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Saturday, May 7, 2011

Foire aux Plantes, Ollioules

If you've been following the blog these past few weeks, you've probably noticed a lot of the flower talk going around. With the coming of Spring there's been a literal explosion of flower fairs & markets, and we were lucky enough to visit a very lovely one in the village of Ollioules last weekend. 

Ollioules is about 15 minutes to the north of us, just off the "autoroute" between Toulon and Aix-en-Provence. The village is very well-connected and makes a great jumping off point for exploring either the beach cities (Sanary-sur-Mer, Bandol, Cassis, etc.) or hitting some of the other spectacular villages in the area. The nearby village of Le Castellet is my all-time favorite, and the undisputed "shabby-chic" capital of our region - with boutiques taking the term "French county" to a new level.

During the rest of the year, Ollioules is host to other popular fetes, including the Fete d'Olivier which celebrates one of the glories of Provence - the beloved olive tree. And just around the corner, and duly noted in my grand calendrier, is Le Printemps des Saveurs - the best of local restuarants at petits prix (small prices). 

Besides the flowers, fetes, & food, I love visiting these "out-of-the-way" villages because you never know what you'll discover. Each one seems to be famous for one thing or another, and sometimes it requires a good look around to get a feel for the particulars. Along with having quite a quirky name, Ollioules is also home to a host of potters and local artisans. Just a quick turn off the main square & you'll find a street dedicated almost exclusively to artist studios or ateliers

Like so much of Provence, Ollioules is a great place to get lost for an afternoon, or two, and enjoy a brief glimpse into village life - as it was, and pretty much as is remains today.

Do you have a spot nearby that "transports" you to another time or era?

Tonight we're off for tapas in our own, much larger, "village"...bon weekend a tous!


  1. I love market days in small villages; such a hive of activity - both social and commercial.
    Thanks for this (especially the pics).

  2. Looks like I really should discover... there are so many places I haven't seen, yet. That's great because I still have some nice surprise left, but where do I find the time ?

    Well, for now, I just discover through your eyes ;-) thanks for sharing !

  3. Your pictures of the Ollioules flower market look lovely and the village along with Le Castellet go on my list of places to go visit when we return to Provence in July and October. Bon weekend.

  4. Wow! the images are gorgeous. I have been inspired by your blog to visit Provence. A Spanish client of mine is married to woman from Provence, and he has even given me the road directions to drive straight through from Spain.
    Unfortunately markets are not so beautiful here in Spain; more functional. This is something the French have down to an art; making everything look so aesthetically pleasing (something the Spanish haven't quite mastered yet) ;-)
    Enjoy your tapas!!

  5. No, I've never heard of Ollioules! But then again,there are so many wonderful small villages, tucked away, that are just waiting for me to discover, no? So I will add to this to my list; thanks Tuula!

  6. Paris always transports me to another time. I love her history and her beauty.

    Ditto for les villages perchés!

    Beautiful post Tuula!

  7. Gorgeous images, Tuula! That square full of flowers makes me smile. :-) I can't wait to hear about your experiences at Le Printemps des Saveurs. :-)

  8. So pretty! How lovely to stroll through a square full of flowers. :)

  9. Really appreciate all of the kind comments! There really are so many lovely spots to visit in Provence, very surprising just how big this region is!

    We had great tapas on Sat. nite, Vanessa, & I even got a real margarita, Spanish style :) Hope you get over to Provence soon, let me know if you need any "planning" help!

  10. How beautiful! You see things like that in magazines and they make you dream. Tu as de la chance that you live there :)

  11. Neat flowers. Looks like you had some great weather too.
    Our market in the main square definitely feels like a different era. There is a small flower section, and I keep thinking I need to redo my balcony boxes, but haven't made time for it.