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Thursday, July 24, 2014

A French Guest Post from Sunday Brocantes: Extreme Eye Candy Warning! LOL

More than just a French vintage shopping trip!

How is your summer going mes amis?  I am so happy to be doing this post for my dear friend Kim Hites about our up-coming tour in the fall.  I remember how I felt at this time last year-- it was a melange of excitement and anticipation and a tiny, tiny bit of nervousness....  I was excited to be seeing Kim again and so thrilled to be working with her to provide our first annual French Vintage Shopping Tour.
Now we are quickly moving towards the next tour which is coming up in September.... and again-- I cannot wait!  We have so many flea markets and brocantes on the schedule to explore and a packed schedule of stops to our favorite shops and villages all around Normandie.
What treasures will we find?!
I have to tell you -- the other part of Kim's tour with us that I truly love is the visit to our private home and farm, Rabbit Hill.  We have lived in this 17th century farmhouse in a pretty little town for just a year this April ... a year filled with projects and settling in and it is our 'maison de rêve'....
This was a photo of our home this summer... We raised our American flag to commemorate the 70th Anniversary of the Normandie D-Day invasions.
Last year the gals came over for a very French lunch that took most of the day.... and this year in addition to a traditional (read long and relaxed!) French lunch there will be a private barn sale full of vintage items, furnishings and decor elements at barn-sale prices!
Not certain yet what will be on the menu-- Maybe I will let Kim chose her favorite French dish!  I cannot wait to have Kim's group at my home and in my kitchen this September!
Here is another fun addition for this year.  We have just finished a barn room 'renovation'... and we hope to have our lunch in this charming and glorious space that is currently serving as a harvest and drying room for 'Rabbit Hill Lavande'  my new farming endeavor this summer!
My long solid piece table (a French work table that is about 15 feet long and seats up to 16) has finally found a place (where it fits!) at Rabbit Hill.  Perfect for meals with family and friends!
Besides lunch and the barn sale there will be a chance to meet a few of the .... a-hem... "family members" of Rabbit Hill.  
The timing is tricky to meet 'the ladies' who are the tenant cows on the farm and by September they are all (all 12 of them) in their last month of pregnancy.  The field is just one BIG maternity ward!
So many wonderful things in the works... non?!?  So happy to share a little sneak peek with you! Interested in being a part of Kim's tour?  Drop her an email:  

Hope you are having a lovely summer friends!  

All I can say is WOW!  Thanks Cat, for giving us this amazing upcoming tour/Normandie sneak peek.  The barn room is absolutely "swoon" worthy and I can hardly wait to see what treasures we bring home this year!

If your heart is beating fast after reading Cat's post and you're interested in joining our group this fall, drop me an email and I'll send you all the details for our tour on September 26 - October 3.  There is one available spot (potentially 2 if you want to bring a friend!) waiting for YOU!

À bientôt,

Monday, July 7, 2014

A Small Lavender Harvest

I have not been fortunate enough to see the vast purple lavender fields in bloom in Provence.  It seems as though I’m always missing it by a few weeks.  Hopefully one day I’ll plan my trip accordingly.

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But I have maintained a very small lavender garden in my own backyard over the years.  It consists of several mature plants that yield a nice amount of lavender that I enjoy harvesting and drying.

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It’s a source of pleasure every summer for me in late June to early July to clip the tall stalks and gently tie bundles up to dry. 


After a couple weeks, I spend some afternoons rolling the dried stalks between my hands to release the fragrant buds that I use to fill sachets.


I can usually almost fill a large Provençal tian with the fragrant lavender.


I absolutely love the scent of lavender.  I use it in my laundry and as scented ironing water.  It smells heavenly when sprayed on sheets before bed.  I always keep lavender linen water close-by.

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  There are lots of lavender items in the markets of Provence.  This is one of my favorite photos..a vendor in St. Remy with a lavender-filled cart!


There is never a shortage of this fragrance!  This photo was taken in L’Isle  Sur la Sorgue.


Do any of you have good luck with growing lavender in your area?


I’ll be sharing about a great brocante in Nice, France later this week!



Thursday, July 3, 2014

Happy 4th of July and Happy Bastille Day (July 14)

Since these two Revolutionary holidays are so close together I thought I’d give a shout out to each one today. 

The United States and France have been allies for a long time and I for one am glad of the relationship.  Did you know a smaller version of Bartholdi’s Statue of Liberty sits in the Seine in the shadow of the Eiffel tower?  It’s one of my favorite sights.


Most of us are aware of the US involvement and help in liberating France from Germany during WWII.  Just think D-day, the Allied Invasion and Normandy.


But did you know that France was instrumental in helping the US  defeat the British during the Revolutionary War which secured our independence as a free country?

France had been secretly aiding the American colonies since 1776 because they were angry at Britain over Colonial territory lost during the French and Indian War.  Ben Franklin was sent to France by the Continental Congress to secure a formal alliance.  King Louis XVI approved financial assistance to the American colonists only 4 days after Franklin requested it.  By 1777 France’s support had deepened and they provided more military armaments and loans to the colonists.  In 1778 Ben Franklin was back in France signing the Treaty of Amity and Commerce which recognized the US as an independent nation and promoted trade between France and America.  The Treaty of Alliance was also signed which made the US and France allies with the French deciding to back the US until we had full independence from Great Britain.  During the Revolution France sent as estimated 12,000 soldiers and 32,000 sailors to the American war effort.  The most famous was the Marquis of Lafayette who became good friends with our commander in chief George Washington.


In France, Bastille Day is a national holiday celebrated on July 14 to commemorate the beginning of the French Revolution with the storming of the Bastille on July 14, 1789 and the Fête de la Fédération on July 14, 1790.



So here’s to two great countries who offer the world much in art, architecture, décor, style, beauty and class.  I am grateful for our continued camaraderie.

I’m proud to be an American.  God Bless America and Vive la France!

I hope all of you have a wonderful 4th of July.  Don’t eat too many hotdogs or too much apple pie tomorrow!!! LOL  I can’t wait for the fireworks!


Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hilltop Paradise in Eze, France

Eze is a small medieval village in the south of France not far from the city of Nice.  We spent a lovely afternoon there on our recent trip to the French Riviera.


Eze is famous for the panoramic views of the Mediterranean Sea from its hilltop.  It overlooks a high cliff 1,401 ft above sea level and is referred to as an “Eagle’s nest” because of its location.


I was more focused on the beauty and charm and this ancient village.


It’s narrow and winding streets (no cars here!) were mesmerizing.  You could feel the serenity and history in this place and could become lost in its many passageways.


I found it to be a quiet town…almost reverent and respectful of centuries old architecture.


It had many shops, art galleries, hotels, and restaurants.  It is a very popular tourist and honeymoon destination and we were told it has mostly become a “museum village” with  few local residents still living here.  The Chevre d’Or is probably the most famous restaurant on the hilltop.


It was so peaceful to be here and we enjoyed a leisurely lunch in a secluded bistro.  The owner produced his own olive oil and we brought back a couple delicious varieties.


Walt Disney himself spent a lot of time in Eze.  I loved these blue shutters.  Notice the fruit on the tree!


I loved this large biot jar used as a base for training the climbing plant.


With such gorgeous scenery, Eze was a wonderful place to meditate and slow-down our fast-paced lives….even if only for a day!


Don’t forget about the Brocanting Tour in Normandy and Paris this September.  There are a couple spots left and it could be YOU and a friend to fill them!  Send me an email and let me know you want to go at kimhites@gmail.com or give me call at (606) 424-8402.

More info HERE and HERE.

À bientôt mes amis,


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