9 Mar 2015

Provence In Soft Focus

Provence In Soft Focus, St Remy de Provence, Vicki Archer

This last weekend in Provence, felt as if it were in soft focus.

The light in Provence is forever changing. It is often bright, sometimes subdued but always unique.

Restorative is the word that comes to mind; the light in Provence feels like a dose of goodness, an antidote to negativity and a positive force to make all things better. A romantic interpretation, but if you were with me last weekend I feel sure you would agree.

More and more the London life makes me appreciate Provence and all that is so exceptional about the region. There are the obvious draws; the history, the hilltop villages, the markets and the scenery but this last weekend it was the light that held my attention. It was as if I was seeing my days through a soft filter, my eyes fnding focus on a gentle landscape. The white light of winter, in preparation for the coming spring, had given way to a pale grey-baby blue tinged atmosphere.

Early March is a little forgotten in Provence; it is a time that is less obvious. We mark the Provencal calender by the almond blossom, punctuate the Easter break with the flowering wisteria vines and May sees the bold faced iris come out to play. Provence is pretty, but Provence is also so much more than that. Provence is elemental.

Nature’s elements are the secret to the beauty and the ambience of life in Provence.

The weekend was quiet, the village of St Rémy de Provence not quite woken up from its post Christmas slumber. It was perfect to wander around and to re-unite myself with its charm.

It is the time of year when I like to walk, to hike in the Alpilles and let my eyes look into the distance and forget that other life behind a computer screen and those fingers of mine that are at the beck and call of social media, if only for a weekend.

And the freedom of relaxed dressing, little make up and hair tied back; how these small pleasures become significant when we don’t have them all the time.

Provence in soft focus, was it real? This Monday morning, it feels like it could have been a dream… xv

Provence In Soft Focus

I am frequently asked what to wear in Provence and I wanted to mention these new stretch skinny cargo pants from J.Crew. Perfect for Provence, perfect for travelling.

Totally fabulous and flattering: I tested them out this past weekend. I went with the khaki and the navy pairs.

The cargo pants looked cute and took me everywhere with the J.Crew silky tee and the Stan Smith trainers, especially the dark pair with the leopard trim. At night I added a chunky cable knit.

j.crew skinny stretch cargo  //  stan smith sneakers //  j.crew silky tee  //  j.crew mixed cable sweater



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Roxane Lacroix

So wonderful that Spring is underway in St.Remy! I am so looking forward to it here in New Hampshire. We’ve had quite enough snow, thank you! In the spring, the chartreuse haze of newly budded trees enchants me as I drive down our dirt road that is a soft welcoming vision. I can’t wait to smell that special earth awakening aroma, although I might have to wait until May before we get rid of these 3′ snowbanks.


It is slowly starting to feel that it mightn’t be too far away… but it’s really like a pause before all the new growth begins… So lovely…
Good luck with all that snow… I can never imagine!


I don’t know if it was me or my mood… but I found the light quite extraordinary this past weekend… I had to drag myself home to London… :(
I also love that there is nothing in the landscape competing for my attention…

Those Stan Smith’s are very good… and so comfortable!!


I just came back from Nice and can’t say enough wonderful things about it and the region. This was the most relaxing trip I have had in a long time. I chalk it up to the magic of Provence!


Vicki it sounds light a delightfully relaxing weekend! Love the Stan Smith trainers!
The Arts by Karena


It was Karena,
Sometimes it’s a total tonic to do nothing at all… and then strangely enough, that becomes everything… :)

Anita Rivera

Good evening dearest Vicki! I am here at home now, after school, enjoying this post, for Provence is one of my favorite places in France…on earth, for that matter! And for all the reasons you have stated here. I am very sensitive to light (my emotions), and certain times of the day, when the sunlight hits, I remember so many fond times with my parents. Provence for me is exactly this: a conservatory of sunlight changing my mood from happy to happier; of changing my perspective as I see life stroll by, not rush by. The rocks, the villages, the language and the people….established and grounded.



Such beautiful writing Vicki.
I love noticing light, it has such transformative powers for seeing and feeling.
“Magic light” is truly special, it sounds like you had it in Provence and we’ve been having a bit of it here in Australia – soft, hazy and golden as summer drifts to autumn – if only I could bottle it!
Thanks for this lovely post – I could almost see the light of Provence


Thank you for this enchanting Picture on the doorstep to spring, so true, so much about the elements of Provence. Difficult to put in Words, but very much to be felt within the soul. Oh I long for those sunny promising days of easter in Languedoc. Can´t wait. Please don´t hesitate to post Photos of your beautiful garden, I find it quite interessting, to follow the passing of the years and seasons.

Anne Woodyard

Oh you make me eager to return…just a couple of weeks! We’ll be in Aix for the Easter Festival – do let us know if you’re coming our way.
Regarding the skinny cargoes, don’t think that’s my style, but I want to say how I just
LOVE the Minnie (I think that was the name) leggings you previously recommended and have several pairs since they come in Tall, rather a rarity but so appreciated by us 6 ft. Women!


Looks like such a lovely place to live and visit.

I receive emails from Joss and Main and I instantly
recognised the pic of your stylish living room.


Vicki, I loved this post. And though the skinny cargo pants look terrific, I cannot get used to pants that sit on the hip. Any tips?


This season there are many other more waisted choices, Marnie… so I am sure you will find the look with the comfort that you like… :)


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