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.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

À vos marques... Prêts ? ... SHOPPING!

I'm ready ...

... Otherwise known as "Ready? ... Set? ...  SHOP!"

On January 9th, the Winter SOLDES (Sales) begin in Provence!  Time for everyone to get out and SHOP!

They're coming ....
Sales in France are regulated by the State and happen twice a year ... once in the Winter, just after New Year (just in case you have any money left after Christmas, that is burning a hole in your wallet), and again in the Summer.  They will last for six weeks and you can find lots and lots of bargains.  Yes, there are great bargains and the shops are packed, but it's all good fun - just make sure you bring lots of money and big suitcases if you are planning to be in France during "Les SOLDES". 

Ready ... Set ... SHOP!
Jammed Parking Lots and crowded Stores all add to the atmosphere of the Sales
Just in case you missed it from the ground ... this Store making sure you know the SOLDES are on!
Someone having a Sale? 
Speaking with a friend in Sablet last week, she told me that she and a friend were getting together and would be at the Centre Commercial in North Avignon (le Pontet) bright and early on Wednesday morning - planning to SHOP the day away!

This year the Winter SOLDES begin on January 9th and end on February 12th. The Summer SOLDES begin stretch from June 29th to July 30th.

Shop till you drop!  Shopping is such hard work!
The pictures are a few images of stores and this year's advertising - there's going to be lot's of shopping fun. 

"Rien ne vaut une bonne virée shopping pour se remonter le moral !"  "There's nothing like a good SHOP to cheer yourself up!"

Friday, January 4, 2013

On the 12th Day of Christmas - It's La Fête des Rois

As I spent a part of New year's Day dismantling the Christmas Trees, I was reminded that if I were in Provence, we would be only a part of the way through the Christmas season, and an array of colored lights could still be seen twinkling in the windows as you walk down the narrow streets of Sablet.  

Lights twinkle in the Dining Room window of Maison des Pelerins at Christmas time

Decorated windows of a  village house in Seguret
La Fete des Rois or Three Kings Feast is a very popular part of the Christmas celebration
The seasonal celebrations continue until the Feast of the Three Kings (the Epiphany) or La Fête des Rois on the 6th of January, but the signs of this day can be seen well before the day.  Even before Christmas, you will see the traditional cake the "Galette des Rois" wearing golden crowns, decorating the windows of Pâtisseries everywhere.

Galette des Rois - this type made with puff pastry and Frangipane - a popular dessert ingredient in France
The Galettes themselves take two different forms that I have seen - the first is made from two layers of puff pastry, somewhat like a pie, but not cooked in a tin with a filling of "frangipane" - a mixture made from almonds/almond paste and a very popular ingredient in many dessert recipes. 

These Galettes are made as a crown shaped Brioche decorated with Baker's sugar and Confit Fruits
The second, is a large crown shaped brioche, often sugar sprinkled and decorated with confit fruits.  Families in France celebrate this tradition with family and friends enjoying the fun of "who will be the King and Queen" for the day.  

Crowns are an important part of the celebrations of the Fete des Rois
During the Christmas seasons we've spent in Provence, we've enjoyed being a part of the celebrations at our neighbor's house.  We, along with other friends, gather at around 4pm for Galette and Vin Doux, a popular local sweet wine.  Usually our hostess has both types of Galettes, but most important no matter which type of galette is your favorite, is who will find the féve?  What is a féve?  A féve is actually a small type of bean - but most commonly used in the galette (it can be sometimes replaced by a small procelain Baby Jesus), it plays an important role in the day's festivities.  

The person who finds the féve in their piece of galette becomes the King and gets to choose the Queen or vice versa. Each galette, when purchased comes with two crowns and in our case, since our hostess had three galettes, we hobnobbed with quite a lot of Royalty at that party!

If you would like to celebrate along with our friends in France, here is a recipe for the Galette that you may wish to try.  Don't forget to place a small (dried) bean somewhere in the galette so you will be able to find the King or Queen of your party!

La Galette des Rois - made with Puff Pastry & Frangipane
  • 2 sheets of ready-made puff pastry
  • 2 rounded tbsp apricot jam
  • 1/2 cup softened butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 lightly beaten egg
  • 1/2 cup ground almonds
  • 2 tbsp cognac or dark rum 
  1. Heat the oven to 400 deg.
  2. Divide the ready-made puff pastry in half, roll out each piece and cut into a 10 inch round. Put one round on a baking sheet and spread with the apricot jam to within 1 inch of the edges. 
  3. Frangipane - Beat together the softened butter and caster sugar until light and fluffy, then beat in the egg. Stir in the ground almonds and cognac or dark rum.  
  4. Spoon the mixture over the jam, spreading it evenly. Brush the edges of the pastry with water, then cover with the second piece, pressing the edges to seal. Mark the top of the pastry from the center to the edges like the spokes of a wheel or in a zig zag pattern, then brush with beaten egg.
  5. Bake for 25-30 mins until crisp and golden. Serve warm or cold.
                                               Bon Apetit and Bonne Fête!