Monday photos: Winter in Provence

For the past couple of years I’ve been spending most of the winter months in Japan, or somewhere else. Last year I spent most of January in New York and Seattle promoting the Just Bento Cookbook, and the year before I was in Japan, doing the photoshoot for the book! And the year before that I was in Zürich. So, even though we bought this old broken down stone house about 2 years ago, this is the first January I’ve been here.

There isn’t too much going on in this sleepy corner of France in the winter months. The tourists will start arriving in the spring, and the fields are quiet. But it’s still so beautiful. I’ve been indoors most of the time for weeks, waiting for my surgery wound to heal. It’s finally started healing up a bit so I can go out (at least, it’s not leaking copiously anymore). It feels so good to feel some fresh air on my face again.

Olive trees keep their shimmery silver leaves throughout the winter. We don’t get much snow here in Provence, except on the top of Mont Ventoux, here in the background.

Winter in Provence

Besides olives and vines, many kinds of fruit trees are grown here. Here in the Baronnies, in an area just to the north of Provence proper called the Drôme Provençale (administratively part of the Rhône-Alpes, but in spirit and landscape all Provence) the land is very hilly, so the orchards are terraced. I think they are apricot trees there.

Winter in Provence

And of course, there are vineyards, many many vineyards. These terraced vineyards are about 10 minutes away from the house, nestled in a magical little valley. Everywhere you go in this northern section of Provence, wherever there is a little patch of sunny land, it is planted with vines or olive trees or fruit trees. (The Dentelles de Montmirail, which you can see in the far right, are nearby many famous AOC wine producing villages such as Gigondas, Vacqueyras and Beaumes de Venise.)

Winter in Provence

Still some ways to go for these old vines…

Winter in Provence

It’s hard to believe this dead looking branch will be, in just a few weeks, bursting with life. But it will. It’s just taking a long nap.

Winter in Provence

More than the plants are taking a winter break. We stopped by one of my favorite brocante (junk/antiques shop) a few days ago, only to discover it’s closed…until February 29th! Someone had impatiently scribbled underneath the store sign, “[2 months is] VERY long!!”

Winter in Provence

By the end of February, my surgery wound will hopefully have finally healed and I’ll be able to move around freely. My father’s memorial service will be done. In March my radiation therapy will begin, but I feel confident that it will go well. And maybe we can resume work on the old house again, finally install a kitchen, finish the floors, install a staircase to the upstairs. Ah, so many things. Still, when I see how much beauty we are surrounded by here, I feel so very lucky.

In the meantime, on February 29th I’ll be there at that store to see if they’ve gotten in anything new. I can’t wait.

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Re: Monday photos: Winter in Provence

Glad you're feeling a little better, Maki. :)

keito | 10 January, 2012 - 02:08

Re: Monday photos: Winter in Provence

The photos are beautiful, and your story reminds me of A Year in Provence. Do you get the mistral where you are?

I hope the upcoming spring brings you lots of good things in life.

Megumi | 10 January, 2012 - 03:11

Re: Monday photos: Winter in Provence

Yep, the Mistral is pretty fierce here, especially since our house is built on a rock/cliff kind of thing, near a river.

maki | 10 January, 2012 - 10:43

Re: Monday photos: Winter in Provence

I just found your blog after the new year's. What an interesting path you have taken (by choice and otherwise)! Triculture? Quatroculture? Quintaculture? My hands are full just jetting across the Pacific from Tokyo to San Diego and back. Having two different people live inside me is more than I can handle.

Hope your treatment goes well and that the owner of the store returns with truckload of treasures!

Ohina | 10 January, 2012 - 07:11

Re: Monday photos: Winter in Provence

Good photos, Maki. A little mournful? Those old vines look like the way I feel in Canadian winter! But old vines make the best wine. Happy to hear your body is repairing. Best wishes for 2012. Akemashite omedetou.

gilda92 | 10 January, 2012 - 16:45

Re: Monday photos: Winter in Provence

Funny! "trés" is spelt with the "accent de Provence". It should be "très". But in the South of France, people pronounce très [tʀɛ] as if it were trés [tʀe] and tend to spelt it that way too.

Kecily | 10 January, 2012 - 17:35

Re: Monday photos: Winter in Provence

Thank you for sharing something so beautiful and uplifting. I can almost feel the fresh air on my face as well! I am hopeful for you! Blessings to you in the New Year.

Edna Grace | 10 January, 2012 - 22:16

Re: Monday photos: Winter in Provence

The rolling hills of Provence look beautiful! Thank you for sharing. I hope that you continue to improve and heal from your surgery.

Peter Bennet | 4 June, 2012 - 05:41

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