Provence Travel Guide

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Visiting the L'Occitane Factory in Provence

March 7, 2012 at 4:56 PM | by | ()

It may not be growing in the fields right now, but in Provence, lavender is always in the air. And no more so than around Manosque, a town high in the hills between Marseille and Nice, and where toiletry brand L’Occitane En Provence is based.

L’Occitane is probably our fave brand of smelly stuff so when we stayed at the official L’Occitane Hotel, Le Couvent Des Minimes, our priority was to fit in a factory tour of the operation at Manosque.

Sadly, it wasn’t to be. We arrived at the hotel on a Sunday, when the factory is closed, and the staff had no idea when, or even if, there would be a tour (of their sister outfit) on the Monday. On the Monday, they told us that there was only one tour that day – at 4pm, in French. And though our pigeon French could have muscled through, we had to be on the road to the airport at 3.

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P. T. Barnum in Provence

February 22, 2006 at 9:50 AM | by | ()

Ah, Provence, land of earthy farmers whose pommes de terre are rich in flavor and fraises are impossibly lush -- much better stuff than that of any supermarket. But as an excerpt from Michèle de La Pradelle's book Market Day in Provence discusses, there's a bit of P. T. Barnum in all those markets, and it works so well because everyone wants to be taken in by all that rustic charm. In fact, "most of the fruits and vegetables available on the market, either at stallholders' or in sedentary shops, were purchased from  . .  a major wholesale market featuring an extremely broad range of produce from a great variety of sources." As one sellers puts it, "It's important to people that we make our own products, so we have to lie. . . . If I don't say I made it myself, they don't think it's as good."

Related Stories:
·   Market Day [U of Chicago, via Saute Wednesday]


Provence for Crowe

July 29, 2005 at 10:33 AM | by | ()

A year in Provence may be just what Russell Crowe needs.

The hotel employee abuser/phone thrower is apparently in negotiations to star in the screen adaptation of Peter Mayle's bestseller "A Year in Provence". Ridley Scott (of Bladerunner and Gladiator rage) is directing.

Keep Crowe away from jagged wine bottles and everything should be fine.

Related Stories:
·   Ridley Scott to make film of Peter Mayle's Provence novel []
·   Kiwi Anger Management [Jaunted]