10 Jan 2013

Provence: Finding Beauty

There is something about Provence that I can’t quite understand.

It has a way of enveloping you, of transporting you from the everyday and it makes you feel as if you are living life in slow motion. The rest of the world disappears when I am in Provence… not an intentional decision, but one that just happens. I try and rationalise these feelings…

Is it the beauty and the country way of life? Is it that I feel as if I am on holiday?

I don’t think so… It’s more than that.. Provence has a magic, a special power, an unknown quantity that seeps into every part of my being and seduces in the best possible way. It happens time and time again… The romantic in me likes to think there is some kind of spell over our home… but I suspect I am not alone in my feelings about Provence.

In the last few weeks I have been busy… with Christmas, with family… but even still, I feel relaxed like a ‘Sleeping Beauty’ who has woken up refreshed after a long, long sleep…

It is Provence… I am convinced… If I could package this up I would send you all a little vial of Provencal elixir… with the simple instructions… to inhale when needed.

When reflecting on the year ahead, I came to the conclusion that beauty is the key to so much.

Provence has opened my eyes to appreciating the simple, the obvious… it has cleansed my mind of confusion. Beauty in our surroundings, in our thoughts and in our hearts can be the answer to so many questions… Beauty can be a balm… and beauty can be a tonic. A moment’s gaze on a sunrise like the one I have photographed above, can change your thinking… can change your mindset… seeing nature’s bounty up close and personal can put the world into perspective… and set us on the right path.

Provence and beauty go hand in hand… but beauty, to state the obvious, is all around. Beauty is not only what we see… beauty is what we hear, what we read… what we speak and most importantly, what we think.

The key to beauty is to have our eyes wide open… to be aware, to observe… to really, really look…  to never take for granted that which can re-invigorate and re-energise us. We must try and recognise beauty when it is offered… be ready and willing to commit… and we should reserve an ever-expanding place in our hearts for all that beauty brings.

As I watched the sun setting over the Alpilles mountains, the chain of rugged limestone bumps that run through our part of Provence, I thought how gentle and soft the sky looked in contrast to that morning’s offering when the clouds were ablaze with colour. Nature was quietening down, ready to rest and restore herself for another day… garnering her energy in readiness for tomorrow’s beautiful offering.

2013… ‘Beauty’ will be my word… xv


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sharon - my french country home

How lovely to have you back Vicki, and how beautiful your photos are. I have to agree whole heartedly with your new year sentiment – beauty is all around us and to keep our eyes open for it is essential to our well being
Looking forward to all the beauty you’ll be bringing us this year

Gigi Thibodeau

A wonderful word for the year, Vicki! Two quotes come to my mind immediately. One is from my big brother: “Ask yourself three things,” he once said to me when I was worrying over something trivial, “Is it beautiful? Is it funny? Does it taste good? If you can say yes to one or more of these questions, then it’s worth your time. Otherwise, be done with it.” I often use his three questions, and I find they really help me keep my priorities straight! :D The other quote is, of course, from Keats: “‘Beauty is truth, truth beauty,’–that is all / Ye know on Earth and all ye need to know.” Your photos here are full of beauty, and they certainly do reveal many truths about your passion for Provence. I so agree with you; beauty is, indeed, what we think. It’s a mindset . . . and a profound way of choosing to experience the world. xo Gigi


Absolutely beauty full Vicki – thankyou for sharing both images and thoughts – you have summed it up perfectly

Happy 2013


‘Beauty’ is a wonderful word for 2013. My word is ‘Serenity’. I wish you all the best for the New Year and recently I had the good fortune to finally meet Carla in Sydney which was more beautiful than serene. I’m on deadline at the moment for my book but hope to pop in more in 2012 and enjoy your inspiration. xx

Francine gardner

Dear Vicky:To wake up to these enchanting words, dreamy photographs brings me back home, my french home, my youth when summers were spent in Provence or on the Riviera. My few days in Provence every year are just a tease, a tease of a life I could be leading. New York is the anthesis of Provence, were it not for my sons living close to us, finishing their studies, and my work which starts to feel like ball and chain, I would be ready to move to a land I have a deep love for. Meanwhile, Paris next week will have to do and then a few days in the Pyrenees with my parents.


Somehow you were destined for all that beauty. I am so thankful that you share your beauty with each of us. Your images are so heartful.

Anita Rivera

My dear, I understand EXACTLY what you are saying.

When I flew into Nice 11 years ago, and as I was looking out the window about 30 minutes before landing, I saw rocky mountains that had a pink hue to them. I had never seen anything so sensual, so raw and beautiful, yet something that had an almost ARTISTIC design to it. I said to myself, “I can die here.”

Call if romanticism, the dreamer in us, or magic, but the truth is that for many of us that are sleeping beauties that are awake in our dreams, PROVENCE has that magic spell from which I never want to wake.

That sunrise in itself is A STUNNER! Welcome back home to Blogland chère amie! Anita

Nancie B

Beautiful photos and a reminder to look up
Too often we wander through our days watching everything around us and in front of us and under our feet but neglect to look to the sky. There is something so expansive, so unlimited and so inspirational about that open space above us.


Vicki, from Provence to here in my beachhouse in Guilderton, Westen Australia the beauty you have so beautifully described exists….in it’s simplicity. Even in our heatwave the parched pastures retain their jaded beauty…


Lovely pictures, beautiful words. Who couldn’t use a magical Provençal elixir – just a little whiff to chase away the stress and pressure of the everyday. I think that is what French Essence is for many of us…a little elixir with the power to transport us to your beautiful world.


Dear V.,
It’s a funny thing, but as I read your post this morning (whilst in-between conference calls at the office), I felt my muscles relaxing, felt my mind letting go… Your photos were captivating and your simple message compelling… A bit of that Provence ambience seeped into my day.
Thank you for bringing a welcome bit of respite!

With much affection and appreciation,

lisa thomson

Beautiful, Vicki! Thanks for sharing the beauty that is Provence with us. I’ve never been but thanks to your blog I feel I have traveled there in moment’s time.

Your French Buyer

Your beautiful persimmon tree instantly reminded me of the many red lanterns hanging on a small street in Beijing this past March.
Stunning photos!

Amy Kortuem

What a wonderful word to live a year by!

I think mine will be “create.” Writing, especially. My memoir has languished too many months!

Angela Ridge

Vicki, One word, “stunning”. I hope that one day soon I will share you joy, your inner most feelings for Provence.

Angela x

Pauline from Phillip Island

It’s so lovely to hear from you again, Vicki. Beauty is a word that describes you and everything you do so there really is nothing more appropriate. Welcome to 2013.


Gasp! What beautiful pictures! Beauty is all around us, in the most unexpected places. Thank you Vicki for sharing your photos.


This post has been a bit of wake-up call for me. I work all day with highly complex electronic stuff in grey plastic boxes, not pretty at all & I’ve struggled to find beauty in any of it. But as you put it so eloquently, we sometimes need to look behind the obvious to see true beauty in it’s simplest & purest form.

So the beauty for me is that those ‘boxes’ save human lives, every day…. day in, day out. They provide hope in the darkest of moments, restore function to a quivering, failing heart & return people to their loved ones. Thanks mate for leading me down a path that I couldn’t see for looking & giving me a lovely new perspective on the daily grind. That’s what friends are for.
Millie xx



My husband and I were in Provence this summer…fell in love with its “enchantment”. Totally understand the love you all must have for this beautiful part of the world!

I’ve just started following your blog and I already know that I feel very at home, your photos speak to the heart and your writing is so real and compelling!

Happy New year and thanks for sharing!



You are so spot on when you say ‘The key to beauty is to have our eyes wide open’. Without an open vision, we close ourselves off to so much of the beauty that surrounds us.

miss b

I’m not really an early morning person but I could make an exception to see this wonderful sunrise and the beautiful persimmon tree at dawn (stunning photos!) This beauty would certainly set me up for the day. Whenever I visit this area of France, it is always the intense colours which fascinate me…in fact I should plan a return visit this year!

my castle in spain

Dear Vicki, this is a beautiful thought to live by…« recognize beauty when it is offered »
Thank you for this luminous post and happy beautiful 2013 to you!
xo Lala


Gorgeous Vicki.. My Mom used to say that the Angels were making pancakes where the sky looked like this:) Having appreciation for all the goodness that nature and life has to offer .. that’s what it’s all about.

Your persimmon tree is so pretty!



Your thoughts touched my heart and make me thinking what and where beauty is in our world….and there is a plenty. Even in a stormy weather or in a rapid stream you find beauty when you see it with an open heart and have the right attitude towards…and yes, when I come back from my Provence-holiday I feel new born in body (unfortunately) and mind . There must be really something in the air.

Maria Kohler

Hello Vicky, I just read your text about Provence and I think it’s so beautiful that I would like to use it for the homepage of our “Chambres et table d’hôtes” we just opened in Provence, next to Forcalquier. May I use the first part from the beginning till …it happens time and time again? Of course I will mention your name. Thank you for your answer. Maria


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