Artisans of Provence

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.

annelaure-humblot-gasoline-creations-ceramics-salernes

Today, 15 ceramists and 4 potters continue with the tradition in Salernes, including the notable family business of Alain Vagh, a colorful artist and well-reputable 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 also 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!

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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, Fashion & 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 conceptprovence.com.

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, Fashion & Accessories

Poetry of Jacquemus: The Santons of Provence

May 15, 2017
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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.

jacquemus-santons-de-provence

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.

jacquemus-simon-porte

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

jacquemus-fashion-design

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 samuell.fr

Jacquemus image courtesy of samuell studio samuell.fr

 

Event Photography by Tarik Koivisto, Creative Director, Luxe Provence

Artisans of Provence, Designed In Provence, Fashion & Accessories

V8: The Artisans of Provence – Ouvrage

April 20, 2017
ouvrage

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.

agnes-krier-ouvrage

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!

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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!

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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.

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

 

By Tarik Koivisto, Author, Designer/Curator and Photographer

Artisans of Provence, Scents of Provence

Luxe Iris Perfume Growers of Provence in Trets

April 20, 2017
trets-iris-production-provence

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).

iris-blooms2

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.

iris-perfumes

  • 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.

Gastronomy & Wine, Provence Travel

Luxe Provence Wine Tasting Guide to Cassis

April 5, 2017
cassis-wine-tasting

Cassis is a slice of seaside dreams, a true Provence treasure. Situated along the Mediterranean Sea, Cassis is home to the characteristic Massif de Calanques, the highest cliffs in France, stunningly dressed in white limestone. These deep inlets shelter the terraced vineyards of Cassis, which are truly distinct from their Provençal neighbors.

cassis wine tasting and travel guide

Established as an Appellation d’Origine Protégée (AOP) in 1936, Cassis was one of the first in the region. The village of Cassis is located 12 miles east of the port city of Marseille and is one of the few local appellations comprised of a single, tiny commune. While most nearby appellations were originally cultivated by Greek outposts, Cassis is based in Ligurian origins. Blessed by 3,000 hours of annual sunshine, cool maritime winds and the freshening effects of the Mistral, Cassis is truly a spot set aside for gorgeous wines and also a Luxe Provence favorite haven for seaside lunches, market shopping and swimming.

cassis-dream-travel-guide

Cassis is the only region in Provence to produce a majority of white wine, regulated to contain at least 80% Marsanne. This varietal adds beautiful aromatics and finesse, an elegant profile for the refreshing, high-quality white wines of Cassis. Clairette is also a common component, adding fresh acidity to balance the body of Marsanne. A touch of red wines and a strong showing of rosé wines are also cultivated in Cassis – blends of Cinsault, Grenache and Mourvèdre.

cassis-southof-france-travel-guide

Cassis white wines offer complex citrus and fruit aromas. Touches of lime blossom, honey and wild herbs balance a slightly salty trace, which is said to be a kiss of sea on the vineyards. Traditional Provençal foods such as bouillabaisse and grilled seafood are natural pairing partners.

Here is our Luxe Provence Cassis Wine Tasting Guide, with wine recommendations and pairing suggestions:

clossainte-magdeleine

Up first is, Clos Sainte Magdeleine, situated in the Calanques National Park, surrounded by the captivating cliffs in a protected area. Four generations of the Zafiropulo family have been proprietors at Clos Sainte Magdeleine and are motivated to preserve the area from urban cultivation and soil degradation through their practice of certified Organic and Sustainable Agriculture. Vines range from 15 to 40 years old and are terraced along the slopes of Cap Canaille and have the finest sea views of the area. Though the estate just turned 80 years old, the modern underground cellar is optimized to maintain conditions year round, and features stainless steel, concrete tanks and amphorae. Try the certified organic AOC Cassis White, a complex balance of salty minerality and honeyed peach. Pair with herbed goat cheese or grilled octopus salad. The tasting room offers 45-minute tours twice daily of the vineyards and cave during the busy summer season but be sure to book ahead.

cassis-domaine-du-bagnol

Domaine du Bagnol was purchased by Jean-Louis Genovesi in 1997, but evidence of vineyards in the Bagnol space date back to 1430. Genovesi’s son Sebastien took over the domaine after completing his training in 2003, continuing the reputation for high-quality wines with a sincere Cassis profile. The domaine functions as naturally as possible; their initial certified organic release was 2014.

Domaine du Bagnol offers a lovely family-run tasting room on their property which has been recently renovated to receive guests and small groups. We have experienced both a great, informative group tour and tastings on several occasions both by Sebastien and his lovely wife. We advise to call ahead to be sure the tasting room is open.cassis domain du bagnol wines vineyards travel guide

Cuvée Marquis des Fesques is a wine of exception, a blend of Clairette and Marsanne made from two parcels at the foot of Cap Canaille, including some 40-year-old vines. Prepare a dish of tapenade or a gorgeous crespeou (layered omelet) to pair with Cuvée Marquis des Fesques. domainedupaternel

Domaine du Paternel was created in Cassis in 1951 by Pierre Cathinaud. Since 2009, Pierre’s nephew Jean-Pierre and the Santini family have managed the vineyards working with Bernard and Monique Piché for the production and marketing of the Domaine Couronne de Charlemagne wines. Today both the Domaine du Paternel and Domaine Couronne de Charlemagne wines are certified organic. The family members work alongside a team of motivated and skilled employees, and together they apply themselves to continuing the work that was begun over sixty years ago and produce a lovely minerally, Blanc de Blanc made up of 30% each of Ugni Blanc, Clairette, Marsanne, and 10% Doucillon pairing beautifully with fresh fish.

The Domaine du Paternel tasting room is open daily, but it’s always good to verify hours by calling ahead. Our last few visits were very pleasant.

winesofcassis

Domaine de la Ferme Blanche comprises 30 hectares of vines, under the care of François Paret, nephew of Pierre Imbert, one of the anchors in establishment of the Cassis AOP. Domaine de la Ferme Blanche is one of the oldest domaines in the area, with a history dating back to 1714. Paret works with his daughter Jérômine and Philippe Garnier, oenologist. Together the team aims for small, high-quality yields and treats the vineyards naturally, without the use of chemicals. Try the Cuvée Excellence, a blend of Marsanne and Clairette or for something unique, the 100% Mourvèdre, a red of wine of distinct freshness. Pair Excellence with artichokes barigoule, a rich classic dish of artichokes and Provençal mushrooms. The Mourvèdre would be magic with a rack of lamb dressed with aromatic herbs.

However, the Domaine de la Ferme Blanche tasting room is not exactly a welcoming stop in Cassis. A bit of a shame, however, their recent white releases, including the 2015 Cuvée offers a lovely mix of Marsanne, Clairette, Ugni Blanc and Sauvignon. For a more tourist-friendly visit, try Chateau de Fontcreuse and sample their 2015 Cuvée blanc.cassis-travel

Cassis is a spectacular spot. Cassis wines are world-famous for being unique and appealing. Once you’ve finished visiting the winemakers and their terraced domaines, visit the village to ramble streets filled with welcoming cafés and their abundant street-side tables. The markets are held in the mornings in the village on Wednesday and Fridays until 1pm and is one of our favorite sources for weekly produce and discovering lovely artisanal products.cassismarkets

Enjoy shopping from vendors with colorful and scented products decorating their storefronts. Absorb a view of boats bobbing on the harbor, colorful buildings reflected in the sparkling sea. Establish a blanketed, umbrella-shaded spot on the beach where gem-blue waters and white cliff shadows are mystifying and handsome.cassis travel guide

Even compared to other wines in Provence, the wines here are particularly special. Enjoy the beauty and luxury of wine tasting in Cassis.

cassis-port-miou

More information and travel notes:

Clos Saint Magdeleine 

Offers 45-minute tours for a small fee with tastings to follow two times per day during the summer season. Be sure to book/call ahead.
Avenue du Revestel, 13260 Cassis

Domaine du Bagnol
12, avenue de Provence – 13260 Cassis

Great family-run tasting room. Call ahead to ensure availability.

Domaine de la Ferme Blanche
D559, 13260 Cassis

Phone: 04 42 01 00 74

Guest blog post written by: Jill Barth author of the l’Occasion – A Reason for Wine. Wine Blogger & Provence Wine Master Candidate with travel notes by Founder, Tarik Koivisto.

Photography Credits: Clos Sainte Magdeleine and Domaine de la Ferme Blanche landscape shots courtesy of vineyards. All other images by Tarik Koivisto unless otherwise noted. 

#wineguide #travelguide #cassis #provence

Provence Travel

Charming Beauty of Vallons des Auffes

March 9, 2017
plouf

When I started this blog over a year and a half ago, one of my goals was to share a creative visual  journal featuring my favorite places with a fresh perspective of what makes Provence such a charming, luxurious place to live. Beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder.

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While I haven’t had as much time as I would like to bring daily features, I am working on posting more visual explorations and photography features, a true passion of mine. So I hope you enjoy my visual journey into Marseille’s charming Vallons des Auffes, it’s a bit like a special portside village in the middle of the city.

luxe-provence-marseilleInspired by its natural beauty, authentic charm and Mediterranean colors, the Vallon des Auffes is a little traditional fishing port in Marseille’s 7th arrondissement, just over 2 kilometers from the much larger, Vieux-Port, and just over from the corniche between the Catalan beach and Malmousque bay. It’s name was derived from the French word  ‘auffe‘ or alfa, the sort of grass used to make ropes, braids and fishing nets. It’s definitely one of the must-see authentic neighbors of Marseille.

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It’s busy port restaurants draw crowds, it’s far from being a secret, but the neighborhood still maintains a sense of discovery upon arrival down its narrow streets. The must-dine local institutions include the newly remodeled Pizzeria Chez Jeannot and popular Chez Fonfon.

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This little port haven is home to over 50 fisher cabins and traditional fishing boats, as well as, some lovely views, charming residences and a hidden natural swimming pool for the neighborhood to enjoy. The natural colors and beauty are so inspirational. Hope you find your inspiration today, too.

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I adore the low-profile natural neighborhood pool with stunning views of the Mediterranean. Have a great weekend in the sun… who’s starting to feel ready for a little plouf?

Photography by: Tarik Koivisto

Provence Travel, Scents of Provence

Provence Almond Blossoms

March 6, 2017
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The Provence almond blossoms are popping up, depending on your micro-climate that is, and it’s simply gorgeous to experience first-hand. For those locals who didn’t realize, lavender isn’t the only beautiful iconic flower of Provence you’ll find growing up on the famed, Plateau of Valensole, 700 meters above sea level. Within the next few weeks, Haute Provence’s famous “high plateau” will be raining beautiful white and blush petals. Another breathtaking seasonal Provence moment to behold.

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Brothers, Jean-Pierre and André Jaubert, have one of the largest almond tree crops in Provence. The duo decided to replant almond trees that had been displaced, since the popularity of lavender planting took over the plateau in the 1950s. The brothers, who grew up picking almond trees as teenagers, wanted to bring back the trees and their family tradition to the region and set out to plant 50 hectares in 2002. Today, around 10,000 almond trees have taken root on their family farm, which so happens to be cultivated and used in several of the l’Occitane products.

Just might be time for another inspirational roadtrip, to one of my favorite Provence regions. In the meantime, try one of our favorite almond fragrance beauty products, this gorgeous Dry Oil by Source de Provence is just divine to prepare skin for spring…

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Source de Provence, Huile Seche Amande (Almond Dry Oil) 100 ml / 3.38 fl.oz, $29 – Shop it in our boutique 

 

Photo Credit: Almond Trees in bloom on the Plateau de Valensole courtesy of Unique Provence, luxury tour and travel agency located in Forcalquier, Provence.

Designed In Provence, Scents of Provence

Final Camargue Collection Brand… Bastide

March 3, 2017
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This French beauté brand, formerly known as Côté Bastide, was created in our own Aix-en-Provence over 25 years ago and is well-known for their elegant fragrances and luxurious body care line. The husband and wife duo of Frédéric Fekkai, famed NYC hairdresser and hair care guru, along with his wife, Shirin von Wulffen, have just re-launched the brand simply as, Bastide.

The couple’s goal is to share their love and passion for Provence’s natural lifestyle with a fresh, clean revamp of their favorite beauty products that are safe for the whole family to enjoy. We’ve selected one of their newly released products for our V7: The Camargue Collection that is designed to inject an olfactive pop and the Camargue’s natural elements into our sold-out spring Luxe Provence Box.

This curation will be shipping by DHL International Priority beginning March 15th, 2017. More details of this much-anticipated season’s box will be revealed upon delivery.

Artisans of Provence, Designed In Provence, Fashion & Accessories

Behind the Weave: Brun de Vian Tiran

March 2, 2017
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I had the pleasure of going behind-the-scenes of the meticulously-crafted textiles of Brun de Vian Tiran, a prestige, family-run Provence manufacturer since 1806. My fabulous and educational tour was led by Pierre Darlay at their manufacturing facilities. Since its inception, this father and son, family-run business has been located right in the center ville of Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, which has a long history of working with silk and wool.
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Isle-sur-la-Sorgue wisely made use of its many natural resources, its abundant water derived from the Sorgue River, local wool, teasels, dyer’s madder, olive oil and more. The city’s inhabitants cleverly developed industrial machinery driven by water wheels – there used to be up to 66! – fueling mills, spinning machines, and later mechanical looms. Today, you can still see the water wheels throughout the town adding a certain authenticity to this beautiful, antique-lovers city.

rainingwool brun de vian tiran quality provence manufacturer

In 1808, a father, Charles Tiran, and son-in-law, Laurent Vian, partnership took advantage of this ideal environment favorable to the textile industry and set up a mill on the banks of the Sorgue River to create woolen cloth and blankets. In 1886, the marriage of a Vian’s grand-daughter to Emile Brun, completed the name and lineage the factory proudly bears today, Brun de Vian-Tiran. In 1900, Isle-sur-la-Sorgue, boasted five complete factories and many smaller, more specialized workshops dedicated to producing wool blankets, carpets, garment cloth and specialized fabrics for the paper industry.

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MERINO WOOL OF PROVENCE

Mohair, Cashmere, Cashgora, Alpaca, Camel, Llama, Yak, Yangir…Brun De Vian-Tiran has made exotic fibers from distant lands its own. But one day, Brun de Vian-Tiran dreamed of traveling in time, back to earlier days and local traditions. After 7 years of research and analyses, and with the help of his wool merchant friend Claude Gutapfel, Pierre Brun identified the first local Provence sheep breeder who had kept the rare merino breed genes intact.

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Today, fifteen sheep breeders manage flocks whose wool is certified with the appellation “Mérinos d’Arles Antique®”, a fleece which is not just the finest – with a diameter of less than 20 microns – but the softest in Europe. Their 100% Mérinos d’Arles Antique® collection, called “Camargue”, has given its true place to this noble wool, part of France’s cultural and historical inheritance and is featured in this curation. Its outstanding fineness is equal to that of Iranian Cashmere.

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Over one hundred years later, only Brun de Vian-Tiran is continuing its activity, perpetuating a unique and continuous manufacturing tradition which 8 generations have nurtured and perfected. I personally set-out to honor and put forward the quality brands that continue to develop their craft here in Provence each season. I am proud to include a very special ethically-made item made from their Antique Mérino Wool of Arles in this season’s SOLD-OUT V7: The Camargue Collection Luxe Provence Box.

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Brun de Vian-Tiran

2 Cours Victor Hugo
84800 L’Isle-sur-la-Sorgue

 

Photography by: Tarik Koivisto, on-location in Isle-sur-la-Sorgue and the Camargue.