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Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Painting Provence Part 3....Our First (but not last) Market!

'Beauty Surrounds Us'          5x7       pastel       ©Karen Margulis
available $95
I had read about the markets. In fact I had a book on the different markets of Provence. I copied the pages that listed the markets for each day of the week. I think we managed to go to six markets during our visit. Oh yes we became market junkies! Each market had a different feel and we discovered that the early bird gets the best stuff and a parking spot. It was also much cooler early in the morning.

We explored out first market on the first full day of our visit. We had gone into the nearest town of Coustellet for groceries.  It just happened to be market day! It was all a bit overwhelming. But we were hooked!

Approaching the market for the first time in Coustellet France

Sunflowers and artichoke blooms
The first thing I saw was the lavender.....actually I smelled it first!  I had to buy a bouquet to keep in my room. We all bought some soap and fine lavender spray. We were so happy to have the spray. All it took was a quick spray on our pillows at night and we were sound asleep. Did you know that some lavender makes you sleepy (fine lavender the most expensive kind) and that the less expensive lavender is actually a stimulant? At least that was the sales pitch we got. All I can say is that the spray worked wonders!

And the lavender! Of course I had to have a bouquet for my room!
 Next on the agenda was to pick out a basket. Everyone we saw had a market basket! My hands were already full with lavender, soaps and sprays so I definitely needed a basket. We all chose a different basket and it was hard. There were so many wonderful baskets to choose from. I selected a simple traditional basket with leather trim.

I love my basket. Not only did I use it for the markets and for shopping I used it to bring my stuff up and down the stairs in the house. Remember my bedroom was on the third floor and the shower /bathroom I used was downstairs by the pool. The basket will also be perfect to use for local plein air and sketching sessions.

Market baskets are a necessity. We all picked out a basket. I went with the simple classic basket.

You might be wondering how I got the basket home? I was traveling light with only a small carryon suitcase and a backpack. BUT I always bring along a folding duffel bag for the trip home. The basket fit perfectly in the duffel bag! Whew!

 The next purchase we made would be one of the highlights of the trip! Tena was the first one to buy the salt but we all had to go back to the market the following week to stock up on this wonderful bag of joy. It was sea salt with herbes de provence. It was heaven in a bag. We quickly discovered that adding a pinch of this salt elevated any dish. It was especially delicious with the tomatoes from the market! I am spoiled forever from those tomatoes.  The best ones were the cherry tomatoes from the market. They were like candy! They had a plate of them available to taste and I was sold! Into the basket went a bag of tomatoes!

This turned out to be the buy of the trip! Sea salt with herbs de Provence

Tomatoes that were as sweet as candy. I am spoiled for life!

Our first taste of the market had us excited for the rest of the trip. We would go home and make a plan to visit villages on market day! I will be sharing more from our local market day in Goult in another post.

We headed back to the car our baskets filled with goodies. Can you believe the beauty we found in the parking lot? An amazing bank filled with Queen Anne's lace and Blue Sailor wildflowers. I was in heaven and took plenty of photos. Beauty is everywhere in France.....even in the parking lot of the Super U. (It is a good thing I took a lot of photos because the flowers had been mowed down by the next week.)

Today's painting: 7x5 on Pastelmat paper done while in Provence.

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