meta name="p:domain_verify" content="8b08da541f8a920e6 Marie Z Johnston: June in Paris

Saturday, June 23, 2012

June in Paris

Fountain of the Palais Royale
There are few places on earth as lovely as Paris in June.  Paris is stunning, even in the rain.  And we've had lots of it - 48 days of rain in a row to be precise.  But that doesn't dampen Parisian spirits in the least.  Everyone has an umbrella and if they don't, well a short wait in a cafe or under a building overhang is just another welcome part of the day.

Taken on my bus ride home, having narrowly escaped the downpour
Gardens and flower boxes are in bloom throughout the city Plants are stocked in abundance at shops and marchés, my favorite fruits and vegetables are pretty much everywhere. It's all so tempting... and it kicks my desire for a garden into overdrive.

Left bank flower shop in bloom

When we moved to Paris three years ago (so my daughter could attend high school, learn French and connect with her French heritage) I didn't imagine the alure of France would become so strong that I would want to remain when she went off to college.  But, here we are, at that crossroad. Davis leaves for Boston and I return to Carmel in the Fall - to sell the family home and ship most of what I own back to France. 

Living room of 'Los Abuelos' in Carmel
Which is actually ironic because my mother was a French war bride and now, some  60 years later, I want nothing more than to live full time in the country she skedaddled from.

Carmel Beach
I am thinking South - of Paris - no more than 3 hours by TGV.  In a yet to be found town with a deep, interesting history so there are plenty of things to see and do.  Perhaps toward the ocean (for the fish and oysters).

This is where you come in.... I would love to hear about places in France you have visited and loved, or read about and dreamed of visiting.  Places within 3 hours in a southerly direction from Paris.  A region, a village, a bustling community of food love... 

Why, oh WHY, leave Paris?  Well, it's like this: I have a re-occurring vision of a dozen kindred spirits gathered together at one, long, antique linen covered, candle lit table sharing the meal they made together from ingredients gathered just that morning. A percolating plan that involves marchés, vineyards, farmers, bee-hive lovers and cheese makers.  An idea rich in seasonal fruit freshly plucked off the trees and turned into jams and tarts, or just devoured right there on the spot. Because I have a hunch that there is a deep desire (beyond mine) to reconnect with the rhythm of the seasons and the source of all things yummy - an experience shared with those of like mind in the land of 590 cheeses.
Persimmons,  eaten within hours of picking (in salad)
This house I am seeking will be a gathering place for just that sort of living culinary experience.  Someplace old with an immense kitchen. A home, built of stone, with evidence of those who came before.  A house with a garden and fruit trees and a potager where we would gather the herbs and salad greens for our meals.
Peas and their pods
I hope you will join me on this journey of exploration and discovery. First by sharing places you have stumbled upon and loved in France, and then, by joining me in this special spot; Cooking meals, drinking wine and laughing.

Dreamy old tile floor
Dites-moi tout!  (Tell me everything)

A bientot,


alan Ireland said...

I'm sooo jealous, due to go back, just not soon enough!

dawne said...

Ah. Marie, this is a wonderful join you on your quest for your big old stone house!! And then I am going to join you at that long candle lit table!!! We, too, are on a quest for just such a place, but more to the southwest of Paris. We are staying in the Perche for a week in July. Do you know it? It sounds like our own upstate New York, with green rolling hills, farms and woods. But perhaps you have chosen to go South because of the weather? I know the prices are way up there in Normandy, and it may be too "chi-chi", or touristy. I really hope we can get together while we're in Paris and have a good chat! And your house in Carmel is gorgeous!! I'm sure you will have no trouble selling it!!
Happy June [ So right, it's so beautiful!]

Marcia said...

Marie: Your dream sounds amazing and so appealing to us. My husband and I have been fortunate enough to travel to southern France a few times. Each time we have travelled by TGV as far as Avignon, then rented a car and were off. For us, the perfect spot has been staying in a country home just outside of Isle sur la Sorgue. We love this town, the "Venice" of southern France, and an antiquer's paradise. The market is lovely, too. You would be a short drive from Marseilles or Casis ( seafood), close to Cavaillon for the melons, not too far from Nyons for their wonderful olives, and close to many other wonderful markets. My husband and I have frequently commented that, if not for our children and grandchildren, we could easily retire in this special place. Also only a short drive to Carpentra (truffle market). I could go on and on ------

Eva said...

Hi Marie-

Have no idea if there is TGV service - or how long it takes- but I love the Bayonne, Biarritz, Anglet or St Jean de Luz. It was 7 hours when I took the slow train in 1975.... Bonne chance! Eva

tinkerbug said...

Hi Marie. Nancy and I love Uzes and have stayed there several times. it's about 25 km Northeast of Nimes which has TGV service to Paris in just under 3 hours. Uzes has a great Saturday market and a Wednesday one as well.
Take a look at the area near Vieux Boucau as well, It is more tourist oriented than Uzes but a lovely area. Trains would be from Dax or Biarritz and might take longer to get to Paris.
Have you read either of Michael Sanders' books, FROM HERE YOU CAN'T SEE PARIS or FAMILIES OF THE VINE? You might like to explore both areas he writes about.
Hope to meet you in August.
Elliot Ashley

Marie Z Johnston said...

Hello Elliot,
Thanks for your suggestion... I haven't read those books, but will go hunt them down.

Bonjour Eva,
I love Biaritz and that whole Basque area of France... Just wish it wasn't so far from Paris :(

Hi Marcia,
I've never been to those towns in the south.. sounds like it's time for an adventure!

Thanks Marcia - That is a favorite part of France for my family. I'm actually looking seriously in the area just east of La Rochelle. It's the draw of the Atlantic and all those oysters!

Alan... I can relate! That's the beauty and the curse of the internet! :)

Thank you for your comments! Mz

Virginia said...

And this my dear, is my favorite spot in Paris. Thank you for taking me there today.