Our Vacation Rental Homes in Sablet, Provence

Sablet Village, Vaucluse, Provence, France
Maison des Pelerins and La Baume des Pelerins, or "les Pelerins" as we affectionately refer to our dream come true, of owning our own homes in Provence, are located in the heart of the Vaucluse. We thoroughly enjoy hearing from our guests to "les Pelerins" that they feel they are spending time in their own home in Provence. To be a part of village life, Sablet is the perfect place. "Les Pelerins" dates back to the time when the Popes administered the Catholic Church from Avignon, with a Papal Vice-Legat having a residence right here in Sablet. Our neighbor's home was the Vice-Legat's residence. Ours was one of the buildings that housed visitors and pilgrims and was connected to it, as we can see from the internal portals, and the front door of Maison des Pelerins. Hence the name - Pelerins is French for pilgrims. I hope this Blog will help you get to know Provence and live your Provencal Dream.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Christmas Markets of Provence Open this Weekend!

For many days now,  in most of the smaller & larger  towns and cities in Provence, 
log cabins have been appearing.  
Artisan sellers have moved in with everything from Regional candies and toys
to hand made quilts, sweaters, hats and santons! 
Everything Christmas is here including a great Christmas ambiance.  What fun! 
If you are travelling in the area at Christmas, with or without children  
the Christmas Markets of Provence are a must. 

 Christmas Markets of Provence - Avignon - Let's go Shopping!

The towns are decorated with lots of lights, signs wishing, "Joyeuse Fetes" and "Joyeux Noel"  (happy Christmas and happy holidays).
The markets will be open every day and late into the evening, until January 2nd 2011.

Children’s events and activities, concerts, processions, street performers, warm mulled wine, hot apple cider, hot chocolate, warm roasted chestnuts and spice bread -
all treats that make Christmas shopping  relaxing, fun and a lot less stressful.


Avignon Hotel de Ville - City
Hall - dressed up in its Christmas finest

 Christmas Markets of Provence - Avignon
- Street Performers add to the festive ambiance

Christmas Markets of Provence - Avignon - Carousel in the Place de l'Horloge
Only thirty minutes drive from Sablet, Avignon’s Christmas Market is one of my favorites – held on the beautiful Place de l’Horloge in front of the stately City Hall which is dressed up for the occasion in its Christmas finest.  You can take a leisurely stroll through the fifty something stalls, stop and talk to Père Noel (Santa), ride the magnificent Carousel and enjoy the ambience whilst purchasing goodies for your Christmas feast or souvenirs to bring home.

Christmas Markets of Provence - Avignon - baked goods and candies

Christmas Markets of Provence - Avignon - Artisnal Cheeses

Christmas Markets of Provence - Avignon - Pain d'Epices (Spice Cake)

  You will treated to all kinds for food choices – regional products,  home made jams, jellies and preserves, an unbelievable variety of artisanal cheeses, baked goodies – especially the incredible Pain d’Epices (Spice  Cake), handmade chocolates, several varieties of nougat, preserved meats and saucisson (salami) of all shapes and sizes. 
As you enter the market, the smell of the warm roasted chestnuts can't be missed
 -  and is the favorite “walking around “ food,
although........  all food stall holders are very ready to let you sample
and they love to hear your opinion!

Avignon Christmas Market - Roasted Chestnuts - the aroma draws you to this stand

A number of Santonniers display their figurines (Santons),  which make up the Provencal Christmas Créche.  At Avignon Christmas Market you can stroll down the “Chemin des Crèches” (Nativity Road).  This is a very pleasant and pretty walk through the lighted Nativity
 displays composed of a variety of styles of Santons.

Avignon Christmas Market - Displays of Santons

Avignon Christmas Market - Santonnier

Avignon Christmas Market - "Chemin des Creches "

The Nativity ("Creche"), is an important decortion in Provence, as according to legend, Jesus was born in Provence and each Creche represents the particular village at the time of his birth.  In addition to the usual figurines you would see in a Nativity, Provencal Santonniers carve additional figures of characters you would normally see in the village - the baker, the butcher the grocer, the wood cutter and many others.

Avignon Christmas Market - Pere Noel (Santa)  in his workshop

 Aix-en-Provence Christmas Market

 In Aix-en-Provence the elegant Cours Mirabeau is lined on both sides with log cabin market stalls. The spectacular display of Christmas lights on this beautiful boulevard adds to the festive atmosphere as shopping continues well into the evening

Orange Christmas Market

In Orange  .... the Christmas Market features items made by local Artisans

If you've been just wishing to escape the frenzy of Christmas at the Mall
- the Christmas Markets of Provence provide the best antidote.

See you by the Hot Chestnuts stand!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Windows in Our Village of Sablet

"My windows look our over a tiny town........... I have a bouquet on the windowsill and a counter covered with tangerines, plums, tomatoes and every kind of apple ........ a young woman may be sitting for a small portrait.

                             ..... David Oleski .....

I found this quote, and I thought of our tiny town or Village of Sablet ....... it reminded me of our windows, that look out over the rooftops of the village houses all huddled together, the vineyards and the Dentelles de Montmirail..... it reminded me of the views on a misty morning...........
....... of the brilliantly colored rainbows that I see from our kitchen window at Masion des Pelerins after one of our brief but spectacular thunderstorms ..........
        ...... of the pretty windows dressed up with white louvered shutters,
looking out over the Village Square.......

........it reminded me of the variety of windows that you see walking around Sablet ..... there are many different styles but ..... they all have a character and charm of their own. 

Let's take a peek at the windows of Sablet............

A Roman Arch frames a a window of the twelveth century Church of St Nazaire.....
 it has looked out over the village from its perch for around  900 years........

Very Small Windows in a very big wall that surrounds the old village....... the tiny windows were used for  for "look  outs" over le Plan de Dieu for any "unwelcome guests' and just big enough to do their job, but not let any artillery from opposing armies through...... that also served a dual purpose of being large enough to let light in, yet small enough to protect from the Mistral.

 Shuttered Windows ............

Some with fancy shutters...... and some .... not quite so fancy .......
                                                                      some modern .... some ancient ......

   Inviting windows ..........   

                                                                       ........... that say, "come in and join the fun!"

Sophisticated Windows ...... of what once may have been a Maison bourgoise ...... 

                       Or this "window" - is actually one of my favorite doors in the village ...... 
........imaginative and pretty ...... a trompe d'oeil on the door
.... of windows looking out on the vineyards and fields of Provence!


 Our Windows in Sablet continue with more beautiful pictures that our wonderful guests at "les Pelerins,"  Dave and  Mary Condeff just sent me.  Dave took these on a recent trip to Sablet. 
Merci beaucoup for sharing Dave and Mary! I just love seeing great pics like these from our guests....

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tour de Sablet AKA Relais Americain

 I'm afraid it isn't a picture of our Tour of Sablet ...but ....doesn't it say everything about 
Bicycling and Provence?  

This is a picture of a picture that hangs in Maison des Pelerins our vacation rental home in Sablet.  Bike riding is a favorite past time of many, many visitors to Provence each year and it is quite a common site to see riders where ever you visit when in Provence.

A few weeks ago on a Sunday morning, the village of Roaix invited all future cycling champions to join them in the Roaixois VTT - a bike race on a 10kilometer circuit in and around the village. Although bicyclists on "les Velos Tout Terrain" (mountain bikes), are not an uncommon sight in any part of Provence, and this is certainly true of Sablet in early August, especially when the village hosts its own VTT race called the Relais Americain.
So .... move over Lance Armstrong, our future Tour de France riders are on their way!

 On a warm Sunday afternoon at the beginning of August, the teams line up at the Place de la Croix and wait for the signal to start.

As the race starts, and the riders head out around the village, beginning the race on the Rue des Barrys - past the Fountain and up to Grande Rue, then climbing the steep Rue de l'Eglise. 

Along the narrow passage between very old village houses to the front of the Eglise St. Nazaire.........

........ then down a stairway of approximately twenty-five steps that connect Place de l'Eglise back to Grande Rue!   Back out through the Petit Portail (which connects Grande Rue to the Boulevard des Remparts and the main square, then a tour of  the (Boulevard des Remparts (the road that follows the Remparts) and out into the newer part of the village - riding through every neighborhood.

In every part of the village, from the beginning to the end, in the smallest of Ruelles and the main village square, Sabletains and visitors gather to cheer on the riders.  The race directors and commentator are right there bringing everyone the most up to the minute information.  You will see many "voisins" (neighbors), set up chairs and tables in front of their houses to enjoy the race with a cool drink,  as do the many patrons of the Cafe des Sports in the village square.  It folds in beautifully as one of the daytime activities that take place during the five day long Fete Votive, and gets everyone involved - whether you are a bike riding enthusiast or not!

The video below shows a little bit of the race and some of the hurdles that the riders face - with great fun and good spirit - the spectators are always helpful with their encouraging cheers of, "allez! allez! allez!"

Sunday, November 6, 2011

If It's July ...... Avignon's Theatre Festival is the place to be!

Was that a cross between Big Bird and a Giraffe in a skirt in the road?

Did it have anything to do with all the TV cameras and reporters who were at the Avignon TGV Station when we arrived?

                   Like to run into these guys in a dark alley?      Performers from the "Off" Festival entice shoppers to attend their show

In July, the Town of Avignon feels like an artsy Disneyland with a good humored and fun filled atmosphere.  Every inch of available space on bus shelters, buildings and canopies are covered with colorful "affiches" (posters), advertising all types of theater activity. Restaurants and Cafes bustle with actors stopping for a quick break or theater goers on their way from one stage to the next..  During a three week period, almost one thousand shows are performed!

Zebra in fluffy slippers?

The Avignon Festival, that first started back in 1947 when French actor, Jean Vilar was invited to perform at the Palais du Papes (Papal Palace).  From its beginning at that time, the Avignon Theater Festival set the stage as a showcase for lesser known plays and modern scripts. It is a venue that encourages creativity and an experimental approach to theater and concerts.

"Concert sans ski"?

The Festival has grown into two festivals in one - the "In" and the "Off".  The "In" is organized by a non  profit organization and administered by a French national and regional government board of trustees.  The performances of the "In" Festival are still at the Palais du Papes and other theaters throughout Avignon.

Ladies of the Choir?   I think they're up to something!

The "Off" Festival is also organized by a non profit organization, made up largely of theater companies.  The performances take place in theater schools or any available space around the town.

During the Festival,  Avignon becomes the center of French theater activity and plays host to many well known French and foreign performers. If you would like to visit the Festival on your next summer visit to Provence,  it is prudent to book accommodation well in advance as this is a very popular venue.