Forest walks and mirabelle tarts in the Lorraine, France

Greeting dear readers and friends. I hope you are all safe and well in your corner of the world. It’s certainly been tough to find a moment to write during the ups and downs of summer. We still count ourselves among the lucky ones who have been able to travel around France a bit in July and August – trying to do our best with taking the appropriate precations.

This week we’re in northeastern France visiting the beaux-parents (in-laws) in the Lorraine who we haven’t seen since last Christmas. In this quiet, countryside setting, it’s been nice to take a break from it all and enjoy the simpler things in life.

On a morning walk in a forest near their home, we had a few very pleasant surprises. Perhaps I’ve spent too much time “in the city”, but I felt absolutely amazed to find blackberries growing in the wild. So pretty.

A few more minutes into our balade (stroll), we spotted a deer on the other side of a clearing… as beautiful as could be. Nobody moved for several minutes as she spent as much time staring at us as we did at her. Definitely the highlight of our trip.

Besides our balades in the forest, we’re trying to beat the heatwave that’s hit most of France. We arrived last Sunday to a whopping 97°F – which is a pretty incredible change from the winter 20s and 30s! Flowers are still blooming in the well-tended garden of the grandparents, but things are dry, dry, dry here.

Although that doesn’t stop the harvest of the Lorraine’s most famous product: the mirabelle plum (the golden fruit pictured in the last photo).

And I don’t have enough space here to share all of the excellent cooking of my belle-mère (mother-in-law). I shared one of her favorite apple clafoutis recipes years back, and I’m still savoring everything she makes. Simple, tasteful, and the best French home cooking around.

Below is her famous “mirabelle tart” – which is a small plum as sweet as can be. So delightfully sweet that my belle-mère doesn’t need to use any sugar in her tart recipe. I haven’t heard of anyone being able to find mirabelle plums in the US (please chime in if you know where they are!), so here are two French apricot tart recipes if you’d like to get close to the real thing (apricots being my all-time favorite fruit, truth be told).

-French apricot tart, Martha Stewart

-Tarte aux abricots, Journal des Femmes (in French)

Many moons ago, we went to pick mirabelles in a small orchard which is part of a old family-plot. You can see the post about it here – Mirabelles and the Beauty of the North. Many moons ago… but several kilos lighter. Thanks to good, French home cooking. I wouldn’t change a thing.

Best wishes to you and yours from the Lorraine.


8 thoughts on “Forest walks and mirabelle tarts in the Lorraine, France”

    1. You are so kind, Patricia! I really appreciate your support and thank you so much for being a faithful follower of the blog – your words mean a lot to me. Bonne journée from belle Provence 🙂


    1. Great to hear from you Marg! Hope you are enjoying your outdoor walks and that lovely garden of yours. We are waiting on fall for things to cool down a bit. A few more weeks and our lemons should be ready. Fig season is just finishing as well. Best wishes from the sunny south of France 🙂 Tuula


  1. Happy you were able to get away to visit your in-laws in the Lorraine. We are very sad we have not been able to come to Sablet this year so far; still have our fingers crossed we might get to visit in October if cases are down in the USA and France decides to let in Americans. I have been and continue to work from home, not sure if I will ever go back to the office full time. I like being at home, because I can putter in the garden between conference calls and emails or do some cooking. I have been making a lot of refrigerator jam, including plum and apricot jam, using a simple recipe from David Lebovitz. Sounds like your mother-in-law is a fantastic cook. Lucky you. Enjoy the rest of your vacation. Be well.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hello, bonjour, Michel,

      I just caught a few of your garden photos on Instagram and you are certainly doing something right – it’s gorgeous! Congratulations 🙂 I’m working on being a better gardener here and there… we inherited a lot of fruit trees that luckily seem to take care of themselves, for the most part. We have some wisteria and the rest are a lot of succulents I planted as it gets so hot here it’s hard to keep things going in the summer. The lemons are coming in a few weeks though, I can’t wait!
      Thank you for your kind comment and sending you and your family our best wishes. I really hope you’ll be able to make it to Provence in October – fingers crossed. Bonne journée, stay safe and well!


  2. Hi Tuula – It has been a very long time since you posted on your blog. Am hoping this finds you and your family well – and wishing you the best for the holiday season. -S

    On Sat, Aug 15, 2020 at 10:32 AM Belle Provence Travels wrote:

    > Tuula posted: ” Greeting dear readers and friends. I hope you are all safe > and well in your corner of the world. It’s certainly been tough to find a > moment to write during the ups and downs of summer. We still count > ourselves among the lucky ones who have been able t” >


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