The Fondation Patrimoine of Menerbes has just published a book on the Priory of St Esteve.

This book has special significance for us as our beloved (ex-) neighbours Jean-Pierre and Genevieve were intimately involved in the archeological project of discovery.

Just over 30 years ago, JP/G decided to excavate in front of their- then – holiday home in Menerbes for a garden. What lay under was a Priory which had existed from Roman times and had its zenith in the 5th Century.

The garden project was halted for nearly two years as the archeologists from Avignon descended and discovered a mini-village and the home of St Castor of Apt.

Here are some pics from the book:

Book Cover

Excavation Site - Top right is Bastide les Amis!

Left hand side: Sarcopage of St Castor (now our pool fountain)

Sarcopage with ancient bones

Another view of our house and of the excavation site. Person right foreground is a much younger Jean-Pierre.

For copies of this book (which is in French only), contact the Mairie of Menerbes or if in the area, the local Epicerie has copies. Alternatively contact this site and we will forward requests.

Visitors to Provence marvel at our lavender fields. They’re at their peak in July each year but still make great viewing throughout the year.

Down the road from us is Coustellet – a non- descript working village, dedicated to the local farmers but a hidden gem. Home to the best ‘peasant market’ in the Luberon (every Sunday morning), Coustellet is also the home of the Lavender Museum.

On a recent trip there – great shot for all things lavender – we discovered more details about the two major types of lavender: Lavender and Lavendin.

Fine Lavender grows on the arid mountains of Provence over an altitude of 800 metres.Only a single flower grows on its small stem, and it reproduces by seeding. It has always been used for its medicinal properties and has been called the ‘blue gold’ by perfume manufacturers.

130kg of flowers are needed to to obtain 1 litre of essential oil by the distilling process. In a good year, a one hectare plantation can yield up to 25 litres of essential oil.

A vial of essential Lavener oil

A vial of essential Lavener oil

Lavendine, however, grows at much lower altitudes (0-800m). It is a tall plant with two branches and grows in large clumps. It is a hybrid between fine lavender and ‘spike’ lavender. To reproduce, you have to take cuttings – it is sterile.

Growing of lavendine started in the 190s and it has great commercial properties. Often confused with fine lavender, it is used not only for medicinal properties but also for cleaning, detergent and other industry products.

The iconic sachets found at every Provencal market contain lavendine. 40kg of flowers are need to provide 1 litre of essential lavendine oil.

Can there be a more Provencal picture than this?

Can there be a more Provencal picture than this?

While we don’t want to turn LSW into  a forum for dedications and birthdays, three firm friends of the site have all clocked over another year these past few days:

On Wednesday, Sylvie of Montpellier

Bernard, Sylvie and Martine

Bernard, Sylvie and Martine

On Saturday, Penny of Stanford

Penny in Goult

Penny in Goult

On Sunday, Genevieve of Montpellier

Madame, Genevieve, Jean-Pierre and Jose (when the sun was shining!)

Bon anniversaire!!


Rupert Murdoch’s News Corp is now dipping its toes into the paywall regional newsaper market with a test on the Cape Cod Times.

Now, LSW knows the CCT well – riveting copy about the latest fishing gains on the Cape, the exploits of the Hyannis councillors and the latest knitting patterns for the good ladies of the Cape. And, let’s not forget nostalgic reviews of the acts playing at the Melody Tent in Chatham.

Will people pay for this?

The week's "Staff Picture Choice"

The week's "Staff Picture Choice"

Time will tell!

Chasing from behind the proverbial 8-ball with last week’s post!

Penny and David are on a tight and full schedule – how to see as much as possible in as short as possible time. We kicked off the week after an incident free touch down at Mariganane, with a visit to the supposed Beaujolais Festival in Goult. Well, the Beaujolais was there, but no festival! Not sure what happened there.

However, it gave us the opportunity to stroll around the village of Goult without the pressing need to occupy a table at Cafe de la Poste. It’s a typical medieval village but seldom over run by tourists. The windmill is a particularly interesting sight, as well as many winding streets. Unfortunately, at this time of the year, there is precious little village life and most of the houses are shuttered up.

View from the top of Goult over the valley

View from the top of Goult over the valley

The Goult windmill at sunset

The Goult Windmill

Friday was Penny’s first market at Louramin. Although much smaller than the usual summer crush, it came up trumps and acres of linen found its way into the little plastic bags. Not to mention the cheese, sauccisson and other delectables which were tasted and fawned over.

Penny browsing the linen in Louramin

The entrance to the Louramin market

Having started to watch A Good Year the previous evening a visit to Cuceron and Restaurant L’Etaing was a must. Patrick did not disappoint with a starter of endive soup a taste sensation.

Endive Soup!

Menu du Jour - L'Etaing in Cuceron

On Sunday we had a most welcome visit from our Montpellier friends, Jean-Pierre and Genevieve, Robert and Sylvie and they brought with them Bernard and Martine from Geneva.

Madame, Bernard ad Sylvie

Madame surpassed herself with a starter of poached salmon garnished with shrimps, pork belly with plum sauce and all the trimmings and then the cheese. Bernard as the “Chairman of Tiramasu”, provided the dessert. The table was silent!

George M had kindly sent some McIvor Shiraz from Oz which was pronounced ‘excellent’ by the cogniscenti.

Jose and Nicholas put in a big week with our new wall and paving. Nicholas was in his element with the earth mover/digger loader.

Nicholas discovered a large 'worm' - with Madame

Big toys for Boys

Au bientot: Lovonne and Simon xx

Sorry – an amazing pic:

Pic from John Warwick - Kruger Park, South Africa

Pic from John Warwick - Kruger Park, South Africa

Some time back, we wrote about the Menerbes herald being two keys – to symbolise the fact that there were two entrances to the village in medieval times.

We snapped the badge on our French Resistance memorial which stands at one of the entrances to the village. Here you can see the two keys, a stylised “MB” and a relief of the village walls.

The crooks are always coming up with something new.

South African readers and visitors are warned about a new scam – particularly at Caltex Service Stations – you are offered a ‘free’ promotional key ring. Inside the key ring is a GPS tracker dot to allow the criminals to follow you, highjack or do whatever.


There's the dot inside!

There's the GPS dot inside!

A Broadsheet (The Age) has a different take on life compared to a Tabloid (Herald Sun)

It’s apparent that the Venerable Northern Territory News is determined to have Wills and Kate have their honeymoon in the Top End.

Here’s another gem from the paper:

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