Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Bits of peace in Uzes




Do you have friends that you know you are incapable of having just a quick visit with and basta cosi? Our friends in Nimes are of that sort. Actually, one of the very first of our meetings was the (in)famous ten hour day to night "lunch" (do not click on the link if you are hungry, be warned). Similarly, they were the instigators of The Wine Tree Incident, one of the most joyful, only in Provence type days I have had in the seven years of being in this incredible region.

So I knew that I was in good hands on Saturday night. I could trust them to take me as I was and not have to cancel the repas de Noêl that we had planned. A raclette had been promised and oh my it was delivered. The Muscat flowed like a river. Focusing on constructing each bite of just melted cheese with the right amount of smoked ham and potatoes distracted me and the conversation bubbled around me. They did not bring up the recent events, for which I was deeply grateful. The raspberry sorbet buche glacée de Noêl that I had brought was served after we had finally each hit our own moment of "Assez!" We had decided to stay over in advance--with Ben in tow--and at some point after the three AM mark, I excused myself and tottered off down the hall as tango music quietly echoed through their cavernous apartment.

After such a long evening, I would have been surprised if anyone else had brightly proposed that we spend Sunday together as well but not our dear friends. I suggested a visit to Uzes, one of my very favorite villages in the South of France, most especially at Christmas time when it takes on a special glow, one largely free of the rampage of tourists that block its cobble-stone streets in summer. The weather was so kind to us that we could sit outside under the arcade of the Place aux Herbes at a...burger joint. Yes, it was not as if we hadn't eaten enough the evening before (as we all kept joking to each other impishly). I was, of course, the only person at the table to actually eat the burger with my hands instead of knife and forks manipulated with delicate precision. Afterwards, we did need to stroll as long as our legs could carry us. And I wanted to share the beauty that surrounded us, so for a first, I am presenting the photos that I took...with my iphone. Sigh. Not the same but hopefully it will do the job. Sending thoughts of peace out over and over again, even if it is just a tiny moment of it like my friends and loved ones offered me with patience and understanding. I wanted you to feel it too.















31 comments:

  1. These little villages that you show us are like hidden gems. So glad you're sharing them with us. I was under the mistaken impression that most of France looked like Paris (not that there is anything wrong with Paris, of course) but these little villages remind me a lot of Italy.

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    1. Loree, there is a huge Mediterranean influence in the South of France because parts of it were Italian until not so long ago relatively speaking. And of course, their influence has been enormous since the Roman times. But all of France is so varied, it is one of the aspects that make it such a beautiful country! I love to take the high speed train down from Paris as it is like passing through several different countries in a matter of hours.

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  2. Gorgeous! We have booked a house in Uzes for 3 months next year.....it will be such a departure from Hobart and we are all getting v excited.....except for our children who will be subjected to a term at the local school! Have a wonderful Christmas.....your celebrations sound grand! Rx

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    1. Wow, Romy. You are in for one amazing adventure, children included!! It is beyond beautiful and there are excellent restaurants and shops (yes fancier than the burger joint! :). Not sure if you can get Cote Sud at any of your international press shops in Hobart, but the current December/January issue has a large article on Uzes with tons of suggestions.

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    2. That was my utter fave magazine last time we were in France....not much chance of finding it in way down here on the teensy tiny island of Tasmania, though! Might have to ask a friend in Beziers to get me a copy. Must say have been spending a lot of time daydreaming about Uzes, have only been there twice before on day trips yet really fell in love with it....and my children with the Haribo factory! So looking forward to it....here's to adventure, I say! Rx

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    3. Absolutely! And it will be on the newsstand until the end of January, so I would really ask your friend to pick it up! If you miss it, I will xerox it and mail it to you when you get here. It is super helpful and full of the best addresses for everything.
      And it has the same effect on us too--every single time we visit we want to move there!!! Very different from rough and tumble Arles...

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  3. Beautiful stonework and muted, washed colours. And of course, your handsome happy friend, Ben, ever faithfully smiling up at you adoringly! Our four legged friends can be relied upon to give us joy, when other stuff in the world can indicate otherwise. Nice to hear you having a happy time with your friends! That's what it's about! Cheers, Deborah from Melbourne

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    1. Isn't it true Deborah? Ben has definitely known that something isn't right with me too. I promise you, he has been following me around and pulliing out all of his silliest tricks to make me smile. Love him!

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  4. Heather I always love seeing the wonderful towns and villages in your area!
    The last image looks just like a painting!

    Love and Hugs
    Karena
    Art by Karena


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    1. Thank you! Yay! Lets hear it for the iphone! :)
      xo!

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  5. Hi Heather
    As the saying goes: "the party happened". I can just see you tottering down the hall to the beat of tango. How wonderful to have such friends and never a dull moment. The next day at Uzes must have been most enjoyable. Seeing Ben sit there, I could not help but wonder what Ben would write about the whole adventure. Hee Hee.

    Helen xx

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    1. Oh my, he would definitely think "They are so crazy, my humans." We don't get to see our friends very often, so we try to make the most of it when we can.
      Biiiisooouus!

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  6. Gorgeous pics. Sounds like an amazing time was had by all!

    ~ Clare x

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    1. Um well we weren't in FIJI or anything but it was fun...Heehee.

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  7. Sounds like a great couple of days, and the pictures are fantastic! This proves that it's not so much the camera but the eye behind it.
    It's so good to disconnect a little from eveyrhing that's going on, and you have plenty of beautiful places to do so.
    Happy Holidays Heather!
    Sylvia S

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    1. Thank you Sylvia!! And thanks for your understanding too. Yes, it was a total disconnect but it was what needed to happen right then. My friends provided a respectful distraction during a very tough time.
      Wishing you a very, very Happy Holidays too!

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  8. I love the stone archway. Why can't we build things like that any more? Peace, love and hamburgers to you and yours.. xo

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    1. Peace, love and...hey, wait a...!...Umm...

      Peace, love and cepe-filled handmade tortellinis to you and Jim!

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  9. It's so utterly romantic there, the wrought iron juxtaposed against the azure blue sky is so beautiful.
    I clicked that link above - excellent repast!

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    1. Merci, Tabitha! Ah, we do like to eat. And actually, if ever there was a small French village that could be up for your elegant self then Uzes just might be it!

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  10. stunning. thanks for sharing such a beautiful place.

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    1. Happy to, Sue J, we all can use a bit of a mental change of pace these days...

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  11. Thanks for this beautiful respite, Heather. I am always so taken with the little details that you capture --like those little chalk figures. And that landscape near the end of your post: like the best oil painting ever!

    xo Judith

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    1. I am so glad you liked that little guy--even the graffitti is elelgant in Uzes!!

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  12. Oooo - Uzes looks festive; the burger, tasty; Ben, happy to be along; and your pics, an advertisement for iPhone's camera!! I can't believe how good those are - it shows what a photographer you've become; your eye is awesome! Looks wonderful and the perfect holiday treat and respite.

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    1. Sister! I wanted us to go there SO badly!!! I guess you will just have to come back...:)

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  13. Heather, instead of waxing lyrical about your beautiful pictures of Uzes, I may just pack my bags and move to the South of France.

    XO
    Amelia

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  14. wow am i happy you found me! we want to rent a house in provence next summer..we have 4 children..any towns you recommend more than others? looking forward to following you!

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  15. Every time I see a photo of Ben, he looks like such a sweet, happy boy, and it makes me smile :)
    Now onto the important bit... Le Raclette, isn't it one of the absolute best parts of life here?! "It's winter so that means we have to melt cheese and eat like there's no tomorrow". It's fantastic. x.

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  16. Love love love Uzes, but it is getting so crowded in the summer that it is a bit of a bummer. I was able to spend some time there in the winter a few years ago...pure heaven. Wishing I were there now!!!

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