20 Jun 2016

Familiarity And Rediscovery

Familiarity and Rediscovery in Provence on vickiarcher.com

Familiarity and rediscovery go together.
The familiar despite our best intentions can be taken for granted.

We never mean to neglect and most of the time we don’t even realise it is happening.

Taking something or someone for granted is a non-intentional dismissal.

Sometimes, not all the time but occasionally, I take Provence for granted.

It’s not a question of being spoilt or complacent and nor is it deliberate. What is right in front of us can blur and blend until we don’t see the reality anymore.

Provence is a region blessed with physical beauty, with history and with a lifestyle envied the world over; Provence has a habit of pulling the wool over the eyes and seducing in the subtlest way.

It seems unimaginable to “miss” the unique qualities of such a blessed region and unthinkable to be so contented the individual qualities that set Provence apart can be ignored. It happens.

It happens because life can be un-real in Provence.

These past few days I have tried to look at Provence with fresh eyes and with a clear mind; to remember why I fell in love with Provence. I asked myself do those reasons still stand? What is it now, all these years later, I find so compelling?

Everything is different, yet nothing has changed.

I re-opened my eyes and re-tuned my focus. Provence has changed in many ways since my first trip in 1995 but not in others. Progress has not escaped Provence and yet the reasons I love her are still so evident.

Simply, Provence is an assault on the senses. Provence makes you feel truly alive from the very first glance. The light, the sounds, the physical beauty and the scents; the scents are what truly set Provence apart. Intense and magnified, Provence is a place to discover the essence of nature, the elements and to re-connect with the simple.

And the simple is the richest of all.

I lose sight of the simple in every day life; big cities can do that to you. It’s easy to take for granted, to become overly familiar and even jaded in a “big” life.

The art is to nurture the familiar and at the same time treat her like a new best friend. Familiarity and rediscovery make for a happy pair. xv


be transported to provence with this one, i’m sure you remember it.

image, garden roses from home photographed by carla coulson

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Taste of France

You are so right. There have been times when my life has involved amazing places–a view of the Statue of Liberty, driving home in a black car over the sparkling Brooklyn Bridge. A loo with a view of Mount Kenya. Those movie-style moments never ceased to be special. But what became more familiar was daily life with its more mundane marvels. Maybe less glamorous, but more meaningful. We get used to them and forget that they are little miracles. Yet, I do often think how magical it is to live in the south of France and how privileged I am to take part in its lifestyle.


Every day life is the one we dismiss indirectly but you are so right… that’s where the little miracles are :)

Anita Rivera

You are SO articulate dearest Vicki. Provence is exactly that for me: an “assault” on our senses. The first time I flew from England to Nice, France, I remember looking out the window of the airplane, seeing the pinkest hue of the rocky mountain region and thinking, “I could die here.” The textures from that height were enough to move my emotions. Once I set foot on French soil, every sense was opened and filled with the perfume of the hills, the restaurants, the language, the people. Unlike my native California, my adult playground BOSTON, and my home in Minnesota, this French scene punctuated every memory to this day.

P.S…those roses in the photo here…..OUTSTANDING! Bisous bisous, Anita


So true, I recently moved from Australia to the south of France, and sometimes the challenges overshadow the amazing priviledge I have to live here, thank you for reminding me. Provence is breathtaking.


I love it when you write posts such as this one dear Vicki – right from your heart and without anything fashionable! You do of course write great fashion/beauty posts too, but I love this post because it reminds me more of your fabulous books, and how I ‘found you’, and which always remain at hand on the table or in the armoire to be looked at, or shared with friends who, unlike me, have yet to visit gorgeous Provence and the south of France.
You certainly do live in a part of paradise, a magical place which hopefully will always stay as lovely as it is.

Meanwhile, I’m home recuperating from surgery and am off now to bring My French Life and French Essence out here in the gazebo – time to turn their pages again while I follow doctor’s orders and be lazy for a change!
Here’s to a wonderful Summer in Provence – I can almost smell the lavender and see the sunflowers turning toward the sun.
Hugs – Mary


I love your articles and insights, especially those about the quality of life and how
the french appreciate the little things that make up each day by celebrating beauty
at hand.


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