Belle Provence Travels

A South of France Blog

Welcome to belle Provence…

This site is about living in, and traveling around, the south of France.

I’m an American woman in my mid-40s, born & raised in Southern California, and I’ve been living in Provence since 2010. In 2007, I took a break from my much-loved career in higher education to experience a *mid-life* adventure in Rome, Italy. After a few years of English teaching (and living the dolce vita on a very slim budget) I met my French husband-to-be at a Christmas party.

I didn’t speak a word of French and never imagined getting to know the French people and their culture… let alone falling in love with the place I now call home. It was a long personal journey moving from Italy to France, and it took me about 4 years to speak decent French – one of the biggest challenges I faced moving here. In fact, one of the biggest challenges I’ve ever faced – it’s one tough language. I’m still learning every day, but my life has become a lot fuller since I crossed that bridge and I’m very thankful for the kind French people who helped me along the way.

My husband Nicolas is a self-proclaimed expert in “eating” and provides much of the French-background for the posts. About 90% of his explanations involve the phrase “it’s complicated”, which really explains about 90% of living in France.

After 7 years of living in the coastal city of Toulon, we moved just outside the village of Ollioules in the fall of 2017 (10 minutes from Toulon). We live in the Var department and much of this site is dedicated to places we visit in the region – like our favorites Bandol, Sanary-sur-Mer, and Le Castellet village. We’ve also fallen in love with Cassis, Aix-en-Provence, Avignon, Saint Rémy de Provence, and Isle-sur-la-Sorgue – just to name a few. Provence is a big and beautiful place, there’s a lot to love.

Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you enjoy my small window into belle Provence.

Tuula