We are approaching the end of our summer courses in a year that has proved a difficult one for France. I would like to thank all of you who continue to support us and make our work so enjoyable. It is hard to believe that Language In Provence has now been a part of life in St Saturnin for more than 15 years.
Francis, our French host, continues to provide a warm and truly gastronomic welcome for his house guests. This year our students have enjoyed to the full the two beautifully renovated bedrooms, one with spectacular views, that he has been working on in his fascinating 18th century village house. The other bedrooms have been redecorated and refurbished and are as full of charm as ever. There are photos of Francis’s accommodation on our website accommodation page.
Our teaching team, Salima, Gina, Gio and this season Agnes, are familiar to many of you and you have continued to enjoy their approach and stimulating classes.
I understand from a number of Australian students that some of you are only picking up old dates and posts on this blog. I have taken this up with our website manager and we are investigating why this problem exists in Australia.
Many of you ask to see as many photos as possible and I have taken to posting more on our Facebook page, Language in provence, and our Instagram page Language in provence (newly created). You can follow my personal Instagram on Susan Bento.
And what changes in our little village? For the moment very little apart from a new crèche and health centre which are under construction, and we have heard that a new relaxed dining bar/restaurant will be opening shortly. During this summer season we have many concerts and theatre events to enjoy in the village, especially on Wednesday evenings when theatre performances take place near the old village reservoir.
Everyone comments on how much they enjoy the truly local feel of the village and I think that is what makes St Saturnin so special.
We’ve had a brilliant time the last few weeks. Exceptionally kind weather, amazing new garden discoveries for our Glorious Gardens week, lunch with student friends old and new in the wild surroundings of the goat farm on top of the Luberon mountains and a cooking class in St Rémy where we laughed all day – and congratulated ourselves on the lunch we’d prepared .
Many thanks to all our students who so willingly took the plunge, joined in the spirit of discovering the other Provence and shared our passion for the French language and the French people who good-humouredly co-operated with all our projects. You’re welcome back any time!
OUR VISIT TO LE JARDIN DE LA LOUVE AT BONNIEUX – WITH GLORIA & ANGELA. A GREEN GARDEN, PART OF AN OLD VILLAGE HOME, SITTING PEACEFULLY AT THE FOOT OF THE LUBERON
LUNCH AT GIANNI’S GOAT FARM AT SIVERGUES WITH STUDENTS & FAMILY. CHEESE DELIGHTS – AMONGST MANY OTHER THINGS.
AND FINALLY OUR COOKING DAY IN ST RÉMY. WE SHOPPED WITH THE CHEF, CHOPPED AND STIRRED WITH THE CHEF, LAUGHED WITH THE CHEF AND OF COURSE ATE LUNCH WE’D PREPARED. YUMMY!
We are always looking for ‘new’ excursions for our students and like to support local people with vision, energy and passion who are determined to realise their dream. We have always tried to show our students the other Provence, off the beaten track, inhabited by fascinating people away from the big tourist centres.
Yesterday we were lucky enough to visit the gardens of Roseline Giorgis at L’Isle sur la Sorgue. Daughter of a parfumier from Grasse she is passionate about plants, permaculture, biodiversity and of course roses. In the gentle afternoon sunshine we had a very informative visit, learnt a lot about roses and their perfume and understood what hard work it takes to realise a dream like this.
If you would like to arrange a visit (by appointment) you can contact her on her website : www.rosedesarts.com
We’re back in full swing now at the school and enjoying the rhythm of spring in Provence. After a mild winter and rain early in the season the wild flowers are stunning.
Angela, our Australian student who first came to school three years ago and has since become a firm friend and great lover of St Saturnin, has YES! bought the house she dreamed of in St Saturnin. Here are the happy photos of her on the day of the signing – we had a party to celebrate with our French host Francis. When she moves into her house Angela is going to miss Francis’s cooking but I think she will be a regular visitor chez lui. Francis wrote a very touching poem in French to welcome Angela to St Saturnin. We are thrilled to have her here.
Yesterday we had a delightful afternoon at the gardens of Salagon at Mane. The mistral wind was blowing but we managed to find sheltered spots and the spring garden was well worth seeing. We finished the afternoon with a visit to the pretty town of Forcalquier. The shopping there is excellent and very tempting when you have just bought your house in Provence!
Francis and I spent a few quiet moments in one of the ‘world’ gardens at Salagon.
We still have some places available on our spring and summer courses – come and see us!
Well March has certainly arrived in style – sunny, showery, strong winds and then! gentle moments of calm when we spy soft blossoms about to explode and Provence in its spring best revealed in time for Easter. The almond blossom is bursting out everywhere in the Luberon Valley as I write and within a week or two the valley will be a mass of dazzling white cherry blossom.
February is always a quiet month here. It coincides with the half-term break for schools and everyone is encouraged to head for the mountains. Over the last few years many businesses have chosen to take advantage of this calm period and close for a break. If you want few tourists, quiet roads, no parking problems (usually ‘gratuit’ at this time of year) and longer days then it’s a great time to visit.
Then with the arrival of March suddenly everyone changes to spring mode. Shops, cafés and restaurants are freshly painted, gardens and borders planted, markets are opening everywhere and there’s a welcoming atmosphere in the towns and villages. Spring in Provence is fantastic!
Our immersion courses are starting now and we have places available for our French Immersion with Villages and Vineyards starting 26 April. It’s a perfect time to explore and Provence will be an explosion of colour.
Another treat on our spring programme this year is French Immersion with Must See Markets AND a cooking class beginning 10 May. This will appeal to all of you who love to explore different corners of our colourful region and the markets bursting with colour. And it will be a real bonus to have a chance to cook some of those wonderful ingredients you see on display in the markets and try out your French with local people. Our French hosts are great cooks too and provide a generous welcome to all our student clients.
We are easy to contact through our website, Facebook or by phone. Look forward to hearing from you.
Need something to tempt you in the gloomy winter months….? The euro is weak and the American and Australian dollars are strong so what better time to let us tempt you!
We have a really fantastic programme of language and culture on offer here in St Saturnin lès Apt. The village is not only scenically stunning but friendly and lively too. We have great little bars and restaurants and an enormous village swimming pool which opens in the peak summer months. St Saturnin is surrounded by walking, hiking and biking trails and the village cultural association organises an extensive programme of music and drama events from spring to autumn. At the same time the village is truly authentic – fiercely proud of its history and heritage – and yet with an ‘esprit ouvert’, open to visitors and new residents alike.
And this is what French immersion is all about. Welcoming and helpful local people who are pleased to see you and show it, French hosts who understand their village and region – and are wonderful cooks too, a small school with brilliant teachers who are experienced and ‘sympathique’, visits and excursions that reveal the splendour of this region that we love so much (often off the beaten track) and French French French French à gogo – as they say here!
Have a look at our programmes, pick the one the suits you and come and join us. We guarantee you’ll make new friends, learn lots of French and share our passion for Provence.
The picture below shows the beautiful 17th century ‘shell’ bridge near Buoux in the Luberon. Our local walking group chose it as a destination for a recent morning hike – we have had amazing winter weather this year and it was well worth the effort.
An another stunning sunset view of St Saturnin ………
And finally for today another enthusiastic member of the Language In Provence team, Olivia, who enjoyed a few moments of companionship with her new friend Jack in the sunny village last weekend.
On a rather dull day here in St Saturnin I think back to those wonderful sun-drenched days we have had this year. True, our summer was not as hot as usual (not always a bad thing when we want to make the most of time outside the classroom) but the lavender was early and heart-stoppingly beautiful on the high plains that we love to visit so much.
The autumn has been one of the best in recent memory with balmy days and glowing colours. The only disappointing aspect of the unusual weather conditions throughout southern Europe this year is the failure of the olive harvest. Usually at this time our local olive mill is working at full tilt, the olive groves are full of local people picking from dawn to dusk and there is a real sense of industry. This year the fields are deserted and the mill is barely working. And it is the same sad story throughout Italy and Spain.
At the last minute we added a new ‘theme’ to our Discover Provence weeks and included a truffle visit. It was a revelation to us all. We loved the tour of the truffle farm with the two little dogs who gaily dug away to find the buried treasure, and the champagne aperitifs with truffle delicacies were truly delicious – especially the brownie with truffle crème anglaise, yum!
Our dear friend Francis, M. Jullien, has continued to be a superb host to many of our students. We have been treated to wonderful meals and aperitifs dinatoires crafted by him. The warm hospitality of his dining table and his great food are not quickly forgotten. His anecdotes of local life and history are as entertaining as ever and his cooking continues to be both traditional and adventurous. At the moment it is his nougat-making season. With the season’s fresh almonds and local lavender honey he makes delicious bars of nougat. His home is full of the aroma of these local ingredients bubbling away in his copper cauldron!
He was telling me a little story the other day… he has a small cottage in the village, just opposite his main house, which is sometimes used by our students. He has recently carried out a number of renovations and while visiting the cottage with him I asked about the history of the little building. ‘Oh,’, he said, ‘my grandfather bought this little cottage at the beginning of the last century.’ ‘For any particular purpose?’ I asked, knowing that the family had a farm and a lot of farm buildings. ‘Yes,’ he said, ‘He wanted somewhere to leave his donkey when he came to church on Sunday.’ I suppose you could call it secure parking, traditional style!
Despite it being the quieter season we are still busy with lots of French courses here at the school. We have welcomed many old friends this year and thank them for their continued support and have been thrilled to make so many new ones. We are open throughout the year so don’t hesitate to ask if you would like to do something that isn’t posted on the site.
I have now posted the dates of next year’s courses. These may be modified slightly but rest assured, if you book for a particular course on a particular date that will not change. All the Discover Provence weeks we are offering are ones which we know are hugely enjoyable and give our students the opportunity to experience the very best of what Provence has to offer.
I’ll finish with some snaps from this year’s photo album. A bit of a mixed bag and not the best in the world (I meet some startlingly good photographers amongst you) but good memories of beautiful gardens, the Tour de France coming through St Saturnin, Van Gogh and St Remy, our school and village and of course some of Francis’s aperitif delights. I have also taken the liberty of including a photo I took recently at the Tower of London. We love the swathes of poppies we see in the countryside here in Provence during the spring and early summer months but I must say the ceramic poppy display in London to commemorate the centenary of the start of WW1 was particularly poignant.
Hope to see you next year.
June is a brilliant month here – colours, countryside, food and all things associated with them.
We have visited gardens, Van Gogh’s hospital at St Rémy, the Carrières de Lumières at Les Baux, not to mention festivals, fêtes, markets,vineyards; relaxed restaurants and the cafes of St Saturnin.
Here are just a few of our pics!
Sorry…. more pics to follow shortly!
Apologies to students, friends and followers for the long absence of updated news from Language In Provence. No excuses, just a busy schedule, lots of courses and a new learning year to welcome in.
Already this year we have had some very enjoyable weeks as part of our Discover Provence programme. Roaming the Rosés with our wine guide Abdel has been fun with visits to amazing places like the Chateau de Beaucastel in Chateauneuf du Pape, one of the famous domaines of the region. We have also managed to see some of our favourites – the Carrières de Lumières at Les Baux de Provence (a wonderful projected exhibition of the works of Klimt), as well as some of our favourite gardens and villages.
Francis our host is continuing to entertain his student guests. He has rethought aperitif hour this year and tempts us with the most amazing array of flavours, each displayed on its own little spoon.
Last night a big basket of fresh cherries awaited our students, freshly picked from his family’s orchards. These little fruits bring real sunshine at the end of May. We have had windy, cloudy weather this week so they have been a welcome ray of delight!
Evening view of the Luberon from Fontaine de Guby
We have many more visits planned as well as a full programme of French learning in the months to come. We have some availability for June and July and a little for September and October. If you are interested in lavender, gardens, Van Gogh, glorious villages, stunning landscapes, local life and amazing food and wine combined with really enjoyable French classes please get in touch with me and we’ll see what we can do. And if you live locally, are visiting the region or only have a limited amount of time you are welcome to join us for classes only.