mangez bien: france pt. 1 | provence-alpes-côtes d'azure

Simplify, simplify.
— Henry D. Thoreau

Oh, Bonnieux. You're quickly becoming a second home. Your sweet cedars + blustery mistrals, your pure light + lively streets; Quickly, your simplicities taught me the meaning of living a slow life. 

Mangez bien, they say, eat well. To the French, eating well is equivalent to living well. And it's such an important part of their day-to-day life. Breaths of fresh air taken in between bites. Laughter, conversation, and sips of wine fuel the meal as gusts of provençal air whip through your hair. Savory + sweet dissolve in your mouth as beautifully as the light falls on the faces, hills, and vineyards of Provence. Life is simple. Slow.  And this year, I learned to appreciate the simplicity of it all. 

So here's to fresh spring water, snail shells on grass sprigs, breathtaking sunsets + dinner with folks who just enjoy presence. 

Our travels to Avignon brought with it the theatre festival. Posters adorned plane trees, medieval walls, and even people as they strolled through the streets. We found solace in the Basilique Saint-Pierre as the light literally poured itself into its atmosphere. This 7th century church, is quite understandably, the locals most adored. 

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Saignon feels like the top of the world. This fortress village's rock formation is one of the highest points in the Petít Luberon you can reach by foot. It's panoramic views are worth the feeling of getting blown away at the top. Seriously, eat a baguette before going up (added weight to keep you grounded), and truly take the time to just be.

Bonnieux's friday market is one of my favorite. The people are real, the food is indescribable, + the atmosphere is charming. Part marché paysan, farmers' market, + part provençal goods, it's one of the local favorites; sitting in the cafe, sipping your espresso, + getting some solid people-watching in the books makes it even sweeter.

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Tess + I were put in charge of a meal. It was glorious...not to brag.

Our entrée was a plate of 2 zucchini flowers, stuffed with a goat cheese mixture of honey, cayenne pepper, lemon, and lavender, and pan-fried in beer batter. Topped with fleur de sel, these savory indulgences were the epitome of treat. yo. self

Tess + Lauren's ratatouille. Rustic, real, + fresh. This rosemary spiced dish was full of squash, zucchini, heirloom tomatoes, artichoke, eggplant, fennel, potatoes, carrots, + haricots coated lightly in balsamic vinegar  and generously with olive oil. 

Fish en papillote is my specialty. I love making it, mainly because there is little clean up. We unknowingly picked a finicky fish to cook, rougets, but the end product, seasoned with simple flavorings, was undeniably a favorite of the night. It's true, simplicity wins, every time. 

Our last course of the evening, was a Tess delicacy. Unabashedly simple, these nectarine tartlets were ever so sweetly covered in cane sugar + honey, served with a dollop of vanilla bean ice cream. 

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Mangez bien, y'all.