Le Bon Vivre, ‘The Good Life’
I want to share with you some of my favorite things in many areas of my life which together add up to my philosophy, lifestyle, and le bon vivre or “the good life.”
After spending quite a lot of time in South France, to me the idyllic lifestyle there is a theme of ‘simplicity.’ I think that is why it resonates with me so. Live in the “present”. Look for the little miracles in your life everyday. Live your life with love. I am a firm believer that everything counts. Be creative, use what you have, and re-purpose. Be kind, generous, observant, and adventurous. Be a life long student, knowledge is power. Be grateful and thankful. Be authentic. Be yourself.
Dream. Your life will change when you put more energy in your dreams than in your fears. —Anonymous
When you love what you have, you have everything.—Anonymous
“I find the harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.” —Thomas Jefferson
“Only do what your heart tells you.” —Princess Diana
“Youth has no age.” —Picasso
Baker & Olive, Sherry Reserva Vinegar from Jerez, Spain; aged up to 25 years.
Galantino, Mailorder Olive Oil from Puglia, Italy since 1926. When visiting Rome, our Italian friends recommended this olive oil. We buy five liters at a time.
Temecula Olive Oil, Beautiful selection of olive oils and flavored vinegars. They grow and harvest their olive oil from their own California olive groves. You can also join their club.
Favorite Salts. Kosher. Fleur de Sel de Cargue. Maldon Sea Salt Flakes.
Favorite French Mustard, Maille from Paris. On your next visit to Paris, visit the Maille shop off of Place Madeleine.
San Francisco Bay French Roast Coffee, family-owned RogersFamilyCo.com, tasty dark roast whole bean coffee available at Costco. I also like Trader Joe’s whole bean French Roast Coffee.
“A garden’s path can take you anywhere.” —Anonymous
Dansko Rain Boots, one of the most comfortable, stylish and best garden boots I have ever owned.
Stockapler Soils, (tel) (760) 786-6078. Ramona,California-based company specializing in soil amendments and materials. I buy a special vegetable soil for my potager from them. Will deliver for a fee.
Roger’s Gardens. My favorite hands-down garden center located in Orange County, California. A truly unique full service destination nursery.
Provence Lifestyle, The heart of this life is simplicity, although centuries old, this lifestyle is very relevant today. Pleasure and productive landscaping (edible landscaping), eating and living seasonally, cooking from the garden, supporting your farmers, utilizing what you have, living in the present, befriending your neighbors, and being respectful of your environment and planet. I have written a lot about Provence in my Le Blog within this website—search Provence. Here are a few of my favorite suggestions.
St. Remy Garden House, A favorite place to stay. Situated just outside of St. Remy on a private estate, this beautiful garden house rental with a pool, and stunning Mediterranean garden is the essence of Provence country living. Host Englishman James Clay, is a delight!
La Petite Maison de Cucuron, One of my favorite cooking classes from Michelin star, Chef Eric Sapet. Cooking classes are held throughout the year every Saturday. Must contact well in advance. Eric speaks English, yet most of his students are locals. Part chef, part comic, it is an experience and a meal to remember.
Abbaye St. Andre, Best public garden. Created in the 1920’s on a steep hillside of a former benedictine abbey located across the Rhone River from Avignon.
The Provence Post, American expatriate Jule Mautner’s informative blog on everything happening in Provence. Julie can also help with planning tours, cooking classes, and all things Provence.
Chrysmela Pearl Jackets, Mayumi Ishii is Los Angeles rep, 1 (650) 455-4008, Mayumi@Chrysme.la. Some options are available on Amazon. Patented secure catch. Fabulous other options in silver, gold, rose gold. I am a pearl girl, and I love to wear these pearl jackets!
Ballerette, fabulous flats out of Italy. A girl can’t wear heels all the time. On a guided bike tour through Rome, I happened to catch this tiny shop, and their shoe display. I had to find it later before leaving Rome. Ladies were buying 4 and 5 pairs at a time. You can purchase shoes online.
Favorite Cooks & Cookbook Authors. Ina Garten, Patricia Wells, Susan Hermann Loomis, MiMi Thorisson, Marjorie Taylor & Kendall Smith Franchini (The Cook’s Atelier), Alice Waters, Tieghan Gerard (Half Baked Harvest), Suzanne Goin, Richard Olney, Julia Child, Georgeanne Brennan. For more cookbook information, please look for “My Library” under Resources.
Tomato Knife, One of the best tomato knives for tomato season. Attention, very sharp! The Victorinox Tomato Knife on Amazon is a set of three. If one is what you need, Chino Farm sells single Victorinox Tomato Knives at their Pop-Up Pantry.
Mortar & Pestle, I have a very large one, and a very small one. Many Provence recipes call for using a timeless mortar & pestle, rather than a food processor. I use it for my pestos, particular spices, and grinding fresh whole peppercorns.
My French Home
I have collected antiques, collectibles, and vintage pieces since my high school days in Brussels, Belgium. The patina, warmth, and unique pieces add up to a very inviting home.
Sharon Santoni, is an inspiration to me with her home, books, blog, and now magazine. You can sign up for Sharon’s quaraterly “My Stylish French Box” for handpicked treasures from French artisans, brocante markets, and artists to create your own stylish French country home.
Patina Farm, Brooke & Steve Giannetti, interior designer and architect duo share how they desisgned and put together their amazing Ojay home and farm.
C’est la Vie, I have gotten some fantastic antique furniture from, owner Sara Wardrip, who buys all over Europe, ships full containers back, and has such a great eye for wonderful pieces.
Consignment Classics, I have found some great treasures here. I stop in on a regular basis.