Cotignac is very very popular as a tourist destination in the Summer, but what’s life like in the Winter time? Well, as an all-season resident, I can tell you: it can get very cold here, unlike the coastal areas (Cote d’Azur’s beach towns like Nice, Cannes, St Laurent du Var, Hyeres, St Tropez etc) and exceptionally this year (2014) we escaped the coldest temps and snow we had seen for at least five years in a row. The cold can bring with it some snow in January or February causing havoc for drivers and those housed in badly insulated houses. If you are thinking of living here, you should be prepared for cold weather well into MINUS 0 degrees centigrade, and invest in good down jackets and cozy boots (and double glazed windows if you can!). The snow never lasts more than a couple of weeks but it does bring with it some excellent photo opportunities and absolutely stunning scenery amongst the trees and cliffs that are white-washed with it. If you insist on seeing this, the best time to visit is mid to late February to chance it. Just make sure you have enough firewood in your house!
The coldest winter of 1956
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:
VERY UNFORTUNATELY this restaurant has closed in 2015. Stay tuned for news on what’s/who’s taking it over in Autumn of 2015!!
In Cotignac, one of the best restaurants (mid to high range prices) affectionately called Chez Loli’s, can be found on the Cours Gambetta, just across the street from the Hotel de Cours. It’s probably the only place for now that offers Lobster for lunch or dinner and the best Prawn ravioli I’ve tried since living in California!
Continue reading Chez Loli, a.k.a. La Table de la Fontaine
I really like this joint – it’s casual and it’s reasonably priced and the dishes are copious and satisfying. It’s not fine dining, mind you – more like home-style cooking but always tasty and comforting. You can bring your kids and even they’ll be treated very well (with a treat at the end!). Weekday lunch specials (a choice of main and dessert) are as low as 12 euros per person! Continue reading Pile Poêle restaurant in Carces
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.
Pierre de Lune, shop front
Pierre de Lune interior
Pierre de Lune, skirts in cotton
Pierre de Lune tunics and tops
Pierre de Lune Summer Dresses
Pierre de Lune tops
Pierre de Lune two-pieces
Cotignac’s resident and modern artist (plasticien, painter, and sculptor) Marc Tigrane officially celebrated the opening of his exposition at the Art and History Museum and Chapel d’Observance in the Var’s capital town of Draguignan. The expo is being sponsored by the Municipality and the new Mayor of Draguignan, Richard Strambio, was there to welcome the invitées to the splashy opening. Wine and aperitifs were served after the speaches and everyone had a fine time in the beautiful early evening June sunlight! Continue reading Tigrane expo officially opens in Draguignan
The village of Aups is well worth a stop if you are staying in Cotignac. Outdoor markets there take place on Saturdays and Wednesdays in the Summer but the Saturday one is bigger and if you get there early in the morning (before 9am) you’ll get a near-by parking spot and have the best selection of just about everything from fresh produce and clothing, nougat, olives, breads, oils, and of course TRUFFLES. But if you are a truffle fan (like me, Susana), then you’ll want to come back for the annual Truffle Festival in January where you can watch the famous truffle pig effortlessly locate truffles in a matter of seconds. Continue reading Aups, the Truffle Village
It’s one of Provence Living’s MUST VISIT villages if you visit our region yet it’s one of the least visible (on a map it is hidden behind Parc du Verdon!) making it a bit of a Provence secret. The stunning village, however, is very easy to get to from Cotignac. Plan on spending about a 45 minutes driving and maybe just a little longer in the Summer season. Continue reading Moustiers-Sainte-Marie, a must see village
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
A cute and casual pizza joint where kids can also dine on fries and steak haché exists on the Cours Gambetta in Cotignac. La Tarente’s wooden interior and gingham accents on their table cloths makes for a simple but pleasurable dining experience. Continue reading Pizza at La Tarente
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!).
Boutis are of high quality and start at around 130 euros
Lampshades cost between 25 and 45 euros
pots, frames, jars, and fake flowers
Entry room, Marguerite’s
darker colour decorations at Marguerite
Terrace decorations, Marguerite
Shop front, Marguerite, Cotignac
Shop front from tunnel into Place de la Liberté, Cotignac
Fuscias and turquoise decorations
Candle abras and jars, also pretty light fixtures
Bird deco, candle holders for dining table
When I discovered I had won “Lunch for Two” at Chateau de Berne’s brasserie I was over the moon! I was at the Christmas market in Lorgues last December and had the good sense to fill out a form at the Chateau’s annual drawing.
Continue reading La Bouscarelle at Chateau de Berne – restaurant review
It’s one of the most beautiful yet understated coastlines in the world. The beach sands that span just a few kilometres between Ramatuelle (St Tropez) and Le Lavandou are attached to vineyards that make the best rosé wines in Provence today.
Continue reading Chateau Léoube’s fine rosé
There is a plethora of choice when it comes to bathing in the Summer Season here in Provence. Even if you may not be staying (or living) in a villa with swimming pool, there are plenty of choices for cooling down. Close to Cotignac we have the Lac St Croix (35 mins drive), the beaches of St Tropez (Pamplonne) and Bormes Les Mimosas (1 hr 15 mins), as well as River beds like the Plan d’Eau in Salernes (20 mins) or Vallon Sourn in Chateau Vert (20 mins) or the Verdon in Quinson, where you can picnic or dine nearby, or enjoy sunbathing or naps under the parasol pines. There are also municipal swimming pools in Regusse, Brignoles, and St Maximin but be warned that picnics are not allowed pool-side and most do not allow entry with lounge chairs. You’ll have to make do with a simple towel to lie down on. Continue reading Beaches, Lakes, and Rivers, oh my!
COSTS and PRACTICAL INFORMATION:
We get a lot of questions about how much things cost here in Provence, particularly from people living outside of France. Some things are cheaper, other things are MUCH MORE EXPENSIVE. Here are a few general answers for those of you interested in the following:
Here in Provence, WHAT WOULD IT COST TO…. Continue reading Sharing our village & Practical Information
Ever dreamed of moving your young family to the South of France but thought it might be out of your financial sites ? Think again. You could save up to 1,200 euros per month by enrolling your child in the local Maternelle.
Continue reading Free Child Care in France!
Cotignac’s history can be traced back to Roman times but came alive particularly in the 1100s with the building of their very first chapel, the Chapel St Martin which will soon be given a full renovation to show off its one-of-a-kind old painted frescos which will attract tourists world-wide. Continue reading A short history of Cotignac
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)
So what do Angelina & Brad, Eric Idle, Vanessa Paradis, and David and Victoria Beckham have in common? They all have vacation homes in Provence, and in particular, the VAR department of France. Branjelina’s Chateau Miravale is situated in the all-organic village of Correns. This area is so scarcely populated, it’s rare that we see paparazzi bothering to make the drive out from the busier areas like St Tropez, Cannes and Antibes.
Continue reading Living in Cotignac: Affordable Real Estate
A small but beautiful brocante sale in Cotignac took place on the 8th May 2014. Continue reading Armistice Day Brocante, Cotignac