11 Nov 2014

Reflections From Provence

Provence, Saint Remy de Provence, Vicki Archer

Today I am feeling pensive.

An early morning flight to Provence can do that to you.

Coincidentally a fellow blogger, Helen asked what prompted a move to France.

She has tweaked some deep emotions.

Helen related the question to music, a note that could be associated with an up-and-change-your-life-moment.

A note or a favourite song was not what prompted our move, but rather falling in love.

We simply fell in love with an abandoned fruit farm in the heart of Provence.

We are Australians through and through and had never contemplated living anywhere but our native Sydney.

Looking back fifteen years later, sitting in the room that I could only dream of at that time, I can honestly say that one single moment changed my life.

Falling in love with all things French came easily to me.

The moment when it altered our lives is indelibly etched in my memory.

The moment I saw the avenue of plane trees, the views towards the mountains and the promise of a farmhouse I knew. It was meant to be.

I felt as if I had come home and that this was something that I was prepared to take risks for, to evolve everything for.

We did and the rest is history.

Looking back is such a luxury and hindsight a marvellous invention.

Do I see the past with rose coloured glasses? Yes I do in large.

There were moments that I prefer to forget, great frustrations and difficulties that made me reconsider everything. Moving from one side of the world to another, leaving friends and family is not for the faint hearted.

Would I do it differently? No, never. Would it have been easier to stay put? Yes, most surely.

Our lives have been a roller coaster of change and un-certainty but also the last fifteen years have been very exciting.

Falling in love and making a home in Provence has lead to many unforseen changes. Like a game of chess, one move and the outcome can be irrevocably changed.

I would never have believed that:

My children would be educated in Engand and live and work in London and that I would write about our story and create this blog.

That this website would morph and change over the years and become a place that I spend nearly all my waking time.

That Le Petit Bijou would be more than a dream.

That I would spend half the year in London and come to adore that city and call it home as much as I do Sydney or Provence.

That sometimes, I would even dream in French.

One single moment, one emotional response and look what happened… xv

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déjà pseu

The universe can lead us in amazing directions if we’re willing to listen and follow. It’s obvious how much you love Provence; the love just emanates from your photos and makes them all the more beautiful and special.

Heather in Arles

Yes, that one moment when you “know”…just thinking about it gives me goosebumps! And I for one amongst so very many am so glad that made that jump. How often life rewards our greatest risks with our finest rewards…


Vicki, I think I speak for those of us who say, “we are so glad you did!” I have enjoyed your writings and sharing of your life in France! I remember planning my first trip, without any assistance, naive I guess…..but I bought your book French Essence and when I turned to the page on Avignon, I remember getting goose bumps! I had always wanted to go there and had planned it and your words and pictures brought the beauty to life! I was not disappointed either when I rented a car with one of my daughters and drove to St. Remy! Thank you for helping us to be adventurous! What a wonderful life!

Helen Tilston

Hello Vickie
Thank you for taking the time to write a post on your reason for living in France. How brave of you to make such a move with children in tow.
I love your poignant description of the avenue leading to your home. It is the little things like this that seem to add up. I have re-read your post several times and the analogy to the chess game is so fitting.
I knew a little of your life, following your blog for many years, but you have shared so much more and I thank you. You definitely are “a woman of substance”
Helen xx

D. A. Wolf

Lovely. And challenging. How strange it is that a “foreign” land, for some of us, is immediately more “home” than home. And we feel it in every physical and emotional pore, though it is not without sacrifice to give ourselves to the change that takes us from what is more comfortable, or at least, more conventional.


Anita Rivera

And I too think the same thoughts when I remember how 29 years ago, my husband and I left our native Los Angeles to go to school in Boston, Massachusetts, how I’d fall in love with all things French then study the language just for fun but end up getting a Master’s degree and two teaching licenses. I now teach and looking back, it all started with LOVE, and the love is still going strong.

Your dream is the essence of what it takes to live out one’s dream. Fall in love, and accept all the obstacles and forge ahead. Oh Vicki, how I adore your BLOG and you. Anita

susan athanasakou

What a lovely account of how you came to live in France, I know what courage it takes to leave your country behind, I did it!
I left England over thirty years ago for Greece and my Greek God!
Im so glad that I did,

Heather Lindstrom

This is profound in it’s simplicity, Vicki. I stopped back by as I wanted to add you in my updated blog roll and am pleased to have found this post. Not only did that one moment change your life, it takes courage to follow your instincts and make it happen. Look at the beauty and adventure that courageous step has created for you. I understand why you fell in love with Provence, I did too. I have followed my heart for love and I’m very happy with where I have landed.
Cheers, Heather @ Stylemindchic Lifestyle

lisa | renovatingitaly

I just saw your comment over on Helen’s post and followed you here of course. Nina Simone has had a place in my heart for many years. For Sam and I the move to Italy was to chase adventure. I have always been in love with Italy since my teenage years and love of art. Backpacking in my 20’s convinced me that Italy was my soul. I’m so happy that I have had the chance to show our children this heritage that belongs to them. Australia is my heart and Italy my soul xxx

ciao ciao lisa x


Wonderful shots, I hope you liked it there, I live in Provence in Marseille and it’s always refreshing to see people enjoying this time in this beautiful region ! Just discovered your blog today and I’ll surely keep an eye on it ;) Xoxoxo


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