Gastronomy & Wine, Luxe Provence Travel Guides

36 Hours of Wine Tasting in Les Alpilles

August 7, 2017
travel wineguide provence les baux de provence

(Hotel Château des Alpilles in Saint Remy)

There is a spot of mystique and natural beauty that must be experienced to be understood: the Provençal 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 Rhône 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 Provençal 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.

provence wine chateau estoublon

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.



cheese-ofprovenceStart 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 château ruins offer a view of the Alpilles. After lunch, pace the afternoon around time at these neighboring wine estates.

Domaine de la Vallongue

domaine de la vallongue provence aopThe 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.

domaine de la lauzieres provence wine

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’Estoublonaop-les-baux-de-provence-wines

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.

plane trees of provence

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.

luxe provence hotel de tourrel

Luxury hotels in and around 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 our favorite, Chateau des Alpilles (below). Discover quintessential “Luxe Provence” from its storybook chateau, luxury appointed rooms… to the welcoming staff (read more about my love affair with this fabulous place here) for a truly restful and pampering overnight between vineyard visits. If you cannot nab a room at the chateau, you can also opt for a lovely relaxed lunch poolside featuring fresh fish, grilled local meats and Mediterranean cuisine during the summer months.



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 Provençal 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 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.
les baux de provence wine tasting

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.

Château Dalmeran

Château Dalmeran offers cooking and wine tasting classes at their château where olive groves and vineyards grow. Take home your own bottle of Château 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. The wines here are lovely, from bright and delightful whites and rosés to fragrant reds.

Château 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 Provençal 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. Provençal goat’s cheeses, such as matured Banon, are also a good match.” Rolle, Grenache Blanc, Clairette, Marsanne, Ugni Blanc, Roussane and Viognier.

Château 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


We are very excited to introduce 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 a certified Provence Wine Master. 

Visit her on Instagram and twitter as @jillbarth and on Facebook as L’occasion. (Originally posted June 10, 2016 with updates August 8, 2017.)

Lifestyle & Accessories

This Just In…Our Cassis Linen Dress

August 4, 2017
luxe provence resort wear

Celebrate the Good Life and wrap yourself up in our elegant, chic Cassis Linen Dress in Crisp White… Now available in our boutique for a limited time, while supplies last.

The first release from our Luxe Provence Resort Wear collection, which features high-quality natural fabrics designed in Provence. Each collection reflects the relaxed, elegant chic South of France Lifestyle. Members of our new luxury Mediterranean Gold Subscription will receive avant-première pieces made “sur mesure” from upcoming collections paired with luxury accessories and artisanal objects curated throughout the Mediterranean, along with special VIP discounts to the Luxe Provence Lifestyle line all-year long.

Shop the Dress or Subscribe to our new Mediterranean Gold Subscription today to receive the Luxe Provence Lifestyle delivered to your doorstep.


Artisans of Provence, Behind The Curation, Designed In Provence

In the Atelier: Aurore Pélisson, Our Autumn Artisan of Provence

July 24, 2017
aurore pelissan

This season’s featured Provence Artisan comes from the historic city of Avignon. We are pleased to announce a fabulous collaboration is underway featuring the textile artist, Aurore Pélisson of Hape, for each of our Luxe Provence Autumn curations.

aurore pelisson hape silk seriegraphie

Aurore Pélisson graduated from the École Nationale des Beaux-Arts in Lyon, France in 2009, specializing in textile design. Upon graduation, Aurore moved to London, where she worked on several high-profile artistic collaborations, including an installation for the Hackney Wicked Festival of contemporary art.

In 2011, she returned to her birthplace in Provence of Avignon. She was asked to exhibit her large format silk textiles in the historic Eglise du Couvent des Celestins at the Parcours de l’Art in 2013. The Celestine Church is located in Corps-Saints Square and was constructed under the orders of Clement VII in 1389. In parallel, she also launched her own brand, HAPE, with the mission of designing and creating unique textile pieces of art working with natural methods, dyes and materials.

We will feature one of Aurore’s couture silk pieces in our upcoming Autumn Luxe Provence curations. We went behind-the-scenes with Aurore this week in her Avignon atelier to discover more about her design process, inspiration and methods on how she creates her beautiful silk works of art.

All of the color dyes Aurore uses for her textile art is made from plant roots, leaves and even pomegranates from her grandmother’s Provence garden. Her beautifully organic, patterned prints are created by impressing the elements themselves into the carefully tinted fabric. For example, the reddish colors and patterns (picture above and below) were created from the roots of the garance plant, a pesky and sticky Provence weed that she integrates into her design. Truly a stunning example of finding the beauty in everyday living things.

Part of our passion is to discover and promote local talented artisans like Aurore, and integrate sustainable design practices into our curations and Luxe Provence product lines to share with you. We hope you are as excited as we are to discover Aurore’s exclusively created silk creations in our Luxe Provence Autumn season curations.

We will feature one of Aurore’s couture silk tunique pieces as a hero option in our new V1: Mediterranean Gold: Climb Aboard curation, our latest subscription featuring a resort wear inspired collection. Or receive one of her exclusively created surprise home textile pieces available in our V9: Autumn Impressions – Luxe Provence Blush Subscription. Two opportunities to experience the beautiful and painterly world of silk textile design by this talented Provence Artisan and Designer.

Be sure to order your curation quickly, last season’s V8 limited edition collection sold out very quickly!

Mediterranean Gold – Keeping Romance Alive

July 20, 2017

We are pleased to announce that we have expanded our Good Life celebration beyond the Provencal borders with a new ultra-luxury Mediterranean Gold subscription experience.  Discover the SlowLuxe Mediterranean lifestyle through highly-curated collections featuring the artisanal beauty and luxuries of the South of France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Morocco. Each limited-edition luxury collection features modern heirloom pieces, chic style and sustainable high-design from select artisan-rich Mediterranean regions. Subscribers will also receive exclusive designer collaborations, along with avantpremière pieces from our Luxe Provence Lifestyle line, beginning with our SS/18 Resort Wear collection!

This new luxury gifting service compliments the brand’s original Luxe Provence Blush Subscription, which features curations sourced exclusively in Provence. The Mediterranean Gold Subscription offers the opportunity to travel to exciting new regions. Our highly-regarded curations continue to be guided by our original mission: to elevate and promote regional artisans, while also sourcing the finest talent, collaborators and quality materials for our Luxe Provence Lifestyle collection.  “I wanted to offer our clients the opportunity to experience new artisans and luxury brands throughout the Mediterranean to keep our curations fresh, high-quality and unique for seasons to come, while continuing to share the stories, passion, and inspiration behind each curation.”

Keeping Romance Alive – The Ultimate Luxury Gift For Her

This ultimate luxury gift subscription will be delivered around life’s key moments, including a holiday, valentine and mother’s day curation. This ideal luxury gift is tailored to each subscriber by our team of stylists to best personalize sizing, style and regional travel preferences.

Our new Mediterranean Gold Subscription may be purchased as either a two gift trial curation or Annual Subscription of four gift deliveries.

Happy weekend… Keep the Romance Alive!

Gastronomy & Wine

Fontcreuse Côtes de Provence

July 4, 2017
best provence rosé wine

I had the true privilege to meet the charming family winemakers behind the highly regarded Château Fontcreuse (The Brando Family pictured below right) recently, as they opened up their château and tasting room in Cassis to us, to learn about an exciting new wine collaboration they are set to release.

The Brando Family of Fontcreuse

Jean-François Brando is the winemaker and proprietor of Château Fontcreuse, a highly regarded “vigneron” producing some of Cassis’ finest wines at his historic and mystical site, right at the foot of the Couronne de Charlemagne. The Fontcreuse name is synonymous for producing excellent, high-quality white wines in Cassis following traditional, local methods since the 1920s. The château also has a rich history of attracting affluent international guests to its stunning location, including British author, Virginia Woolf, who penned a number of her novels in 1925 and 1929, on the stunning grounds in a charming bergère still located on the property today.

Oliver Sumeire and Jean-Francois Brando

Jean-François called upon Olivier Sumeire (pictured above left), an eighth generation Provence wine producer and proprietor of three estates in the AOP Côtes de Provence, to produce a premium Côtes de Provence rosé and white, worthy of the name Fontcreuse. The Sumeire Family’s three Châteaux: Coussin, Afrique, and Maupage produce excellent, award-winning rosés each year. Most notably, their César Cuvée l’Afrique Rosé 2016, was recently selected as one of the 8 Best Rosé wines in the world! No small feat, as it was prestigiously selected from 18,000 rosés tasted at the annual International Wine Challenge (IWC) in London this year. Lucky for us, we were one of the first invited to taste their collaboration.

wines of provence rosé best

The Fontcreuse Côtes de Provence rosé is a blend of Grenache, Cinsault and Syrah possessing a pale yet brilliant, pink hue with a fragrant nose of peach and strawberry, along with a touch of aniseed. The mouth is expressive and bright with a crisp, dry and citrusy finish. It paired beautifully with our quintessential Provencal apéritif, yet also perfectly compliments more sophisticated Mediterranean, Californian and Asian cuisine. A true haut de gamme collaboration between two distinguished winemakers in Provence, this rosé collaboration is certainly worth seeking out.

For more information, contact



Photography taken on-location by Tarik Koivisto. 


Artisans of Provence, Behind The Curation

In the Atelier: AnneLaure Humblot’s Dreamy Creations

June 12, 2017
artisans of provence

I am pleased to offer the latest in our series “Behind the Artisans of Provence” featuring our second talented creator in this season’s SOLDOUT V8: Midsummer Dream curation. Each season, we bring you behind the scenes of a talented artisan or designer working here in Provence. It brings us much pleasure to discover and spotlight the talented people that are inspired daily by the beauty of living here in Provence. And even more, that we are able to deliver their stunning creations to your doorstep.

artisans of provence luxeprovencebox

A few short months ago, I discovered AnneLaure Humblot’s whimsical and highly artistic work. I was both inspired and excited as soon as I walked through the charming doors of her Gasoline Atelier in Salernes, a beautiful Provencal village in the Var. Salernes is famous for their authentic terracotta tiles and lively artisanal community based around years of history in creating fine, traditional ceramics. The village is steeped in ceramics and terracotta tile work due to the discovery of the region’s iron rich red clay dating back to the 1800s.


Today, 15 ceramists and 4 potters continue with the tradition in Salernes, including the notable Alain Vagh, a colorful artist and well-reputed producer of beautiful floor and wall tiles in vibrant colors, shapes and sizes.  Alain’s daughter-in-law, Vero Vagh, also creates her own, lovely ceramic designs in a variety of styles at her boutique, Pause Ceramics, in the center of the village that I recommend visiting.

artisans of provence salernes ceramics

AnneLaure is registered as a working artisan in the prestigious Ateliers d’Art de France, which represents more than 6,000 craftsworkers, artists and craft companies here in France. Their objectives are to enhance, represent, safeguard and support the economic development of craft professionals. Their organization is deeply committed to the educational, cultural and social aspect of developing artisans of France. They offer support with high-profile activities that contribute to building the international and national reputation of the craft sector in the country.

We asked AnneLaure to share a bit behind her inspiration and favorite aspects of being a working Artisan of Provence.

En: When did you first start as a working artisan?

I have been working as a ceramacist since 2003.

En: What was your inspiration behind this line of plates we are featuring this season in our V8 Collection?

The portraits are inspired by essentially by the paintings of Klimt and Bernard Buffet.

En: What is your favorite aspect of your work?

What I like most about my work is the moment when I put the brush, for the first stroke, on the dried clay.

En: What is your favorite part of your day?

I love the morning. A few minutes after awakening .. everything is quiet and new ….

En: What is your favorite part of living in Provence?

I love the whole of Provence: the sun that floods us with its rays, the songs of the cicadas in the summer, the frogs and the locusts in the evening, the dry grass of our garrigues crackling under our feet. And vertiginous cypresses, this atmosphere of the afternoons of summer, where the heat is at its height and where nobody moves … the silence canicular!


Fr: Quand commencez-vous à pratiquer en tant qu’artisan ?

Je travaille en tant que céramiste depuis 2003.

Fr: Quelle est votre inspiration pour votre assiettes ? 

Les portraits sont essentiellement inspirés des tableaux de Klimt et de Bernard Buffet.

Fr: Quel est votre aspect préféré de votre travail ?

Ce que j’aime le plus, dans mon travail, c’est le moment où je pose le pinceau, pour le premier trait, sur l’objet en terre sèche.

Fr: Quelle est votre partie préférée de votre journée ?

J’adore le matin. Quelques minutes après le réveil .. tout est calme et neuf ….

Fr: Quelle est votre part préférée de vivre en Provence ?

J’aime la Provence toute entière: le soleil qui nous inonde de ses rayons, les chants des cigales l’été, celui des grenouilles et des criquets le soir, l’herbe sèche de nos garrigues qui crépite sous nos pas, les cimes hautes et vertigineuses des cyprès, cette ambiance  des après midis d’été, où la chaleur est à son comble et où plus personne ne bouge… le silence caniculaire !….

Be sure to Subscribe to our Luxe Provence Box to receive the likes of AnneLaure’s work and other talented Artisans of Provence delivered to your doorstep each season. This artisanal limited edition curation sold-out very quickly, but we look forward to working with AnneLaure again soon.

For those in the area, be sure to check out AnneLaure’s beautiful work and atelier at:

Gasoline Creation (a former service station, transformed into fabulous creative atelier)
54 rue Edouard Basset
83690 Salernes



Article and Photography by: Tarik Koivisto, Founder & Curator of Luxe Provence

Artisans of Provence, Behind The Curation, Lifestyle & Accessories

Luxe Provence Summer Style SS17

May 16, 2017
luxe provence south of france fashion style

Make a splash this season…

Lucky subscribers will discover our handwoven Luxe Panier bags from Ouvrage (available in a variety of colors and handle options) inside each of our SOLD-OUT V8 Midsummer Dream curations shipping June 21st.

luxe provence style mode fashion

Shop our Luxe Provence SS17 accessories collection in our online boutique in limited editions. Or simply Subscribe to receive a luxury curated collection from Provence delivered to your doorstep with each change of season…

Model Renata Negroni is wearing our Brigitte LP handcarved wood sunglasses by Waiting for the Sun, Ouvrage bag in Camel with wood handle and gorgeous Capri Swimsuit in Olive by AIA available exclusively online at

ouvrage bags agnes weaver aix en provence sac cabas

Pre-orders are now open for a very limited quantities of the Ouvrage Luxe Panier bags while supplies last…then they are gone. Reserve yours today, if you missed them in our V8: Midsummer Dream curation. Shipping for individual sacs begins June 28th. Available in Camel, Mediterranean Blue and this July in blush as part of a limited Luxe Provence edition. We cannot wait to reveal these soon.

Learn more about the Artisan… 

Designed In Provence, Lifestyle & Accessories

Poetry of Jacquemus: The Santons of Provence

May 15, 2017

I had the immense pleasure to witness a historic fashion event last night. The stage was set for the 27 year-old wunderkind from the South of France, Simon Porte Jacquemus. On display was his much buzzed about “Santons de Provence” SS17 collection and judging by the crowds’ response he definitely did not disappoint.jacquemus marseille fashion

The runway was set at the Mucem, where Jacquemus currently also has an art exhibition. The show began with seagulls gracing the sky, the enchanting  “Le temps des fleurs” playing from Montovani, and the arrival of each beautifully clad Santon parading across the open air walkway between the Mucem and the fort at sunset to the awaiting masses.

Each look was flawless, awe-inspiring and truly féerique. This fresh and exciting collection was beautifully staged against the backdrop of the Mucem, Jacquemus’ Mediterranean Sea and sun-kissed clouds to a who’s who crowd of 1,200 excited Marseille attendees.jacquemus défilé

Jacquemus was selected by the MMMM for their second annual Open My Med Festival. The theme this year is “Marseille Je’taime” aptly chosen by Simon, a self-professed lover of Marseille, the sun, the Mediterranean sea, geometric shapes and the 80s.

This collection, like most of his work, is deeply influenced by the designer’s upbringing in the countryside of Provence and manages to elegantly reflect the region’s beauty through a modernization of the traditional, Santons of Provence, the handcrafted creche characters the region is known for.


I met Simon briefly prior to the show and it is a pleasure to see him brimming with such passion, joy and genuine appreciation for the beauty of the region and Marseille. To see the collection is as if to witness Cezanne and Matisse’s paintings come to life albeit with an exciting fresh, modern spin.  Each piece is elegantly crafted into a coherent and sophisticated collection that is conveyed as walking art through his visuals and last night’s défile. His playfulness and creativity is a delight to witness, yet there’s still so much depth and storytelling to be found in his work. From the formal architectural lines, to raw edged finishings, to delicate lace and gentle pleats paired with geometric buttons….the beauty is truly in each detail. His work magically conveys both tradition and modernity; freshness and original sophistication. To be discovered… and adored. I cannot wait to see what comes next from Provence’s very own young fashion maverick.


Bravo again to the MAISON MÉDITERRANÉENNE DES MÉTIERS DE LA MODE (MMMM) whose mission is to discover and support young fashion designers, from France and the Mediterranean basin. #OpenMyMed Festival #MarseilleJetaime #Mucem


Local details were in each element of the production, down to the local styling to regionally chosen models, production teams and the hair styling team featuring organic natural product line, Végétalement Provence,  a Provence brand I adore.marseille

A truly inspiring night and un grand merci to the MMMM team and Jacquemus for recognizing and elevating fresh forward-facing fashion here in Marseille. Jacquemus, Je t’aime… 

image courtesy by samuell studio

Jacquemus image courtesy of samuell studio


Event Photography by Tarik Koivisto, Creative Director, Luxe Provence

Artisans of Provence, Behind The Curation, Designed In Provence, Lifestyle & Accessories

In The Atelier: Behind the Weave with Ouvrage

April 20, 2017

I am so excited to introduce the first of this season’s talented Provence Artisans and Designers featured in next season’s (already!) SOLD-OUT curation with you. This season, we deliver V8: The Midsummer Dream Luxe Provence Box.  It’s a Collector’s Edition and really special, featuring handmade unique creations from not one, but two, local talented artisans in each box which is being shipped around the globe this June. Through my village hunts and city street curating adventures, I have had the pleasure to meet and collaborate with two fabulous and talented artisans this season. I will start by introducing the Aixoise weaver/architect behind this season’s much anticipated hero item, Agnès Krier.


In the winding streets of Aix-en-Provence, my local “ville” if you will, I discovered the relatively new concept boutique, Ouvrage. My goal that moment was to finalize the “it piece” for this summer’s Luxe Provence Box. I already had something special in mind to commemorate the season… it was a modern, luxury interpretation of the iconic panier sacs found throughout Provence. panier-provence

A “Provence panier” is a naturally woven “osier” shopping basket usually topped with leather handles used religiously throughout Provence’s quaint market and streets to carry everything from your French produce and fresh flowers, to beach foutas and Rosé-infused picnics.ouvrage-concept-store-aixenprovence-shopping-guide

I had heard about this lovely new concept boutique, Ouvrage, founded by two local architects and stopped by to take a look. Instant love… first for the boutique, which is a lovely minimal gallery-style concept store featuring a highly curated collection of beautifully designed and handcrafted items, art, jewelry, soaps and more. colorsnettle-sustainable-fabric-panier-bags-provence

Little did I know that Agnès, the co-founder was also weaving some beautiful works of art herself. And excitingly, was incorporating sustainable materials with linen that were both innovative and traditional at the same time to create a modern, beautifully textured line of sacs.  Her work incorporates nettles, which is perfectly safe to wear (don’t worry no stinging or irritation here..), and in fact, is a highly luxurious, durable and sustainable textile. The fabric is made from the fibers within the stalks of the plant, not the silky barbs on the outer surface. (Learn more about this sustainable and stylish textile here…)

I knew this was the unique piece I was looking for that my clients would adore and represented that effortless chic, Luxe Provence lifestyle. Learn more about the first featured Artisan profiled this season behind our V8 Midsummer Dream curation (in French and English):

En: When did you first start to practice as both an artisan and architect?

I graduated from the Marseille School of Architecture in 1999 after spending one year at Laval University in Quebec City, Canada. My husband Sébastien and I,  opened our architecture firm in Aix en Provence in 2005. We work a lot with individuals and often with the brand Eric Bompard cashmere for whom we have designed several boutiques throughout the years.

I discovered weaving about two years ago through the work of artists like Sheila Hicks, Kei Sekimachi, Anni Albers and many others.

I am self-taught and work today on a small loom and only with natural materials.

En: What was your inspiration behind this line of sacs and your boutique?

My inspiration for my work is often Japan, a country that I especially adore. My boutique (Ouvrage) is designed to highlight each individual object and creator.

In the creation of my textile pieces, I enjoy to reinterpret the Japanese technique “Wabi Sabi” and handcrafted artisanal pieces where natural materials are represented.

The inspiration for my nettle cabas (featured in our current V8 curation in their store now) were inspired by the traditional Provence shopping baskets.

For the handle, I was inspired by the traditional Provence baskets with a wicker handle that can be worn by hand or in the hollow of the elbow. Mine is wooden and asymmetrical, it plays with balance and gives a certain dynamic to the bag.

The weaving work uses natural materials soft linen and surprisingly hardy nettle, which is a sustainable material.

En: What is your favorite aspect of your work?

The preferred aspect of my work as a craftsman is the creation, choice of materials, colors, and weaving activity. I always enjoy the creation aspect of any kind of object. One of the moments that I appreciate most happens during the weaving process at the moment I finally see it as a whole piece.

En: What is your favorite part of your day?

The morning when I arrive at the workshop is my favorite moment of the day. It is well before the opening of the boutique and the city begins to come alive. I have a coffee with Sébastien and we list out what we have to do that day. Each new day delivers us these simple joys of meeting new people and beginning new projects.

En: What is your favorite part of living in Provence?

I was born in Provence, I left for a part of my studies, and what I prefer most is its light (the same one that fascinates painters over generations), the art of living, the markets where one finds fresh vegetables each day. But what I like above all is to leave with Sébastien on our scooter and within 10 minutes to be in the massif of the Sainte Victoire to walk, to breathe in nature and sometimes even to take our lunch break. The true Provencal luxury!


Fr: Quand commencez-vous à pratiquer en tant qu’artisan et architecte ?

J’ai été diplômée de l’école d’architecture de Marseille en 1999 après avoir passé 1 an à l’université Laval de Québec au Canada.

Avec mon mari Sébastien nous avons ouvert notre atelier d’architecture à Aix en Provence en 2005. Nous travaillons beaucoup avec les particuliers et aussi avec la marque Eric Bompard cachemire pour qui nous avons réalisé de nombreuses de boutiques.

J’ai découvert le tissage il y a environ 2 ans avec le travail d’ artistes comme Sheila Hicks, Kei Sekimachi, Anni Albers et bien d’autre.

Je suis autodidacte et travaille aujourd’hui sur un petit métier à tisser et uniquement avec des matières naturelles.

Fr: Quelle est votre inspiration pour le lien de sac et aussi le boutique ? 

Mon inspiration dans mon travail est souvent le japon qui est un pays que nous aimons particulièrement.

La boutique est épurée pour mettre en valeur chaque objet et créateur.

Dans la création textile j’aime retrouver le concept japonais “wabi sabi” où la main de l’artisan et la matière sont représentées.

Pour la anse de mes cabas en ortie je me suis inspiré des paniers traditionnels avec une anse en osier qui peut se porter à la main ou dans le creux du coude. La mienne est en bois et dissymétrique, elle joue de l’équilibre et donne une certaine dynamique au cabas.

Le travail du tissage utilise des matières naturelles le lin doux et l’ortie plus rustique.

Fr: Quel est votre aspect préféré de votre travail ?

L’aspect préféré de mon travail d’artisan est la création, le choix des matières, des couleurs, le point de tissage.

J’ai toujours aimé créer toute sorte d’objet.

Un des moments que j’apprécie dans le tissage c’est quand je défait le tissage du métier et que je le vois enfin dans son ensemble.

Fr: Quelle est votre partie préférée de votre journée ?

Le matin quand j’arrive à l’atelier est mon moment préféré de la journée. C’est bien avant l’ouverture de la boutique et la ville commence à s’activer.

Je prends un café avec Sébastien et on liste ce que nous avons à faire dans la journée.

Une nouvelle journée commence avec tout ce qu’elle nous apporte de rencontres, projets et petits bonheurs…

Fr: Quelle est votre part préférée de vivre en Provence ?

Je suis née en Provence, je ne suis partie que pour faire une partie de mes études, et ce que je préfère c’est la lumière (celle qui fascine les peintres ), l’art de vivre, les marchés où l’on trouve des légumes frais tous les jours.

Mais ce que j’aime par dessus tout c’est  partir avec Sébastien an scooter et être en 10 minutes dans le massif de la Sainte Victoire pour marcher, respirer la nature et parfois même faire notre pause déjeuner. Le vrai luxe provençal!


We are very pleased that Agnes is creating a special “sur mesure” line exclusively designed for our Luxe Provence Box clients, as well as, a limited series coming to the boutique this July! For those in and around Aix, be sure to pop into their boutique store and discover for yourself. And please let Agnes and Sebastien know we sent you.

46, rue du Puits Neuf
Aix-en-Provence, France 13100


By Tarik Koivisto, Author, Designer/Curator and Photographer

French Beauty & Fragrance, Scents of Provence

Luxe Iris Perfume Growers of Provence in Trets

April 20, 2017

This post was written by Rebecca Amer, a fabulous Perfume Consultant from Irridessence. Learn about her behind-the-scenes visit to Trets on the luxe Iris perfume production and harvest happening now in Provence. Rebecca also shares her favorite all-time Iris’ perfumes, which by the way could make a perfect Fête des Mères gift. Take it Rebecca!

Iris is of prime importance in perfumery. Some describe the iris note as “the smell of cash” as it is expensive to produce. Or perhaps that’s said because the iris note has a papery facet? In either case it is found in many many perfumes and Chanel particularly are known for their use of this high quality ingredient. It lends a velvety texture to a composition, for example in Chanel no 5.

In Trets there is a producer called COPAMIVAR, they are one of the biggest iris growers in the world. They kindly allowed me to take photos and gave me a private tour of their factory (which smelled sublime I might add).


These beautiful purple flowers bloom for two to three weeks or so depending on the weather. It is not the blooms that are used in perfume however, it is the rhizomes. They must be grown for at least three years before harvesting. Once gathered the rhizomes are carefully washed and then spread out to dry for several days after which, further drying takes place for several years, so that the inimitable iris smell develops. When the rhizome is mature it’s ground to a fine powder then processed in a special steam distillery. The next stage is a product known as iris butter or orris butter. The iris butter is gently heated to liquefy it and then it’s separated out into various fractions. Experts re-assemble the fractions to make a high quality iris absolute. It takes 40,000 tons of rhizomes to make 1 kg of iris absolute.

In terms of smell, I would describe iris as cool, elegant, earthy, rooty, powdery, papery… depending what is paired with it the effect will be different. Here is a little round up of what is one of my most very favourite notes in perfume. I am an unashamed iris worshipper.


  • Vampy iris – Tom Ford’s Violet Blonde, a really fun and lively violet iris. It always perks me up.
  • Glamourous iris – Frederic Malle’s Iris Poudre * this one is at the very top of my personal “to buy” list.
  • Cool headed iris – Prada’s Infusion d’Iris, please wear this for magical powers of concentration and cool calm collectedness.
  • Sexy man’s iris – Dior’s l’Homme it can also definitely be worn by a woman, one of the best masculines of all time in my opinion.
  • Romantic iris – Au Pays de la Fleur d’Oranger’s Rose Irisee, completely enchanting, it takes you on a gentle journey from iris to rose.
  • Dark and dangerous iris – Serge Lutens’ Iris Silver Mist – a complete iris overdose. Not easy to wear and has that carrot vibe going on.
  • Leathery light iris – Anne Gerard’s Cuir de Nacre, I could drown myself in this one.
  • Power iris – Hermes’ Hiris. Great quality and wearability. Not too powdery nor too rooty. Just right.
  • Bargain iris – Yardley’s Iris, which you can buy online easily; it’s great for hot days and for layering with other perfumes.
  • Luxurious and easy to wear iris – Aqua di Parma Iris Nobile, it has a gentle creamy quality to it. Totally Luxe.

My iris list goes on and on but there I will stop for today. Enjoy those pretty blooms and now you know: it’s the rhizomes that are precious.

– Rebecca

Guest blog post and photographs courtesy of Rebecca Amer of Irridessence.