10 Mar 2012


I had never been on a real fishmarket along the sea where the fishes were fished early morning and sold as soon as they were ready and displayed on a table.

I had never lived at the sea either and I have always been a city girl. So when I discovered all these fishes in all shapes, I found them rather ugly and thought that I prefer them already cleaned and cut into handy pieces and if possible without bones. I certainly didn't want to see a smiling fish head in my pan.

When I went to the fishmarket in Sanary at the French Riviera I certainly wasn't prepared to see how a dead fish looks like, the once I know were swimming in acquariums mostly in waiting rooms of dentists ! They think it calms your nerves looking at swimming little fishes. We even had once two mini fishes, a black and a red one swimming in a round bowl, which belonged to my son and which one of our cats had catched, played with them and I found the corpses under the table !

The market started with seafood. I saw the first urchins of my life. As they are called "Oursins" in French which means little bears I thought little hedgehogs would be more appropriate ! They looked quiet funny but the spikes were very sharp when I touched one.

Next came oisters, mussels and shrimps. All this I knew nicely wrapped from the Supermarket. The fish eyes looked quiet cross at me.

Claudie bought one, which was a female we have been told because it was full of eggs. Fortunately it was cleaned for us but everything the woman took out of the fish was rather disgusting and as a last gesture she cut the head off and throw everything in the bin, except the fish of course, which was wrapped in paper.

I saw another fish who had been busy to swallow a smaller one, when it was surprised by a fisher's net I suppose and killed. Now I don't know if you eat them both or not. Canibals under fishes ! A horror movie.

These charming looking calamars (I suppose they were) were certainly fresh, but honnestly if I imagine them in my kitchen, I think I would escape, although I like to eat them but already cut into pieces and breaded and not looking like monsters from another world.

I must admit that the fishes we ate were phantastic and very tasty, but still I prefer to see spices, vegetables and potatoes on a market !

Fortunately I didn't have any nightmare where a big fish swallowed me and I was sitting in its stomac !

9 Mar 2012


more participants at Susanne at Living to tell the Story.

1. After having driven Claudie's daughter to Aix en Provence where she lives and goes to University, we quickly returned home because the Mistral wind was blowing so strongly and it was ice cold !
Fortunately it stopped in the afternoon as sudden as it had started.

2. Before going shopping in Ollioules we went down to the seafront and had our crèpes (pancakes) for lunch, salty of course.

As you can see they were real huge and served with a bowl of cider.


Claudie was looking for curtains for her kitchen and we found these nice once for a very good price we also bought some doormats and other little useful things for the new built house.

I like to go shopping in another country, now it's so easy to compare prices because we all pay in Euros except the English, Danish, Swedish and Norvegian "Europeans". They have to have their calculator and convert.


Here is our space for blogging, where we were busy to answer emails and I wrote my posts.

On my last evening we had local mussels with French fries, the mussels had another taste and were smaller as those I am used to in Belgium.


The last glance on the property and the two watchdogs from the neighbor who barked me good bye, one was so fat that I wonder if he would have been able to catch me ! Then Claudie drove me to the airport in Marseille, where I took my flight back home.

I arrived 45 min late and poor Mr. G. was waiting over an hour, he was there far too early. The plane had been delayed because of the strong wind in Brussels and when I arrived it was raining cats and dogs. The short way from the airport gate to the car and we were both completely wet.
Arrived at home I was greeted by an equally wet Arthur !

Who dried himself on the table.

8 Mar 2012


Jenny Matlock
more participants at Jenny Matlock's Alphabet Thursday

For my last day of holidays in Ollioules (French Riviera) I just wanted to go to the seafront in Sanaray. I loved this place for its beautiful little old houses along the seafront and of course the palm trees !

The winter had been unusually cold up to - 10 °C (13 F) which hadn't happened in ages, and some of the palms were damaged by the frost as most palms grow in the tropics. But now they are recovering (hopefully) in the warm sunshine.

Under the palms youngsters were playing handball while others walked along the seafront. One of a sick palm had been cut into a rather strange shape.

We choose a little Snack restaurant were you had an enormous choice of pancakes, sweet or salty. I personally prefer them salty. We could sit outside in the sun and ordered our "crèpes", that's the name of the French pancakes. They have another shape than the once in the States or in the UK. They are very thin and rolled around the filling.

I had one with mushed eggplants and goat cheese. It was delicious.

I made a little collage of the French pancakes, as you can see they are served with salmon, goat cheese and vegetables, chicken or bacon.

After lunch and a little walk we went visiting Claudie's sister in law just for a short visit.

To end the day, we spent the afternoon shopping, I helped Claudie to choose curtains and other little things for the new house.

Now I am back home and was welcomed by a heavy rain and 4°C (39 F) !

7 Mar 2012


The school holidays were over so we drove Claudie's daughter to Aix-en-Provence to her little student flat. After we had left her we wanted to visit the town, but there was such a strong and cold Mistral wind which only exists in the South, that it was impossible to enjoy a walk. We were almost blown away. Although the temperature was around 15°C you got the impression that you were at the North Pole !

So we had a quick walk along the main street with all it's shops, cafés and restaurants so at least I had an overview of the city which must be very beautiful once the trees are blooming and it's a little warmer. We had a delicious pancake with chicken and goat cheese in a little Snack before we took the highway back to Sanary to have a coffee at the seafront. I love this little town with its habour and all the sailing boats.

And we were lucky we dropped in the middle of a carnival festivity with kids and adults in various funny costumes and the mascot of the carnival procession asked me to pose with him for a picture. The mistral was blowing a little less at the seaside, but still, so we didn't stay long and returned home. With the fire burning in the stove it was warm and cosy and we blogged and chatted the whole afternoon while the mistral was howling around the house !

When you read this I am probably sitting in the plane, returning home to Waterloo, with a heavy heart !

6 Mar 2012


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Since I arrived in Ollioules at the French Riviera, the almond trees in Claudie's property started to bloom and yesterday I could take this picture.

Early on Sunday morning we drove to the Fish market in Sanary where the fishermen sell their freshly fished fish (tongue twister), oysters, mussels, urchins etc. She bought a big fish, which was baked with different vegetables and potatoes slices all together in the stove. Her sister and husband came over for lunch and we had urchins as starter. Now that I know them I love them !

at the fish market

I don't know what this was, but it looked rather odd !

After lunch we drove to the sea again and had a coffee at the seafront of Sanary, watching the boats and people.

The habour

a strangely cut palm trunk

A painter exposed his paintings

We also visited the exposition of this famous photographer, whose photos from around 1920 of the little towns along the sea were exposed.

In the evening her husband had prepared a pizza which was delicious.

5 Mar 2012


In the afternoon we went together with Claudie's sister and her husband near Six Fours where we climbed up high into the mountains to the Cape Sicié . It represents one of the most southern points of the French Riviera. Its summit is 352 meters, and on the top sits the chapel of Our Lady of May, and it is also the culmination of the highest cliff by the sea in Europe.

It was rather hard to walk up but the view from there was just breathtaking, although the weather was a little foggy over the sea.

Still a few meters to walk to get to the summit !

Going down was easier but we all were happy to sit down at the beach in Brusc a little town at the sea.

When we came home we changed into our "evening dresses" the Kaftans I had bought at the Brussels market, which are in velvet, very warm and comfortable. The fire in the stove was burning and it was nicely warm. After supper we watched a French Crime story !

4 Mar 2012


As the terrace is not yet built, I put a chair in the window and could take the first sunbath this year ! I even needed suncream. I was dressed in layers like an onion and from a thick cardigan over a sweater and a T-shirt I finally sat there wearing only a little sun bath top.

while Melissa Claudie's daughter had still her winter clothes on, she had to change later.

After lunch we went to Bandol a little town at the sea very much appreciated by tourists in summer.

But at this time of the year there weren't many. People played boccia, or cleaned their yachts and boats. Unfortunately at the seafront many old mansions had been destroyed and replaced by buildings with lot of flats for tourists. We made a long walk and then sat at the seafront and watched the people walking by.

Claudie's husband Pierre was busy with digging a trench to place a gate. Very hard work with this clay soil.

We had a wonderful supper with stuffed zucchinis, red and green pepper and tomatoes, grilled with olive oil and provincial herbs.