Monday, December 27, 2021

Truffles in Paradise: Markets, Fests, Feasts, Hunts & More

It's truffle season in Provence! Our famous fresh black truffles, considered one of the most prized and expensive food products on earth, are at optimal ripeness in January. If you've never been to a truffle market or done a truffle hunt, it's great good fun. But do it soon...the season ends in mid March. Below are some of the best places to experience tuber melanasporum (truffes noirs) in Provence, from marchés aux truffes to truffle festivals to truffle farms to restaurants. You can take check out the Fête de la Truffe in Uzes (Jan 14 to 16) or the one in Aups (Jan 23), join in a festive town-hall luncheon (ten more times this winter), attend a Truffle Mass followed by a truffle meal (next month), get a guided tour of a pros-only truffle market (on Fridays in Carpentras, for one euro!), sign on for Patricia Wells' five-day truffle cooking extravaganza (in 2023) and even adopt a truffle oak (anytime). And of course, taste truffled everything, from liqueur to honey to scrambled eggs to ice cream. Also, some news: a group of truffle producers in Provence have just banded together to combat the sale of fake, foreign, unripe and otherwise sub-par truffles with a “collective brand” called Le Diamant Noir du Vaucluse. Read on! 

The Richerenches Truffle Market, Truffle Mass and Truffled-Omelette Lunch

The famous winter truffle market in the village of Richerenches is now in full swing, every Saturday morning until March 12. 

The intoxicating aroma of fresh truffes hits you before you even see the long row of vans, each with a cluster of buyers huddled behind it...everyone bundled up warmly, patiently waiting their turn. With many thousands of euros worth of product changing hands, there's a hushed sense of serious excitement in the air. Each truffle is meticulously weighed, calculations are made, cash changes hands and sacks are handed over...while gendarmes mill around very visibly, keeping an eye on everything. Most of the sellers here are courtiers en truffes, who buy direct from the trufficulteurs for the purpose of reselling. Sellers without their own vans wander the crowd, their goods tucked carefully out of sight in cloth bundles, plastic bags or market baskets. 

And king of the market, of course, is the prized tuber melanasporum, also known as the French black truffle, truffes noirs, Black Diamonds or Black Gold. 

At Richerenches you can also buy truffle-oak saplings, kitchen gadgets to ease truffle handling and even a truffle hound...I saw one very sweet one in a cage, looking a bit forlorn that he wasn't running around in the sunshine like all the other dogs. Other vendors sell locally grown produce, charcuterie, olives and olive oils, soaps in delicious scents, nougat and other sweets. It's all very colorful, very authentic and very Provencal. 

Statistics are a bit hard to come by but the Richerenches truffle market is said to be the largest in France and probably Europe. It sells both wholesale and retail and many top chefs in the region shop here. I'm told that 50% of the truffle transactions in Southeast France happen here...accounting for 30% of all the truffles that change hands in France. And that the Vaucluse (one of the six departments in the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur region) produces 70% of all the truffles in France.

All morning long on market day, people pop in and out of the Etablissement Cafe, for warming drinks and truffle talk. The unmistakable aroma of truffle wafts in with them and, by this time, is probably permanently embedded in the walls. By 11:30 the market crowds have dwindled and the Etablissement is packed.

After you've done your marketing, you can move on to a truffled-omelette lunch at the Town Hall/Salle des Fêtes, just a few doors down from the Etablissement Cafe, or at the Salle des Remparts, by the church.  You'll sit with strangers but no doubt become fast friends, thanks to the Kir that kicks off the meal and the serve-yourself bottles of Côtes du Rhône on every table. The 25€ price includes a salad, a creamy omelette with shaved truffles, bread, dessert, coffee, wine, a souvenir glass...and lots of juicy local gossip. These lunches fill up quickly so call the Richerenches Tourist Office to reserve: +33 (0)4 90 28 05 34. You can reserve by phone for up to six people; more than six requires a 50% deposit. See details and dates here.  

There's also an outdoor summer version of the truffled-omelette lunch; it happens a couple times a week and alternates between the villages of Richerenches and Grignan. Summer 2022 dates are still TBA. 

The Richerenches truffle market takes place on Avenue de la Rabasse (Rabasse is Provencal for truffle) and on Cours du Mistral.  It runs every Saturday morning, mid November to mid March, from 9 am to 1 pm. Anyone can buy truffles on the Avenue de la Rabasse; the Cours du Mistral is for professionals only.

Richerenches even has a Truffle Mass in the Saint Denis Church on the third Sunday of January (Jan 16, 2022). It’s dedicated to St. Antoine...the patron saint of truffle growers...and followed by an apero, open to all. Crowds have been known to get so big that a giant TV screen is set up outside in the courtyard of the Knights Templars Commandery so everyone can join in. As of now, it's expected to go ahead next month. There's a small museum devoted to truffles and wine in the Commandery as well. Info on the Truffle Mass and meal that follows (€65 pp, by reservation) is here

For more info, lunch reservations and other events, contact the Richerenches Tourist Office at  +33 (0)4 90 28 05 34 or via their website in English here

The Carpentras Truffle Market

Richerenches is the biggest but not the only regular truffle market in Provence. There are also two in Carpentras on Friday, which is the village’s regular market day as well.

The first happens on Friday mornings, from mid November to mid March, at the Hotel-Dieu. The start whistle blows at 9 am and it’s all usually over within an hour or so. This market is private and for professionals only...but the Carpentras Tourist Office  offers a guided tour of this market to the public for €1 (yes, one euro!) per person. Tours are in French only and can be booked online or in person at the Tourist Office.

The second truffle market is for everyone else. It too happens on Friday morning, from 8:30 to 12:30, in front of the Tourist Office on Place du 25 Aout 1944.

The professional market started November 19; the public market on December 3. Both will likely run until early March, depending on the harvest. 

Periodically throughout the season, the Tourist Office offers a truffled-omelette and wine tasting in their office, for €10 per person, featuring different chefs and wine domaines. There are none in January but check back in February; dates will appear on the website. To reach the Carpentras Tourist Office: +33 (0)4 90 63 00 78 or click here.  

Three Places for Truffle Hunts in Provence

*Year after year, truffle hunting at Les Pastras is one of the most-popular activities in the Luberon, according to Trip Advisor and other sites. With English-speaking guide Johann and three adorable dogs named Mirabelle, Caramel and Éclair, you’ll head into the Provençal countryside sniffing out winter or summer truffles. Learn how truffle trees are cultivated, the signals nature sends to indicate your trees might have truffles below and the extreme lengths to which people will go to steal the precious tubers or sabotage other hunters. Plus, tips on how to clean and prepare fresh truffles, what dishes taste best with them and how to tell a real tuber melanosporum from, say, a Chinese fake. Then kick back with Champagne and fresh truffle hors d'oeuvres...and truffle ice cream with truffle honey...and a tasting of Les Pastras’ homemade products including truffled salt and olive oil. You can also purchase truffles here at less-than-market prices. Winter hunts (roughly Nov. 15 to March 15) are weekdays at 10 am or 2:30 pm. Summer hunts (roughly May 1 to Sept. 30) are weekdays at 10 am or 6 pm. Expend to spend about 3 hours. For all the info, click here.

*Based in Gordes, Robert Florent dug up his first truffle at age five, while hunting with his grandfather. Today he organizes winter and summer truffle hunts with his dog Perle, followed by wine and a tasting of truffled toasts. You can buy his truffles and other truffle products and, if you book ahead, possibly stay on for a meal. A truffle hunt with tasting costs 200€ total (for 1-3 people) or €250 (4-20 people); more than 20 people add €10 pp.  Robert speaks some English but works mostly in French; a translator is available for €50 extra but must be booked in advance.  The summer or winter experience lasts 3 to 3.5 hours but can be shortened to 2.5 if needed. For info or to book: +33 (0)4 90 72 11 60, +33 (0)6 80 55 30 47,

*On a sunny December day two years ago, with snow-capped Mont Ventoux in the distance, my friends and I enjoyed a super-successful truffle hunt and a wonderful meal with truffles in every course (including cheese and dessert) at La Truffe du Ventoux, run by the Jaumard family. Details about everything they offer--truffle hunts, meals, truffles and truffle products, B&B, etc.--are on their site. 

Three Upcoming Truffle Festivals

The elegant, historic village of Uzes will hold its annual Fête de la Truffe January 14 to 16, 2022. This year you’ll find a winegrower's evening, a truffle market, workshops, special truffle meals and more. General info about the truffle season in Uzes is here and the the program for the January truffle festival is here. For whatever else you might need, call or email the lovely folks at the Uzes Tourist Office: +33 (0)4 66 22 68 88,

Every Thursday morning from late November to mid March, the village of Aups, in the Var, hosts a truffle market on the Place Frédéric Mistral from roughly 9:30 am to noon. On the 4th Sunday in January (Sunday January 23, 2022) there's the Fete de la Truffe with truffles and other local products for sale, a truffle dog competition and truffle menus in village restaurants (definitely book in advance). I'm still trying to confirm if the Truffle Festival in Aups will happen this year or not but in the meantime, for info, click here and here. And  when you're in Aups, check out the Maison de la Truffe where you'll find truffle info, activities, a museum and a shop. The helpful folks at Visit Var can help with all the info you need about the region.

For now, the Nimes Truffle Fair is scheduled for February 4 to 6, 2022, Covid permitting. It’s organized by the Ville de Nimes and hasn’t been posted online yet so check in with the Nimes Tourist Office closer to the date.

Truffle Meals in Restaurants

At this time of year, you’ll find truffles on restaurant menus all over the region. Here are four suggestions to get you started.

At Restaurant Bruno in Lorgues (in the Var), you'll encounter a serious, decadent use of truffles in just about every dish including the famous truffled scrambled eggs known as brouillade. They currently offer multi-course truffle menus  at €83, €125, €175 & €195. Or, pick and choose your dishes à la carte and pay accordingly. This year Bruno was one of just two Provence restaurants to receive Michelin's new "Green Star" designation for sustainability. 

*At La Beaugraviere in Mondragon, on the N7 north of Orange, you can indulge in one truffle dish or an entire truffle tasting menu...and an award-winning wine list packed with Rhône vintages. This year, truffle menus are €69 or €150...and other menus, without truffles, are also offered.  

*In Carpentras, Chez Serge has been known for truffles for years. They used to do a fantastic truffle pizza but no longer...dommage! Now you’ll find à la carte truffle dishes and an €89 three-course truffle menu.  

*In Nîmes, the intimate restaurant Gamel will feature special truffle menus to coincide with the Uzes Truffle Fair (January 14-16) and the one in Nimes (February 4-6). Chef Cristian Moisa is self-taught, rising up through the culinary ranks from local brasseries to Michelin-starred eateries such as Lisita in Nîmes and Bibendum in London, while his partner Morgane, a pâtissier, runs the front-of-house. For more info, contact the restaurant in the new year. +33 (0)4 66 36 25 80. 

A Truffle Cooking Workshop 

Every winter at their cooking school in Vaison-la-Romaine, Patricia and Walter Wells offer a Black Truffle Cooking Extravaganza. It's five days of classes, meals and outings devoted almost entirely to fresh black truffles. Menus focus on complementary wines, particularly the prized whites of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. All instruction is in English, with recipes geared to home cooks. The workshop has been Covid-postponed until 2023 but all the info is here. In the meantime, pick up a copy of Patricia's 2011 book, Simply Truffles, on Amazon here

Two Bits of Truffle News...

The Maison de La Truffe et Du Vin, which for years has occupied a beautifully restored 17th-century maison particulier at the top of  the village of Menerbes—selling a fantastic selection of local wines as well as a wide range of truffle products--is closed until further notice. They may reopen...or not. But you can still buy their products (including their Truffle Aperitif, which a Menerbes-based friend says she loves to give as a novelty gift) on their website.

To promote and protect the integrity of their products, five truffle growers in the Vaucluse have banded together to launch a “collective brand” called Le Diamant Noir du Vaucluse. Rigorous specs guarantee the truffle’s origin, pesticide-free production and freshness: they must be sold within seven days of harvesting. According to association president Nicolas Monnier, an organic producer in Saint-Saturnin-lès-Apt, the goal is to combat the poor quality of truffles sometimes sold in local markets, some of which come from Spain or are unripe. “We want to take back control as order to guarantee that the truffles are ripe and black,” he says.  “Gray or white truffles aren’t ripe and don’t have the same aroma. We practice reasoned farming, without the use of pesticides. We also want to guarantee...that our truffles are fresh and out of the ground for less than 7 days. A consumer buying a Diamant Noir du Vaucluse truffle is guaranteed a fresh truffle. The black truffe of the Vaucluse might be the most expensive, but it’s worth it!” 

For More Info

There's a calendar of truffle markets in the Gard and elsewhere in Occitanie here.

And finally,  you'll find lots of great info on truffle markets, visits, hunts and more on the Vaucluse Tourism here

Photos: (1) Pasta with fresh black truffles at Patricia Wells' cooking school in Vaison. Her next five-day Black Truffle Cooking Extravaganza will be offered in 2023. Photo by Jeff Kauck. (2) Happy Shopper: I met the smiley Pierre Sauvayre last time I visited the Richerenches Truffle Market. (3) Delicious truffled omelettes are served up on most Saturday mornings in Richerenches during truffle season. Check the schedule and reserve ahead. (4) One section of the Richerenches market is devoted to wholesale only and many of the region's top chefs buy here. (5) The stall selling charcuterie does a booming business on Saturday. (6) A typical seller's rig at Richerenches. (7) Truffle vendor Thierry Vidal in the retail section of the Richerenches market.  (8) Rabasse is Provencal for truffle. (9) The markets also sell tools for handling truffles. (10) The Etablissement: preferred hang out for buyers and sellers in Richerenches.  (11) Here comes the truffle truck! (11) A sign on the Mairie boasts Richerenches' status as one of the 100 Remarkable Sites of Good Taste, a designation honoring local foods and producers. (12) The Truffle Mass in Richerenches will be January 16. (13) At the Truffle Market in Carpentras. Photo via (14, 15) Les Pastras in the Southern Luberon is known for truffle hunts and truffle products, olive picking parties, grape stomps and more. After your truffle tour, tuck into truffle ice cream with truffle honey--and lots of other delicious things. (16, 17) Two winters ago, some friends and I did a truffle day at La Truffe du Ventoux in Monteux. With snow-capped Mont Ventoux in the distance, our day included a truffle talk in the Jaumard family's workshop, a successful hunt with this adorable Border Collie and a wonderful meal with truffles in every course including this pumpkin soup with truffle cream. (18) Poster for the Uzes Truffle Festival next month. The Nimes Truffle Fair is tentatively scheduled for mid February.

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

You're Invited: Thanksgiving in France 2021

Because I totally live to please you, once again I've rounded up a great selection of American Thanksgiving celebrations here in the South of France and in Paris. Who attends these gala soirées? Local expats of course, but also hungry French folks and other Europeans, travelers, house guests...whomever! 

Over the years, many of my French friends have told me they love the idea of celebrating this American meet new people, to sample unusual foods, to learn the history and traditions. At a friend's Thanksgiving in Provence a few years back, one French guest told me he loved how the various dishes were served all at once—family style--rather than in courses. Another said he was looking forward to his first taste of cranberry sauce, which he called red fruits jam

While the literal translation of Thanksgiving is Action de Grâce, most French people just call it Thanksgiving...except for my friend Philippe who refers to it as Merci Donnant, which he says "means absolutely nothing at all." Over the years, we’ve shared many wonderful Thanksgivings together at various friends’ houses. “It’s like having a second Xmas in the same year,” Philippe says. “But I miss that I never got to see the big family argument part you see in many movies!”

As in years past, I’ve only listed below the Thanksgivings that still had space available as of today. But book soon because most have limited capacity and fill up. For a Thanksgiving meal on Saturday Nov. 27 at 5:30 pm at the American Church in Paris--the first American church established outside the United States, with roots back to 1814—tickets are now available to the public online, with pick up at the church the day of.  And there's a special service at 12:15 on Thanksgiving Day, open to all, with a speaker and coffee reception afterwards.

And this year for the first time, I have a Thanksgiving to offer you in Nimes, at restaurant Gamel, and one in Mazan, at the Cafe du Siecle.

In Paris, in addition to lots of delicious sounding eat-in and takeaway options in clubs and restaurants, there's a Thanksgiving baking class that sounds like great fun.

This year what’s different of course is that you’ll need a Pass Sanitaire to attend most of these Thanksgivings. If you’re not sure of the rules, call ahead to check.

For those of you hosting your own Thanksgiving or sharing in the food prep, I've provided two sources for traditional ingredients in person and online; a third shop, called My Little America, seems to have disappeared since I last did this roundup in 2019.

When it comes to the juicy bird itself, order from your butcher or poultry farmer early and remember that turkeys here in France are smaller than those at home. The Real McCoy in Paris sells them both fresh and already roasted.

If you're hosting or know of a Thanksgiving celebration in the South of France or Paris that's not listed here, email me the info ( and I'll happily add it. Actually, I'm happy to add any Thanksgivings, anywhere in France, as long as they're open to the public and still have space. So fire away...I'd love to know about them.

And finally, a big American hug and thank you from me to all of you: for reading and supporting my blog...for sharing it with friends...for commenting on the stories you particularly enjoy. I wish you all the most joyous and delicious Merci Donnant, wherever you plan to spend it!  

Thanksgiving on the Côte d’Azur

The American Club of the Riviera's Thanksgiving is a gala, annual affair...large, elegant and extremely popular. This year it's in the Salon Belle Epoque at the Hotel Hermitage in Monte Carlo on Thursday Nov. 25, starting with a 12:30 Champagne reception, followed by a traditional American turkey feast with and all the trimmings. All nationalities are welcome but book quickly as this event always sells out; it's first come, first served with priority going to members and their families. Once again, there will be members of  the US Navy and the US Army as well as other distinguished guests attending. Pass Sanitaire required. All the info is on the ACR website here. Questions?

Once again, MonacoUSA will host its annual all-you-can-eat Thanksgiving dinner at StarsNBars (Monaco) on Thursday Nov. 25  starting at 7 pm. This year, seating won’t be at communal tables; you’ll sit with your family or group only. Non-members are also welcome.  The menu: Stuffed turkey with cranberry sauce, creamed onions, sweet potatoes, corn on the cob and cornbread. Desserts will be apple tart, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and brownies. Also included: a glass of wine, beer or soft drink,  and espresso.  Cost: 45€ adults, 25€ kids under 12.  Seating is limited, you must reserve, last seating is at 8:30 pm and no walk-ins allowed. Health pass required. StarsNBars will also serve a Thanksgiving plat du jour with dessert at lunch, starting at noon, for 25€. To book: + 377 9797 9595. Pass Sanitaire required. Questions:

Thanksgiving in Provence

As in years past, the Avignon Chapter of Democrats Abroad will gather to celebrate Thanksgiving in a private home in Cavaillon, on Thursday Nov. 25 from 2 pm to 7 pm. Yes, there will be political talk (including prep for the US midterms in 2022) but the focus will definitely be food! A full prepared and potluck menu is planned; the potluck will focus on regional US holiday fare. The event is open to all DA members and their families...along with any new Americans in Provence who want to join DA (membership is free at  Note: seats are limited and it’s first come, first served. To book, email Joan Jarowski (, tell her how many in your party and what you’d like to contribute. Suggestions: A pasta dish, cheeses, veggies or fish, potatoes, yams, turnips, side of vegetarian stuffing, your own favorite salad, whatever!  Expect leftovers and doggie bags!

The Anglo-American Group of Provence welcomes the community to its annual family-oriented Thanksgiving in Aix,  Sunday Nov. 28, starting at 1 pm.  They wrote me this: “Come join us in a festive dining room with garden views and Provençal ambiance and character! We invite all of our members, their children, friends and guests to celebrate Thanksgiving in the spirit of appreciation for all that we enjoy in this beautiful part of the world!”  AAGP membership is not required to attend but a Pass Sanitaire or recent negative test is. The venue: Le Mas d'Entremont, Celony - 315 Route d’Avignon, 13090 Aix.  Aperos at 1 pm, lunch at 2 pm.  Members: 24€ pp, 10€ for kids (ages 5 to 10) and 15€ kids ages 11 to 16. Non members: 58€ pp and 28€ for kids 16 and younger.  Space is limited so reserve asap by sending a check, payable to AAGP, to Michel Parisot, 5 rue Emmanuel Brunet, 13080 Luynes.  Specify the number of member and non-member adults and kids, with kids ages please. Reservations close on November 23 and beyond that date, no cancellations...sorry! Questions? or +33 (0)6 37 83 80 45.

Based on the success of their Thanksgiving takeaway and delivery service in 2020, Biocoop - La Coumpagnie in Aix (840 ave. du Camp de Menthe), will offer it again this year...along with an eat-in option for lunch on Thursday Nov. 25. "Our French, English and American clientele really love it," owner Rick Harrison says. Anyone who wants a home-cooked holiday meal without the fuss!”  As in year’s past, the menu (turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, green bean casserole, pumpkin pie, pecan pie and classic cheesecake) will be “100% organic, 0% GMOs and 100% homemade from American family recipes.” To come for lunch, no reservations are needed...just show up. For takeaway or delivery, please order with Rick before Tuesday Nov. 22 at 5 pm: +33 (0)6 81 34 85 74, 

Once again my friend Jon Chiri, an American chef with 20+ years experience working in Provence, will offer a Thanksgiving lunch at Cuisine Centr'Halles, his cafe and cooking school at Les Halles, the wonderful indoor food market in Avignon. On Thursday Nov. 25, Jon invites you to join his family for a special holiday lunch from 11:30 am to 2:15 pm (when Les Halles closes). The Thanksgiving Plat du Jour (turkey with Jon's version of accoutrements) will be 24€ ...or 30€ with pumpkin pie. Wine and soft drinks are extra. To reserve:, +33 (0)6 46 89 85 33.

At the restaurant L’Epicerie in Beaucaire, the charming chef/owner Christine Nief is all fired up to host her annual Thanksgiving fête, at lunch and dinner, on Thurs Nov. 25. Seating is communal at large tables for 12. Expect to pay 25 to 30€ per person (with a couple glasses of wine) and there’s likely be live music in the evening. Christine will also offer Thanksgiving foods for takeaway but no details or prices are available yet. To book: +33 (0)7 85 40 38 20, The restaurant has no website but they’re on Facebook here.

Just added! In Nimes, at Gamel restaurant in the charming Place d'Esclafidous, Christian and Morgane are offering a three-course Thanksgiving menu for €35 pp.  Christian used to cook Thanksgiving feasts when he worked in London and is very au fait with what's required!  It's available at lunch or dinner but you must mention Thanksgiving when you reserve. To do that, send a message via Facebook or call: +33 (0)4 66 36 25 80. 

Just added! In Mazan, the Cafe du Siecle will offer a Thanksgiving menu all day. Details weren't available yet when I checked in but it'll be be roughly 15 to 20 euros per person for three courses. Check their website for more info or reach out: +33 (0)4 90 66 9689,


Thanksgivings in Paris Clubs

The American University Clubs of France (which promotes networking, cultural and business-related events for all American University alumni in France), invites you to their traditional Thanksgiving dinner on Thursday, Nov 18 at 7 pm at the Ecole Militaire. Founded in 1750 by Louis XVI for the training of military officers, the Ecole Militaire is an important heritage site that’s normally closed to the public so this is rare opportunity to enjoy exclusive access. A four-course meal will be served, starting with an aperitif and ending with pecan pie. (A vegetarian main course will unfortunately not be offered.) Wine and soft drinks are included. Registration is limited to alumni of American universities that are members of the AUC and their guests...150 people max. Price: 67€. Ticket sales close Nov. 11. For security purposes, you’ll be asked to provide an official ID to enter the building; mask and Pass Sanitaire are also required. Tickets will be sold until November 11 only; order them on Event Brite hereQuestions?

The American Club of Paris will hold its annual Thanksgiving at the Musée de la Chasse et de la Nature (Paris 3ème) on Friday Nov. 26 at 7:30 pmThis private hunting and nature museum in the heart of the Marais has been described by Smithsonian Magazine as "one of the most rewarding and inventive in Paris."  The evening includes pre-dinner Champagne , an elegant Thanksgiving dinner and after-dinner drinks in the bar.  The dress code is evening attire/black tie optional and roughly 50 people are expected. Pass Sanitaire or equivalent health pass required. Members 160€; non-members and guests 190€. All the info and registration is here. Questions?, +33 (0)1 47 23 64 36.

And in a Paris Church...

The American Church in Paris (65 quai d’Orsay) will host a Thanksgiving meal on Saturday Nov. 27 at 5:30 pm. A traditional turkey dinner with trimmings is 27€ for adults, 21€ for kids. Seats (limited due to pandemic restrictions) are available to the general public on the website; purchase online and pick up on the day of the event. Also, Pastor Jodi Fondell tells me the annual ACP  Thanksgiving day service will be Nov. 25 at 12:15, with music, a speaker and coffee reception afterwards. The public is very welcome but a Pass Sanitaire will be required.

Thanksgiving in Paris Restaurants

Thanksgiving dinner at Ralph’s Restaurant, in Ralph Lauren’s elaborately appointed store on the Blvd. St.-Germain, is fully booked. But not to worry... each year, more and more Paris restaurants are offering their own. Here are a few of the most-popular ones.

The Hard Rock Cafe in Paris will celebrate Nov. 25 to 28. Details are here.

Thanksgiving at Ô Chateau has become a beloved Parisian tradition. It’s Thursday Nov 25 and all the info is here

The American/Canadian owned restaurant Sunday in Soho will offer both dine in and delivery/takeaway Thanksgiving meals for three days: Nov. 25, 26 and 27. Click for info here.  

On Thursday, Nov. 25, Michelin-starred chef Fabienne Eymard at the Parisian bistro Benoit invites you for farm turkey stuffed with wild mushrooms, with cranberries, gravy and sweet potato gratin (48€). For details and reservations, click here or reach out:, +33 (0)1 42 72 25 76. 

Lindsey and Justin Kent will offer Thanksgiving for eat in or takeaway at Milagro (85 Avenue Bosquet) on Nov 25, 26 and 27. The menu: turkey, sweet potato gratin, mashed potatoes, gravy, cornbread stuffing, kale and Brussels-sprout salad, green beans and pumpkin pie tart with whipped cream. It’s 50€ pp, by reservation only.  Takeaway order deadline is Nov 18. Details and booking here.

Breakfast in America has two Paris locations but will offer Thanksgiving only at the one at 17, rue des Ecoles in the 5th. Seatings are at 6 pm and 8 pm on Thursday Nov 25.  It’s €39.95 and all the details are here.

Thanksgiving Baking Class

The cooking school La Cuisine Paris offers popular mixed-group Thanksgiving cooking and baking classes but they sell out super quickly and, alas, they’re already booked. But all is not can still take their Thanksgiving baking class on a private basis, throughout the holiday week. See the details here then reach out to them to check your preferred date.

Where to Get Supplies, in Paris and Online

The Real McCoy is the Parisian go-to for American foods, particularly at holiday time.  In their shop (no mail order) they’re selling fresh farm-bred turkeys...or they’ll even roast and package it for you with stuffing and roasting juices. (Be sure to order at least a few days ahead.) The Real McCoy also sells pecan and pumpkin pies, cheesecakes and a wide selection of Thanksgiving products such as fresh cranberries and canned cranberry sauce, turkey gravy, stuffing mix, cornbread mix, pie crusts and fillings, yams, turkey bags, basters and more. They’re at 194 Rue de Grenelle, 75007 Paris, +33 (0)1 45 56 00 00, No website but find them on Facebook here sells lots of things you’ll likely need to prepare your holiday feast: cranberry sauce, canned pumpkin, cornbread mix, gravy, corn syrup and more. They also have ingredients and treats for other holidays, too, such as eggnog and candy canes. They are 100% online and will deliver pretty much anywhere in the world. The company uses various couriers but plan to order by Nov. 14 to get your goodies sent to you anywhere in France  in time. Specific Thanksgiving foods are on a special page here. If you have questions, the contact form is here...or call +33 (0)5 34 50 47 36.

Above: The much-loved, often-parodied painting is Norman Rockwell's "Freedom from Want" from 1942. Everyone in it was a Rockwell family member or friend; they were photographed individually and painted into the scene. Learn more about the painting and artist here

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Want To Talk About It?

Periodically people ask me where they can get counselling in Provence in’s not so easy to find. So when I come across someone really good who does just that, I’m very happy to share the info.

After training and then working as a therapist in London for four years, my friend Jitesh Odedra has officially hung out his counselling shingle in Tarascon.  

Since moving from London to Provence in 2015, Jitesh has done a variety of jobs including teaching English and consulting to the European Union on their Erasmus Program.

Last year, however, he realized he really missed the intimacy of the work--and saw how Covid amplified a need for therapy--so he decided to update his certification so he could practice here in France.

I did some sessions with Jitesh early this year and found them extremely rewarding.  

Jitesh practices “humanistic counselling” which has developed over the past 60 years within the larger field of professional psychology. 

“The focus is predominantly on the individual’s unique story and their potential to explore,” he says. “It includes self-learning, creativity, acceptance and empathy. My goal is to create a space that’s non-judgmental, supportive and understanding, in a setting that’s always safe and confidential.”

Above all, humanistic counselling adheres to the belief that the client has vast resources for self-understanding, for altering their attitudes and for putting new more-constructive behaviors in place.

“The approach focuses on you and your world,” Jitesh continues, “and provides an empathetic, attentive and accepting space in which you can explore the past, present and future, instead of concentrating on one specific period of time. I believe that our stories, memories and feelings are a good starting point. Therapy enables one to change focus and navigate life in a different direction. Culture and cultural differences make this journey richer and more challenging."

Jitesh works in English and in French, in person and online, for individuals, couples and families of all nationalities. His bright, pretty office in Tarascon is located in a renovated priory adjacent to the Eglise Saint-Jacques, in the heart of the village. Personally, I love the guy and find him funny, insightful, discrete, compassionate and wise...and I think you would too.  You’ll find his bio, prices and other details on his website below. 

Jitesh Odedra
+33 (0)6 16 36 52 62
Ancien Presbytere de St Jacques
Place St Jacques (Rue Emile Zola)
Tarascon 13150

Thursday, September 23, 2021

Win a Three-Week Stay in Provence!

Having led art retreats in Provence for four years now, Nicky Ginsberg has just moved her NG Art Creative Residency & Gallery into a beautiful new space...and she’s giving away a three-week residency in Provence to celebrate. The deadline is October 1 and all the details are below.

Previously based in a lovely old farmhouse in Eygalieres, Nicky’s international non-profit arts association is now permanently settled into a renovated 17 th-century olive mill, nestled in the foothills of the Alpilles mountains. It’s just outside the village of Maussane, a stone’s throw from the historic medieval hilltown of Les Baux.

Christened Moulin de Gréoux some 400 years ago, the grand old property offers international artists, writers, poets, musicians, performers, filmmakers, photographers, academic scholars and other creatives “a place of respite, nourishment and enlightenment to enrich their creative process.”

Moulin de Gréoux was lovingly renovated by previous owners to retain many vestiges from its agricultural past, such as vaulted ceilings, wooden beams, stone troughs and its original olive press. The old stone walls and cathedral-like interior are now home to five guestrooms, a large kitchen, shared studio/atelier, gallery, arts library, piano room and indoor swimming pool. For artists working with clay or other materials, there’s a covered outdoor wet area along with shaded terraces, landscaped gardens and more.

Artists in residence enjoy quiet time to work but also the opportunity to mingle with the public and international visitors at festive dinners, musical soirées, cooking workshops and exclusive vernissage (art opening) events. This open-door philosophy allows residents to showcase their work to a local and wider global audience.

Residents can also participate in communal dinners, cooking workshops with local and international chefs, soirées and performance evenings, professional development and mentorship, seasonal studio exhibits, gallery exhibits, outings of cultural  interest and various networking and collaborative opportunities.

Nicky, a long-time gallery owner, entrepreneur and creative director, founded  the program and now runs it with her partner, aspiring artist Edwin Holder-Vale. (The couple met two years ago in a cooking class in Greece...awww!). You can read Nicky’s bio here and follow Edwin on Instagram here.

For residencies at Moulin de Gréoux, there are four different pricing options starting at €500 a week per person. The program includes accommodation, breakfast and dinner daily, transportation to and from the residency and use of a car and bike for the duration of your stay. If needed, you’ll also have studio space including work stations, easels, professional hanging systems and projectors.

There are also subsidized residencies and a number of sponsorships and prizes offered throughout the year.

If you’re looking to immerse yourself in your work amidst spectacular, natural surroundings, I can’t think of a nicer place to do it. Steeped in Provençal history, the area boasts olive groves and mills, vineyards and wineries, a large sheep farm, picturesque town squares, scores of restaurants and cafes and myriad historic sites dating to Roman times and beyond. And it’s all bathed in that famous light that inspired Van Gogh, Cézanne and so many others.

Ok so...on to the contest! The giveaway includes a three-week complimentary residency, breakfast and dinner daily, full use of the arts studio, professional development and mentorship, use of a car, en plein air activities, meeting art enthusiasts and like- minded creative folk, the opportunity to exhibit in a dedicated gallery and more.

To enter, you must be on Instagram so this is a great time to sign up if you haven’t. Then follow @ngartcreativeresidency, share their latest post (dated September 19) to your stories and tag them. Finally, leave a comment about why you want to win! The winner will be contacted via Instagram on Friday October 1. (And while you're at it, please follow me too! I'm here.)

If you miss this chance or don’t win this time around, you can learn all about the residency program and application process on the NG Art Creative website. Future contests and news will be announced via social media and in Nicky’s newsletter, so be sure to sign up for it by clicking the subscribe tab on the website.  

Bonne Chance...and hope to see you in Provence!

Photos: (1, 2) This 17th-century olive mill in Maussane has been converted into a beautiful live-and-work space for creatives of all types. Win the Instagram contest and you'll stay here three weeks. (3) Communal dinners are fresh, local, seasonal, colorful and, I hear, perfectly delicious. No starving artists here! (4) One of the five guestrooms. (5) Previous owners did most of the renovation and built a large lovely pool in an old barn.  (6) The shared studio/atelier is large enough for four people to work at a time. (7) An artist-in-residence doing his thing en plein air. (8) Come in May/June when the poppies are blooming and you'll get to paint scenes like this. (9) Everyone is welcome to use the large, beautiful kitchen. (10) In its new home, the residency program will operate year round. In cooler months, dinners may be served in the dramatic vaulted dining room. (11) Lovely terraces provide quiet spaces for work, lunches and more. (12) One of the pretty restaurants on the town square in Maussane. (13) The first group of artists-in-residence at the Moulin this summer. (14) Nicky and Edwin met in a cooking class and quickly discovered shared passions such as art, travel and Provence.