Monday, August 26, 2013

Provence: Hidden Away at La Bastide de Moustiers

We wanted to disappear for a few days, hidden somewhere behind old stone walls and olive trees...


With the first glass of rosé in the garden of Alain Ducasse's La Bastide de Moustiers, we knew we had chosen the perfect hideaway. Charming, peaceful, warm and welcoming. A place to take a deep breath and get into the slower rhythms of life in Provence. Lush gardens. A view of the striking limestone cliffs. Old plane trees to shield us from the afternoon sun. We easily lost an hour or two to the luxury of doing absolutely nothing.

In our own little cottage filled with antiques, we slept off the last cobwebs of jetlag, the shutters open to welcome the morning sun.

And did I mention the food? A new menu each day, serving up delights plucked from the gardens just beyond our doors. Edible flowers, fruits and vegetables (40 varieties of tomatoes!) on a terrace with a stunning view of the surrounding hills. Michelin-starred dining may be a serious matter, but here relaxed elegance is on order. Nothing fussy or overdone, just beautiful Proveçal food glorifying the seasons and the local produce.  

And I can't imagine a better way to start the day than a leisurely breakfast under the plane trees, sipping a big bowl of café au lait and watching the shadows dance across the courtyard.

After just a few days and nights of listening to the cigales sing, we were fully under the spell of Provence, breathing a bit deeper, our pace slowing to a stroll, all of our senses heightened, taking joy in each sun-soaked moment, and ready for more...

And even though today is a gray Seattle Monday morning and I'm drinking espresso at my own breakfast nook table instead of café au lait under those plane trees, I can still hear the cigales. There will be bit of Provence in my step as I take on the day.

Happy Monday to you, hope it's a lovely week! XO


  1. Your timing was so perfect, Jeanne as the cigales are starting to pipe down now...I am so delighted to know that they are singing in your heart. Oh my, I do think that you have caught The Provence Bug!

    And thank you for taking us with you to La Bastide as not all of us will make it there and it looks as fantastic as its repuation. My favorite detail? The bottle of Moet on ice, already open, in case someone is in need of a coupe.

    1. Heather, that big bucket of champagne basically sums it all up - the silver against the backdrop of the old rough stone wall. Elegance meets rustic. Relaxed meets effervescent.

      I do have the Provence bug, big time. It took me a couple days to loose that foot tapping impatience that seems to be chronic with me. Now that we're back, I'm trying to make sure it's balanced with a bit of Provençal ease. No need to be in that much of a hurry, really. Things have their way of working out.

      Wish we could sit and enjoy a coupe in the afternoon sun and listen to the fading song of the cigales. XO

  2. Hello Jeanne

    La Bastide looks very, very inviting. Your description is powerful. Some places seep into our soul and colour us forever. Did you manage to paint whilst there?

    Helen xx

    1. You know, Helen, I went back and forth on whether to bring my paints or not. In the end I decided not... Sometimes I regretted it, but in away it helped me to just do nothing but notice things. And I think I've carried a bit of what I observed back with me and it's influenced my work. I would love to go back on a painting trip, though, and spend a week or so just focusing on capturing the light and beauty. XO

  3. Love the highlights..I can almost taste the rose and smell that basil!

  4. paradise. you have captured the mood so beautifully with images and words, jeanne! thank you for this lift on this monday morning.



  5. Jeanne, what a delightful departure, thank you for taking us along, La Bastide looks just wonderful. I can almost smell it from your description. And the song of the the cigales is one of my favorite, I can almost hear that as well. Welcome home my dear, do keep those memories alive. xox

  6. Jeanne-
    Thank you for sharing your trip. I feel like I am there. The food must be perfect from the look of the gardens.

  7. Looks wonderful...thanks for sharing!

  8. On my bucket list for next visit to this part of Provence. We almost went last time and you're certainly making me regret our decision - rustic elegance is right up my alley - beautiful!



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