Wednesday, September 13, 2023

What we ate in Villeneuve-les-Avignon


Working backwards, sketching on the TGV train heading back to Paris at 10:04 am

Leaving Villeneuve-les-Avignon  far behind us

The town was the resort of French cardinals 
during the sojourn of the popes at Avignon in the 14th century. It reeks of medieval history, crenelated walls & knights in shining armor etc.

Of equal importance, our last breakfast at HOTEL DE L’ATELIER.

My last breakfast - local chèvre/goat cheese, pruneau d’Agen, Provençal dried apricots. Always a hard-boiled egg. Not shown plain yogurt (inside my pocket for the train ride, along with the d’oeuf 🥚)

My room/l’atelier at Hotel l’Atelier

desk is an essential feature where ever I stay - a place of calm, order & serenity.

Unlike my chaotic workspace in Paris. (And this is a neatened-up version)

I always start off warming up

Making basic warm & cool paint swatches t
o reflect the color palette 🎨 of a place. 

My head is still back in Roussillon. Eventually moving on to full sketches.

I had a sweet petit patio, but it was too bloomin’ hot 🥵 (30-32 degrees) to paint outside. 

Perhaps if I’d had someone to fan me…Hotel de l’Atelier is a dreamy little place. 

I was
Shannon’s guest at the hotel last year giving watercolor demos during her Chocolate Retreat

This time I was PBer Carolyn’s guest (recovering from her luxury week in Saint Remy overeating).

giving her watercolor leçons.

But mostly we went foraging for heirloom tomatoes 🍅 

The French call these ‘Tomates oubliée’/forgotten tomatoes. 
We had them our first night at Aubergine 🍆 in the square.

And the next day at  Maison Bronzinifor lunch.

Which reminded me of my heirloom tomato 🍅 letter 💌

The fresh tomatoes above are from a small vegetable store in Roussillon, Le Petit Charreton, where I bought apricot jam (fait par la grand-mere), some amandes nature and a pêche 🍑 de vigne (grown in the vineyards so deep red inside).

Not to forget the gorgeous salad of fresh figs, chèvre and jambon I had at La Petite École in god-forsaken La Chène, near Gargus (when the bus did not show up because it was Saturday 😬). 

The owner is both the chef & waiter and everything else. He is reliant on word-of-mouth. He refuses to do instagram etc. No time I guess. 

I forgot to shoot my yummy melanzane 🍆 Everything was so delicious 🥰 PLEASE rent a car 🚗 and go…or miss the 915 bus. I think I did more eating than painting this 4-day trip 🙄 

Does that happen to you? 
Food in Provence IS Fabulous!

Back in rainy Paris, parents are waiting to pick up their kids at school.
If you'd like to receive Parisbreakfast letters, maps & watercolors in your mailbox, look in my shop.
The view out my window 🪟 🙄


  1. Anonymous6:22 AM

    Oh Carol, so funny…always running and eating 😂 Barbara Zucker

    1. Anonymous6:33 AM

      Yes, the story of my life ❤️

  2. Looks like a great time…sun, painting, and food! 🗼❤️

  3. Anonymous7:14 AM

    Still hooked on your couleurs de Roussillon, your swatching, your palette boxes, and your notebook sketching. So much light shines through your paintings, as though from within. It's easy (when in New England) to forget that from Paris so, so many varied French cultures and geographies are within a relatively short travel distance. -k.

    1. Anonymous9:05 AM

      Thank you ❤️
      I agree
      I need to travel more often around France 🇫🇷

  4. Anonymous7:20 AM

    I'll check later, but do you sell your swatches, Carol? They're beautiful.

    1. Anonymous9:04 AM

      I never thought about it..
      Of course 👍
      Maybe a group of them ?

  5. Bonnie L7:28 AM

    Looks like a fabulous trip. Your meals look perfectly paired to the warm Provençal weather. Loving your watercolors! ❤️

    1. Anonymous1:46 PM

      Thanks Bonnie ❤️
      I hope you get to go. Everything has more color & flavor in Provance.

  6. Food styling that reveals a country's culture on a plate. Merci.

  7. There's a whole lotta swooning going on over here as I read this. Your palette colors -- big swoon. Another for the breakfast, the hotel and your wonderful paintings. Biggest sigh!

  8. Anonymous9:32 AM

    Love it all, and at the end of all that gorgeous color the Paris roof scene in grays. Love it!!🙏🏻

    1. Anonymous12:57 PM

      Yes, Paris is all about subtle shades of gray.
      Provence = bright COLOR !

  9. How fun you went with Carolyn and gave her art lessons.Gosh I love your palettes..Every single one I see..Works of art to me.Money pics lol.I LOVED the food in Provence.I LOVE PROVENCE :)

    1. Anonymous12:56 PM

      I absolutely understand why Monique ❤️

  10. Anonymous10:07 AM

    I love heirloom tomatoes and have decided to avoid, if possible, others which is hard depending on the season. The plate of various colors with small greens and light dressing is heaven! Here's to freshest ingredients in lovely places and thank you.

    1. Anonymous12:55 PM

      I must admit I’m new to appreciating heirloom tomates 🍅
      And its the end of Summer!

  11. The color palettes and exercises are so interesting and quite fascinating to me, being someone who knows nothing on how to paint. As I adore all your posts, I can't help wondering if you ever feel sorry for all of us back in the USA with our boring meals that can't begin to measure up. All lovely to dream about.

    1. Anonymous12:53 PM

      Hmm…well a lot of US chains have opened here & are successful 🤔
      There is much innovation going on in the US - especially appreciation of ethnic foods (via the late Jonathan Gold of LA Times)
      It’s very regional here. Best to eat scallops in Brittany, apricots in Provence.
      And the seasonality of it. Strawberries in winter are frowned upon
      I ❤️ that aspect of French cuisine.

    2. Anonymous12:54 PM

      Color palettes and taste palates are not that different - it’s about awareness.
      Seeing & tasting are vital to existance.

  12. Anonymous12:47 PM

    The comments are illuminating & inspiring for me too ❤️

  13. Anonymous1:00 PM

    Beautiful Walls of Roussillon and Villeneuve….!!! Lois Flowers

  14. Katherine1:54 PM

    Lovely post! Your ham/fig sandwich with mini salad looks delish. the final shot from your apartment window? Love the colors of the overcast day.

    1. Anonymous10:28 PM

      Yes it is my window view
      Classic for a chambre de bonne (maid’s room) ❤️

  15. Anonymous2:16 PM

    Are those knobs in the upper left of the Le Petit Charreton photo real TRUFFLES?

    1. Anonymous2:17 PM

      GEEZ.....upper right.

    2. Anonymous10:27 PM

      🥰 Another dyslexic 👏
      Summer Truffles they call them in Provence ❤️

  16. Anonymous4:45 PM

    Love your bus not showing up because it was Saturday. Lol. LC

    1. Anonymous4:47 PM

      It was more like the online bus schedule didn’t indicate which were the Weekend buses = big confusion

  17. Anonymous4:48 PM

    The tomatoes are gorgeous and the salads look devine. I will have to make one for myself. Lynne

  18. Anonymous3:14 AM

    Such a great post, Carol. La Provence is a lovely place to stay, visit, eat and paint. The dishes are fabulous, your room at the hotel with that personal chaos plus the colorful tote us very much your own trademark and adds pizzazz to your place.

    1. Anonymous3:38 AM

      I love your comment re: my ‘personal chaos’ ❤️
      The wonderful stripey bag is from Provence company, LES TOILES DU SOLEIL. They have a shop on rue du bac in Paris with dreamy things pas trop cher.

  19. Adrien Bray6:15 AM

    I'm so impressed at you being able to carry yogurt & an egg dans sa poche!! 🤣

    1. Anonymous9:23 AM

      Thank you Adrien ❤️
      I will soon be offering exclusively a workshop on ‘Travel Snacks’ 👍

    2. Anonymous1:44 PM

      PS French yogurt cups are about 1/2 the size of US

  20. Anonymous7:27 AM

    I enjoyed (as always) reading your travelogue. Thank you for mentioning our cooking retreat, too. We had such fun on that trip and there was so much to do. Villeneuve is a village dear to our heart. I hope you were able to visit the St. André jardin. Bisous, Shannon & Wlady de La Châtelaine Chocolat Co.

    1. Anonymous9:24 AM

      THANK YOU Shannon & Vladi,
      For introducing me to your adorable Villeneuve

  21. Anonymous1:55 AM

    I love those tomatoes

  22. What beautiful tomatoes!!! Boiled eggs for breakfast or a snack are great (I just ate 2, off to work on a Saturday so need the extra fuel).


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