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This probably won’t include recommendations for  the kind of goods and services you’re used to seeing in a blog about France.   Certainly not the sort of things that I would have had time to experience during my previous, shorter visits.  These are the things I’ve stumbled upon in the course of being here.

I’ll be continually adding to this as I continually stumble.   And if you have something specific you want me to check out,  let me know.

Delices de miel au Citron de Menton.

OMG!  Give me a straw. Hell, I’ll chug it straight from the jar. I’ll eat it with my hands.   Read more.

Ulti Jus d’orange, pamplemousse et frambois. 

Nectar of the gods, I tell ya!   Monoprix makes one that’s equally delish under the “daily monop” label.    And not terribly easy to find outside of big cities.   So far, I’ve only encountered it in Paris, Nice and Marseille.   It’s fresh and so good you want to savor it like a fine wine (or in my case, chocolate milk).   With every sip I take, I’m boggled by its deliciousness anew.   I think there must be something in it like crack.

A friend of mine tried it when she was visiting France and is showing signs of a burgeoning addiction.   Now when she calls me, her first question is “are you drinking that juice?” her voice cracking with the same lust my ex-boyfriend used to use when he’d call and ask what I’m wearing.     She’s now planning to retire here, in part, I believe for this juice.

Domaine Ramateulle 2010 Rose

I am by no means a wine connoisseur.   In fact, I never been a big wine fan.   Until I met roses (someday, I’m going to have to figure out how to do a accent grave on my computer).   I always thought they were the white trash of wines, but boy was I wrong (well, either that, or I have white trash taste).   They’re dry but refreshing.   Light, but fuller bodied than white.   They’re jush desilicious.

So far, this is my favorite.   It’s hauntingly good.   I find myself thinking about it at various points during the day, looking forward to the moment my lips touch its cold, dewy glass.  And the best part is, it not only tastes ambrosial, it gets me drunk!    I never want to be without it ever again.

Sun dried tomato/anchovy tapenade

I can’t vouch for all of them, since every recipe is different (and they often have different names such as bagnattou, or croistillade.”   I’m in love with one at the Antibes Marche Provencal that has olives, sun dried tomatoes, basil, anchovies and god knows what else.  They call theirs “bagnattou d’angele”, which seems apt.    Everytime I eat it, I’m surprised at how utterly freaking good it is.   I find myself having it for dessert.   Who knew something without chocolate in it could be so addictive?

Rotisserie chicken from a truck

I have yet to eat a chicken as perfect as those from a truck in France.    I don’t know if it’s that the chickens are better, or fresher, or better prepared but dang, those are good chickens.   Perfectly seasoned, moist, flavorful.   I have sought tastier chickens all over the world and have yet to find one.   Particular kudos to the hot guy and his pretty wife at the Vidauban market (not pictured here).   The best of the best, IMHO.

Oreillettes de Languedoc

I happened upon these babies while waiting in line at Monoprix to pay for my Ulti jus d’oranges, pamplemousse et frambois.   They’re one layer of pastry drizzled with lemon juice and sugar.   I ate the entire box in an hour an am now planning to go to Nice first thing in the morning to stock up on more (I’d go right now, but it’s Sunday).   I guess they’re a specialty of the Languedoc, which is making me consider moving there.

Meil de lavande from La Maison du Miel in Vidauban

I always thought honey was honey.   And lavender honey just sounds like so much BS.   So when Gilli told me people travel from far and wide for this honey, I took it with a grain of salt (or pollen).

Well, over here they have honey degustations (the next gourmet preoccupation?) which I’m glad to take part in (hey, free food!).   After tasting honey from across the land, I’ve come to revise my thinking.   Honey is not honey, and this stuff is amazing!!!  I wish I could describe what it is exactly that makes it taste above and beyond every other honey–a subtle hint of spicy-ness?  The round, almost buttery depth of flavor?   Yes, it’s a miracle honey.   I think it probably cures illness and eliminates wrinkles when applied topically.

Marche Richard Lenoir

I love this market more than life itself.  Located on the Boulevard de la Bastille (and Blvd Richard Lenoir) in the 11th arrondissement, it’s blocks and blocks of amazing food fresh fish, fowl, gorgeous produce, clothes, hardware, crafts that ends at the Bastille..   It’s here I got some of the best olives I’ve ever had (lebanese).   So good I’d eat them as a main course.   I also got a gorgeous grey 80% cashmere blazer for $20.   Great place to pick up baby clothes–petite bateau for E1/piece.   Another great discovery:  petite bateau cotton underwear.   If you get the largest kid’s size, it’s like E2.   A bargain, I tell ya!    The market is open on Thursdays and Sundays.   Have I mentioned I love this market?

Bon Maman Pates de fruitsbm-pates

I’ve yearned for these fruit gems at places like Dean and DeLuca and Hediard, but they were like $20.00 for six so I just kept yearning.   Imagine my surprise to find these at Shoppi, the Auvers grocery store for about 2.50E .   The box contains 12 sugar coated squares of condensed fruit chewiness in apple, blackcurrant, mandarin, passionfruit, raspberry and quince.   Mandarin is my fave.   They’re a little like those gum drops we had as kids, but these are made made with real fruit, so you know they’ve gotta be full of vitamins, fiber and other healthy stuff.  Americans are familiar with Bon Maman’s jams, but she’s also a great little confectioner.


My neighbors, Carole and Jerome forced me to try this.   I’m not a huge fan of wine, but dude, when you put just a tiny drop of creme de cassis in a glass of dry white wine, it’s a refreshing ambrosia of the gods.   I’ll have another.   The recipes I’ve found call for waaaay too much cassis (usually a teaspoon or more), making it waaaay too sweet.   Just a drop, I tell ya!   The beauty of kir is you don’t have to be in France to enjoy it, although I’m sure it helps.



Bahlsen petits gâteaux chocolatsuncategorized-bahlsenedit_1

Another chocolaty delight found in the Auvers grocery store.   Eight little cakes of dense, rich chocolate.   The inside is so soft and slightly gooey, it’s like nothing I’ve ever experienced from a baked good that wasn’t either homemade or from a bakery.   Around 2E for a bag of eight.   Another bargain!!!   I realize that Bahlsen is a German company, but these petit gateaux are too good to let that stop me.


Mirabellesmirabel, prince plums, currents

The Sunday market is a great place to discover fruit you’ve never heard of.   Mirabelles are a cross between a plum and a cherry (the greenish-yellow with a dash of pink fruit on the bottom).   About the size of a quarter, they’re the perfect pop in your mouth snack.   Sweet and juicy with a manageable pit.   They’re only available in August and they’re the pride and joy of France.   No wonder.

Nestle La Laitiere, Chocolate Pots au creme00041360-t0

Who knew such joy could be found in the dairy section of a grocery store?  I’ve been pretty bitter about the lack of good ice cream available here (unless you want to pay $7.00 for a pint of Haagen Dazs).   This more than makes up for it.   Four rich chocolaty puddings, only creamier in individual glass cups.   Ingredients are oeufs, sucre and lait.   No syrup de corn to be found.  They come in other flavors like creme de caramel, vanilla and pistachio.   Someday I’ll get around to trying them too.  About 2.50E for a pack of four.   Totally a bargain.   Hell, I used to spend that much on a single cupcake.

16 Responses

  1. Thanks for the great photos of Auvers-sur-Oise. We did see some of it many years ago. I’m finally getting smarter (at 69) about research, and you’re a big help. Did you see Giverny is having a special exhibit starting July 12? We’re going too late for the Paul Signac exhibition in Roubaix. But if you haven’t seen that swimming pool/museum, we highly recommend it-there even were signs the whole way to it! Dalloyau? I can’t even spell, let alone pronounce, but they are wonderful. We had rissotto upstairs, and they split a big arugula salad for us, and were so nice to us also very wet, and never well dressed tourists. Sorry I can’t send money.

    • Hi Helen,
      Thanks for reading my blog. I’m glad it’s helped with your research. Now I’m going to have to research Roubaix. I’m now in the south of France and will probably miss the Giverny exhibition, but there’s a lot of great art exhibits down south as well that I’ll be researching soon. I’ve recently developed a fondness for Dufy. Going up to Paris in few days and will be stocking up on Dalloyau macarons. Maybe I’ll even try some of their “real” food.

  2. Hi my wife and self(lee) are thinking of taking a sabatical from busy life and children that have suddenly grown up ,we live in cape town south africa , my wife is looking for an authentic village style life and i like the sea and markets , could you suggest based on the above whether Antibes could fit our picture or should we be looking more at other villages arround Provence, we anticipate travelling towards mid June 2012, best wishes lee

    • As much as I love Antibes, I wouldn’t say it’s authentic village/provencal life, although it sometimes feels like it in the old town. Truth is, it’s hard to find that along the cote d’azur. Possibly Biot, which is only a few miles from Antibes and the sea. More of a village, very sweet town and while not as accessible as Antibes, still not hard to get to. You might want to be further west. But really, my first question is will you have a car, because it will make a difference in what I recommend.

      • Thanks for your reply Lesley, yes we will defn hire a car for the 5 weeks we are in France so we are flexible , we could consider renting a cottage on a farm/agrotourism place or anything that you might be able to recommend that’s worth looking at .
        We would love something charming ,Shannon loves cats, sheep markets ,wine and reading .
        Weather in Cape Town very nice , you should consider it sometime.
        Best wishes

      • I’d love to go to Cape Town one of these days. It’s supposed to be beautiful.

        Based on what you’ve told me, I’d be looking some of the lesser known villages, which will give you a better idea of real provencal village life. I also think you should be further west and inland a bit (you can still be 20 minutes from the sea) where there are more farms and vineyards. Naturally, I don’t know all the villages, but I can recommend Vidauban and Les Arcs in the Var region as charming, untouristed, friendly a decent size and well located. Lac St. Croix and the Gorge Verdon are also in the region–absolutely gorgeous. You should definitely check out the Var region…to me, it’s like the Sonoma county of the south of France and is located well for day trips either in the direction of the Cote d’azur as well as to Aix, Arles, etc.

        Further west in the Alpilles, near les Baux, St. Remy and Arles is a place I loved — Mausanne Les Alpilles. Farther from the sea but really charming Chateauneuf du Papes.
        You might want to consider the area near Cassis and Bandol…some great wines coming out of the area, Cassis is beautiful and charming (a little touristy). One place on the coast I’ve only been to once, but really liked it was St. Maxime. But it might be hell in the summer.

        That’s pretty much all I can tell you. I hope it helps.

  3. We spent two weeks in Provence two years ago and spent some time near Uzes, quite a bit west but absolutely charming. And still central enough to take mini trips.

    Also, the tiny village of Ansouis – very small, quiet, quaint, but in the heart of provence and within a short drive of all the villages, Avignon, and so on.

    I have just signed up for your Blog Lesley as i am retiring next year and my husband and i will be looking for an apartment to spend 6 weeks in Paris late next fall…

    Bon voyages!

    • Thanks for reading and subscribing Jodi. Those are great recommendations for Lee. I’ll had to check out Ansouis myself. Enjoy your 6 week retirement party in Paris! Do you have a favorite arrondissement?

  4. I am leaving for paris in a week and will look for your reccomendations! I have to wonder…why did you stop stalking johnny depp? I planned to while in paris and it led me to your old blog which was absolutely hilarious. We are very much alike!

    • Hi Heather,
      I haven’t stopped stalking johnny. We’re on a break. Stalking is hard work, especially when the stalkee is never around. And I have to admit, when I saw the article about him and one of the Olsen twins, I sank into the deepest despair. But I plan to start stalking him again soon, since Cannes is coming up. Which means I’ll have to start shaving my legs again (hey, you never know).
      Have a great time in Paree!

      • You do indeed have a gift for humor 🙂 but I read the olsen twin thing was not true so thats my story and im sticking too it! Hahah best of luck at cannes. Give johnny hugs for me!

  5. I think, based on the above, that Antibes are great fit for my travel early in 2013. I started site to prepare 😉 If you know polish please visit and review: Lazurowe Wybrzeże Thank You!

  6. Sth wrong with last comment, this should work: Lazurowe Wybrzeże Thank You!

  7. Hello, we live in Antibes and went to look for the Domaine Ramateulle 2010 Rose you recommended. We looked in the Intermarche on Albert 1st, at the Carrefour next to the old town, at the Shopi in the Place Republic in old town and at the large Carrefour up in the hills overlooking Antibes. Where did you buy this wine? We have had a couple of the different roses from this region and have not liked them so we decided to try the one that you recommend hoping it is better. Please adivse. Raquel

    • Hi Raquel,
      I got the Ramateulle 2010 in a little wine shop on the street heading to the Marche Provencale which has since closed (desole). Now I’m not sure where in Antibes to get the Ramateulle (2011 is also good if you happen to find it). My recommendation is to go to the wine shop in the old town on the street across from the post office…rue lacan, I believe. Give them your price range and tell them what you like and they usually come up with something good. And please let me know what you end up with and how it is.

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