Noël en Provence, deuxième partie

The last part of our December trip to France. I’m probably reiterating, but having spend Christmas in France was so special to me, even more so since it was in Aix-en-Provence. It was my first Christmas back home since my engagement (Noël 1994!!!!)
True to our wish to tour the surroundings, we visited Marseilles, the oldest city of France, founded in 600BC by Greeks. It is famous for it’s “vieux port” (old port), still France’s largest commercial port. The entrance of the port is flanked by 2 forts, Saint-Nicholas on the south side, and Fort Saint-Jean on the north. Further in the bay is the Frioul archilpelao, comprises of 4 islands, including “If”, the location of the Chateau d’If (where the iron mask spend his life, in the Dumas novel The Count of Monte Cristo). Unfortunately, the weather didn’t allow the taxi boats to take us to the archipel. Instead we opted for an open bus tour of the city, with enough time to appreciate the Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde.

le vieux port de Marseilles,

Basilique Notre Dame de la Garde,

Little boats and planes are dangling from the high ceilings. The paintings are breathtaking.

A panoramic view of the port and little islands, with If (pronounced “eef”).

The Basilica is on top of a little mount, dominating the city,

The sunsets in Marseilles are magnificent,

Towards the end of our trip, we took everyone to a favorite place of mine, a classic tourist spot of Provence, the Sénanque Abbey. It was founded in 1148 by Cisterien monks, and is still operated by a small community of monks. They grow lavender (huge gorgeous fields of perfect rows of lavender), and tend honey bees for their livelihood. I’ll have to go back this coming summer, to show you a picture with the lavender is at its full bloom.

Once the guided tour over, we headed to Gordes, a beautiful and typical historic village up on a cliff. I think this landscape, of uneven grounds, with hill sides exploited with terraces, old villages, stone houses, clay roofs, luxurious vegetation makes the charm of Provence. Doesn’t it want to make you go there?

On the side of the roads, occasionally you’ll see these uncommon structures called bories. They are dry-stone huts. The stones, without the use of mortar, have been skillfully stacked into huts with corbelled vault ceilings. Right out of Gordes, is a whole village of these bories. The dating of the bories is unclear, however their origin goes as far back as the Bronze Age. Life in some ways must have been so much simpler back then, no worries of catching up with your emails, facebook friends, texting, twitter, but then probably the fear of cold winters, your man making it back alive from hunting dinner…

It was very cold that day, and getting late. Everyone was ready to leave, and I still wanted “one more picture”!


  1. by Jessie Thompson on April 14, 2010  6:34 pm Reply

    WONDERFUL! These look like posters or cards or something! You should get into stock photography too. And travel photography. I just think that you can do everything so well!:) Beautifully done...

  2. by Patricia on April 15, 2010  5:20 pm Reply

    These photos are absolutely exquisite. You show remarkable versatility. The photographers with whom I'm familiar are unable to transition from portrait to landscape photography so seamlessly. I'd like for you to consider being commissioned to photograph a large American city and its government officials for a calendar I'm publishing. This project would require about a week of your undivided time. Please contact me if this project interests you.

  3. by Ray Nikyuluw on April 19, 2010  4:48 pm Reply

    Beautiful Capture Arielle! Yes, wish I could go there! :-) Glad you and your family had the opportunity.

  4. by Stephen Quina on April 28, 2010  7:30 pm Reply

    Belles photos de la Basilique! The rich colors of the mosaics. I was there a long time ago and this takes me back.

  5. by Clint Killingsworth on April 28, 2010  8:01 pm Reply

    Such a great selection of pictures. You have truely captured her joyful personality!

  6. by Lacole Domingo on April 30, 2010  4:11 pm Reply

    Aww He is soooooo Cute! I love the pictures, they turned out so good!

  7. by Anna Hinesley on May 3, 2010  3:03 pm Reply

    J'adore ces photos. Les photos de votre famille sont très belle, bien sûr.

  8. by Provencal on January 22, 2013  4:29 am Reply

    Pictures of Provence are so great, the light is so beautiful.

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