mangez bien: france pt. 2 | provence-alpes-côtes d'azure

Simplicity is my destination. I think it will take me my whole life to get there. But it is a blessing to have reminders of it throughout my life. From taking in the golden light as it spills through sunflowers, to exploring all sorts of fantastical places with people you love, and eating fresh meals, I think being whole + happy stems from experiencing + appreciating the simple joys of life. 

One of my favorite street artists, JR teamed up with documentarian + filmmaker Agnes Varda in their project JRxAgnesVarda to tell stories of the people of Provence. JR is known for his huge pastings of portraits across the globe on buildings and grounds. His mantra is to share with the world his art, aiming to attract unexpected viewers + create social awareness about identity. His most recognizable project is the Inside Out, which has graced even our small town of Chapel Hill.

Small towns are not forgotten by JR, as he has photos of Bonnieux locals pasted in the center of the village. Our favorite boutique owner, Natalie sits on a ledge with her star-studded dress + umbrella. An old family photo graces the square of Le Fournil, and the postman is larger than life on the market square. 

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Halfway through our trip, my loving husband decided to jump on a plane to surprise me. I had been away from him for about 3 weeks and missed Jerry's face dearly. He surprised the mess out of me + somehow kept it secret for almost 2 months! Of course, his showing up meant I finally had a driver to let me explore all the places solely for a photo. Life is much better when I can travel with this smiley fool. 

Ansouis is a small village known for 3 things. Ice cream, it's simple parish, and it's Musée Extraordinairewhich showcases a man's love for diving + art. 

The ochre hills of Roussillon was one of our last explorations. The red, sandy hills were stunning...and a perfect sandbox.

One of the loveliest parts about going to Bonnieux this year was meeting up with all our friends we met last year. Robbie +Nava were so hospitable showing us around antique markets and we treated them to a home-cooked meal. Our last night in Bonnieux, we drove to Lacoste to have a very  un-French aperitif with Ruth, her lovely and super fun family, and new friends and featured artists in the new SCAD Atelier program. I met Ruth last year at her pop-up shop for her gorgeous jewelry + antique textiles just before she closed up...and I'm so thankful this encounter happened! Ruth went to pick fresh melon for her aperitif, made tabouleh, bruschetta, and had a lovely array of cheeses that her son, Louis, decorated ever so precisely with lavender sprigs.

We ate, drank, hunted for treasure with Louis + Charlotte, claimed our baguettes, reveled in homemade creme brûlée + chocolate soufflé, and watched Louis + Raph blow fire. We finished our evening late into the night talking about our love of art, antiques, UFOs, + Simon & Garfunkel, while sipping on the finest boxed Cave de Bonnieux wine. This lovely evening went straight into the clear + crisp provence night and continued as a styled shoot with the amazing Trish Andersen, Cecelia Elguero, + Michael-Birch Pierce the next day. Thank you, Ruth, for the hospitality, lively conversation, + collaboration opportunities.

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These photographs, while nothing spectacular are just about living well, mangez bien. They are friends, they are family, they are memories, + visual nostalgia. They are reminders to keep life simple, and savor every bit of it. These, as Louis would say, are my bits of treasure. 

Mangez bien, y'all.