Thursday, July 28, 2011


Vide or empty. I couldn't resist one final post about the apartment on the rue Truchet as I found the structure of it so interesting once all of our things were gone. In the kitchen, the Baccarat goblets were nearly forgotten in a top cupboard, retrieved at the last moment. The floors were scrubbed, the marble polished. The glass floor of the cellar swiped clean so as better to admire the Roman ruins one last time. The wooden doors and baseboards washed with savon noir du Marseille. And then, amidst a soft summer rain, the keys were handed over to the real estate agent and the door was locked.

Vide or empty also describes how I have felt the past few days. Caught up in sentimentality and waves of emotion. Neither here nor there in time nor space. Remi and I realized that we had worked non-stop--and I am talking about very physical activity--for one month between renovating our new apartment and leaving the old. My hands ache and are scarred with nicks. But I am not complaining. Sometimes we have to push hard against the present to open the next door. And open it is.

I am sitting at the Bistrot Arlesien as I type in a rounded wicker chair. Filling myself back up with two café crèmes (two!) while finally attacking the long backlog of emails and blogs from friends who never cease to inspire me. This simple, every day French act is something that I never did while living at the rue Truchet. Not one time! Why would I when I had my lovely garden to hide in? And yet it feels absolutely fantastic to be a part of this haphazard mix of tourists and locals (an elderly pair of farmers are rattling on behind me: "All of these American tourists can go...themselves!"-- I wanted to remind them the income from tourism makes up 70% of the town's income but another time). So this is something that I will do now. Remi and I are aware that our very elegant former apartment was quite isolated despite being in the heart of town and that its massive wooded beams and stone floors carry a psychological weight as well. 

Empty then but light as air and floating in the light of the new. 


  1. Somehow this post makes me very sad! Isn't it strange how hard change is? I'm reading about how our happiness is dependent on embracing the fact that change is inevitable, but still we fight it (I certainly do). I hope the potential of your new place is making you happy right now; can't wait to see pics of how it is shaping up!

  2. One more reason to be excited about your new location. Between the extra light and being out and about a bit more, you never know, you might gain a fresh new perspective on things!! Wishing you a wonderful and hopefully relaxing (at least for a bit) weekend!!

  3. What a strangely lovely and evocative posting. Thank you, Ms. Robinson.

    I read your blog precisely because it IS such a very different beast from the predictable female-expatriate's blog....."I restored an old house while casually tossing-off a few novels,and then I spontaneously slipped into the genuine Schiaperelli cocktail dress I'd found one morning in the most-delightful second-hand store on a little street I'd discovered, and then I accidentally stumbled upon the MOST charming, secret little cafe, where I made friends with the most amazingly GENUINE locals (actually, they all rushed to make friends with ME), and then I found my desirable self dancing with a handsome, tiger-eyed stranger who, it turns out, was my new plumber!....Life in Europe is just so wonderfully....EUROPEAN!!!!"

    Quite frankly? I assume there are plenty of mornings when even Frances Mayes herself (she lives about ten miles from my front porch, surprisingly enough) wakes up feeling a bit dissatisfied with being Frances Mayes every damn day of her entire life. We all feel that way about ourselves from time to time, of course. Her situation must be particularly unsettling, though, given that there seem to be about 100,000 women out there who are busily blogging their attempts at being her.

    Well, thanks for the very fine and original posting.

    We should be going through Arles sometime during September, and I'll write beforehand. We'd like to see Remi's photographs (two in particular), and I appologize for not having yet responded to your kind response to my original inquiry about the works.

    Quite sincerely,

    David Terry

  4. Beautiful that you took the time to turn around and comes the next chapter!

  5. Thank you so much friends!

    Sister, I am just sad that you didn't get to see it. Buuut, I can't wait for you to be here in Provence with us again--no matter where we are!

    Stacey, I know new perspective is part of the bargain and I will embrace it fully. I could certainly use a sprinkling of your glamour right about now though! Wishing you a lovely weekend as well. We are going slowly now, so it is truly fine--and we have friends coming over for drinks in an hour and they are bringing a bottle of champers! Whoohoo!

    Mr. Terry, again I am so grateful that you are you and that you enjoy visiting. I appreciate so much that you see that life isn't always 'en rose' (although often en rosé) just because we live in Provence. The necessity of this move is proof of that. I don't want to ever gild the lily because the beautiful things speak for themselves and the everyday things just go on. I will heartily look forward to meeting you both.

    Oh thank you, Elizabeth! I agree!

  6. I love the way you write. You make me feel as if I were there with you!! "amidst a soft summer rain, the keys were handed over to the real estate agent and the door was locked."
    Oh, how heavy my heart felt when I had to hand the keys over to the real estate when we moved out of our light-filled apartment in May.... I feel a little sad again thinking about it...

    ~ Clare x

  7. 'Tis always a bit sad to close a chapter... it is good to say a proper goodbye I believe as you leave behind a part of yourself to leave room for a new part....ah but what is next?!!

  8. Oh Clare, thank you for the lovely compliment!! But please don't be sad--instead hoping that you have had a wonderful weekend. :)

    And Heather, I so agree with you and have no clue as to what is next! Even my clothes look wierd and scrappy to me since the move. Change is good!


Your responses are what makes this blog so special to me. I love hearing from you. Thank you for visiting!

* Comments left on posts two days after publication or more will be published after moderation. So not to worry, they will arrive and again, I appreciate them all so very much...Merci! *

If you prefer, feel free to email me directly at robinsonheather (at)