Having lived in France for about two and a half years now, I’ve become quite accustomed to our little corner of the country. Most of my weekdays involve a pretty standard routine – morning ride to work, lunchtime dash to the market, and then an easy bus ride home.
It’s funny to think you can become used to living in a place you considered so wildly foreign only a few years before. I’m no expert on the South of France, or even our small section of it, but I do feel quite “at home” here and a lot of things now seem very commonplace. Mind you, I’m still in awe of the sights, sounds, and smells of the Provençal markets, and certain foods definitely bowl me over, but I’ve come to expect them during my daily comings & goings. Believe me, that’s a very comforting feeling when you’re living in a foreign country.
So it’s with no small shock that whenever we travel to other parts of France I am completely amazed, almost rattled, with how beautiful this country is. Now, I haven’t completely “gone native” (yet) but wow… I’ve found myself quite “taken” with almost all of the places we’ve traveled to in France.
This post is inspired by a blog comment I recently received that pretty much summed up what I’ve been feeling on our travels around the country: “ Is there anywhere in France that isn’t beautiful??”
Well, very well put Karene, and I must say that I’ll happily continue my quest to find out. And on that note, I wanted to share a few photos of our recent trip to the grand nord to showcase some of the beauty found on the other side of la belle France.
On this sunny morning in the Lorraine, we caravanned to an orchard filled with the sweet, yellow fruit the region is famous for… the mirabelle. Mirabelles are only grown in the north of France and fetch a pretty Euro at the Provençal markets. I’m not much of a plum fan per se, but mirabelles were indeed a happy surprise because they don’t taste much like the plums I remember… they’re softer, sweeter, and much more flavorful.
After “the harvest” mirabelles are preserved, turned into jam, or used fresh for a myriad of tarts and even main dishes. Oh, and of course, there’s mirabelle liquor… a very important, and very unforgettable, moment in many late-night mirabelle “tastings”.
For more mirabelle recipes: