There is so much to drink in here in the land of all things which heighten the senses. Look up and history is staring you in the face. A distant castle, a gargoyle, an ancient door. Look across the countryside and all is bright green and lush dotted with poppies. A waft of jasmine fills the air.  Peer inside a window at pastries, cheese, meats, all so artfully displayed that they lure you inside. This is what I love about France but this trip has been even more delightful because of the special people we have met. (As I write this, am  I munching on a Narbonne, a most delicious pastry filled with perfectly diced apples and seasoned with a hint of anise, topped with a generous sprinkling of pinenuts – wow)Image

The generous spirit and joy of life is evident in the many friends we have made. First there is Lionel, the chef of Le Sixieme Sens, who invited me into his kitchen to learn how to make Bourride, a traditional French soup. While visiting St. Martin, an artist invited us into her garden and then gave us a tour of her eclectic house filled with treasures and antiques. The purveyors in the markets and shops have all gone out of their way to describe a certain cheese or give directions. It is this warmth that draws me in, makes me feel welcome and longing for more. Enjoy these photos of the locals and some of my favorite foods and their shops.

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Lionel, chef and owner of Le Sixieme Sens

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This man gave us so many tastings of his cheese we didn’t need breakfast.

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Epicerie Fine La Ferme      They have the BEST chevre on the planet.

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Citron Presse

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Vibrant apricots and cherries

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Macaroon vendor in The Cite. Best macaroons I have ever tasted!

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Kicking back on our patio after a day of hiking the castle.

Today we embark on a private tour of wine country. This region, the Languedoc, Roussillon, is a well-kept secret with many of its wines not reaching the states.

A bientot!