Monday, September 30, 2013

Provence: Uncovering the layers in Arles

Months and months ago when we started thinking about a Provence adventure, I told Mr. H. that a must for the trip was meeting up with Heather from Lost in Arles.

Sometimes I think that blogging today is not unlike what having "pen pals" used to be-- like Julia Child and Avis Devoto! All those virtual conversations, traded posts and comments can add up to meaningful connections. Heather and I started our blogs about the same time and "met" almost two years ago. When we figured out that we both had befriended the same elephant in Botswana, I knew were kindred spirits. Her thoughtful emails were a huge encouragement while I struggled to help my parents last winter. And she, of course, was a vocal cheerleader of our idea travel to Provence to join our friends over the summer.

In person Heather is as lovely as the city she writes about and photographs so distinctively.

And generous, too. Did I mention that in Provence, I traveled in a pack? -- Mr. H., my friends Heidi and Angel, and their daughters Penelope (11) and Paloma (3). Not only did Heather agree to take time out for lunch with me, she took on my merry band, too.

Lucky us, we didn't have to wander aimlessly around Arles, noses stuck in a guide book wondering where we should go and what we should eat. Starting with a delicious tartine lunch at Cuisine de Comptoir (duck and cantal cheese on pain Poilâne!), Heather showed us the Arles she knows and loves.  

First colonised by Greeks by way of Marseille in 6 BC, Arles has a rich history. A roman capital, a religious center in the Middle Ages, inspiring Mistral, Daudet and Bizet, and most famously immortalized by van Gogh, there are many layers to the city - it would have been difficult to uncover them without Heather leading the way.

If you read Lost in Arles, you know that Heather has a very distinct point of view that is rooted in light and shadow, in patina, in the textures and details that give soul to a place.

And that's just what she showed us - a glimpse of the soul of Arles - definitely not something we could read about in a guide book or find on a map.


  1. Good Morning Jeanne. The opening image of you two beautiful women finally meeting in person simply warmed my heart. What a joy for both I am sure. Seeing Arles, through Heather's eyes and experiences must have been a wish come true. I love her blog and all she stands for.
    Thanks for sharing and have a glorious week

    Helen xx

  2. Thats so neat that you two got to meet and in such a magical place! Isn't that finally get to meet someone you feel you already know.
    Fun post....loved the pictures!

  3. The sights, the food, the COMPANY! Major envy here. Thanks for sharing your time with Heather with us as well.

  4. Jeanne,
    What an amazing connection you've made! I agree that blogging is much like having pen pals, which of course I loved when I was in elementary school! What an amazing trip and friendship.

    Enjoy your day!
    xoxo Elizabeth

  5. Yes, I am a tad bit jealous.........did you meet BEN and KIPLING too?

  6. Hey! That's my friend Heather! How fantastic that you got to explore Arles with its best tour guide :)

  7. Oh charming! Adore Miss Heather - look forward to reading more of your blog. Cheers!

  8. Heehee. So sweet to see all of these comments. You know how much I loved spending time with you, Jeanne (and yes, for those wondering she really is exactly as lovely as you think she is)--come back sooooon! :)

  9. how fabulous! i want to reach through the screen and touch those textures and peely layers. and that poilane 'sandwich' or whatev looks too good to be true. lordy. loved this tour!


  10. What a great story..I love the image of the paint chipping off the wall...beautiful color!



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