron sign and colourful interior. Guillaume is a warm and beautiful gentleman and show- room is carefully laid out with stunning beaded necklaces, earrings, rings and gorgeous bracelents which he creates, with love,  from clay and glazes.  I have seen women and men all over Cotignac wearing his bracelets, even my husband is a fan! I now know what to get him for Christmas…

I highly recommend a visit to his shop!!

MR GUM, place de l’Horloge, 83690 Villecroze Tel: 06 09 55 18 36, 04 94 67 50 27

Emaiil : bijouxgum@gmail.com, web site: www.bijoux-gum.com

Here’s a photo gallery and video of Mr. Gum’s Atelier, Villecroze: http://boutiquedulac.jimdo.com/artisans-et-producteurs/bijoux-en-c%C3%A9ramique/

Kilims Nomades, Cotignac

What is a kilim? It’s a flat-woven carpet or rug made in Turkey, Kurdistan, and neighbouring areas, and you can find them for sale at Myriam’s shop, Kilims Nomades, in Cotignac on the Grand Rue. Myriam also sells beautiful ethnic bags, jewelry, and accessories for women. A great place to pick out a gift for anyone who loves slightly off-beat hand crafted items from Asia and the Caucasus. Worth a look! www.kilims-nomades.com

Antique Shop MODES

Each piece is a work of art, an original, an antique, or something that looks old and expensive! John and Simon welcome you into their treasure chest of furniture, paintings, light fixtures, brocante items etc, all in perfect condition and fair price. They also renovate old furniture. Modes is one of the most beautifull shops in Cotignac and is surrounded by still more picturesque flowers, buildings, and shops. Just out front from MODES is the fountain built in the 1800s for the place de la mairie. It’s worth a visit even if just to admire the art here.

 

Le Passé, Le Présent (Nadine’s shop)

Nadine Dehennin and her husband run this gorgeous brocante and decoration shop in Cotignac. Nadine has a knack for finding old objects and furniture and likes to make them look even more beautiful with her magic touch! If you are really nice to her she may even let you see their stock that is elsewhere – it’s like an Alladin’s Cave full of paintings, antiques, treasures… A terrific place to find those little objects that bring a sense of character to your home.

Le Passé, Le Présent can be found just across the street from the Place Neuve on Rue d’Antoine. 9 rue d’Antoine, 83570 Cotignac. Tel 0677 70 22 96. CLOSED MONDAYS.

A l’ombre du Rocher interior decoration

On the Grand Rue in Cotignac you’ll find many shops but one that stands out is Frederic’s very popular A l’ombre du Rocher. You’ll find just about anything to please even the most fussy person when gift giving. Very pretty English-Provençale type dishes and silverware, crystal glasses and chandeliers, woven furniture, candles, napkins, table cloths, baskets, and ceramic blown-up chickens that are really beautiful and extremely popular amongst the “in-the-know-decorators” but watch out as they are not cheap. These are symbols of good luck for kitchens in Provence so it’s like, well, you just have to get one!

Others goodies include hand-painted bowls in blue and white from Poland, coffee mugs and creamers, dishes and serving spoons. You’ll also find a very good collection of high-quality stuffed teddybears to thoroughly spoil the little ones in your life.

A l’ombre du Rocher: 8 Grand Rue, 83570 Cotignac  Tel: 04 94 78 03 98

 

Pierre de Lune – dress shopping in Cotignac

Say hello to Céline, at Pierre de Lune in Cotignac. Céline has some unusual, original, and very pretty Summer dresses for sizes S, M, and L for women who wish to stand out. These are no ordinary dresses – they remind me of how clothing was made many decades ago, when stitch detail counted, and materials were heavier and of better quality. To make the shop even more attractive, it is sandwiched between the lovely Paulette Café (ice creamery, salads, and snacks) and Corinne Hugou’s Atelier Café. So if you get tired from the heat and all that shopping, you have a few choices as to where to catch your breath and enjoy the people watching! -On the Cours Gambetta in Cotignac.

 

Vide Grenier (flea market) Cotignac

It was sunny and warm on Sunday, the first of June, and the Cotignac Parents’ Committee (AAPE) organised a successful flea market, complete with 4:30am traffic jams at the entry to the village’s Cours Gambetta! Susana was there to see it all, deal with the chaos, and place vendors swiftly and calmly. She then continued as crêpes maker and vendor (alongside other parent-volunteers who helped out) to raise more funds for the association in order to further Continue reading Vide Grenier (flea market) Cotignac

Inside Marguerite’s deco shop in Cotignac

Treats await pretty home-decoration lovers at Marguerite in Cotignac. Marguerite, who is originally Dutch, has had her shop for years now but she is still very active and has a real eye for picking out the type of decorations tourists and residents alike, adore to adorn their homes with. This summer’s colours are very bright; lots of reds, fuscia, pink, and lime-green decorates the exterior of the shop that is located just near the Place de la Mairie, on the Rue des deux places. Inside you’ll find more goodies and perfect gifts for even the fussiest of friends. It’s a great place to find fake flowers, antique reproduction furniture, lampshades, photo frames, candles, and much more. Next time you are in Cotignac, stop by to be enchanted. Closed on Mondays but open all day the rest of the week (without a lunch break!).

Tapissier, Cotignac (furniture renovation)

Denis Bonnay, who runs the local Tapissier here could not be more proud of his work. It’s skilled, it’s beautiful, and most of all, it’s ecological as it recycles our old furniture and gives it a new and better look. Few Tapissiers exist these days as many people prefer to buy cheap new furniture (like the type found at IKEA) to replace old tattered ones but if it can be salvaged, it should be! Continue reading Tapissier, Cotignac (furniture renovation)