They’ve survived their big events in 2011. A little bit of vanity to prepare for the pic but them voila! here we are again….

Standing proud and showing the way forward (and up) - the Swarovski Christmas tree in Zurich railway station, Switzerland

Stunning in its simplicity - a window display in an optician in Zurich

We found these cos lazily waking up on our walk above Vicky’s house in Oberaegerei in Switzerland.

Vence is known as the “City of Art.”  Artists flock to this little town on the Riviera, using the previous geniuses—Dufy, Matisse, Chagall, Dubuffet—as inspiration for their artwork.  Visit one of the many galleries, or simply wander around and admire the sculptures and buildings around the town.  Take a stroll down Avenue Henri Matisse and explore the Chapelle Matisse (also known as the Chapelle du Rosaire des Dominicanes de Vence).  If you’re lucky, you may even get a chance to visit an outdoor art exhibit.

This little town is not just about art; it has a great medieval history as well.  There are five medieval ports that lead into Vence: Portail Levis, Porte du Peyra, Tour-Porte du Signadour, Porte du Faubourg ou Pontis, and Porte d’Orient.  Stop by the Office de Tourisme and pick up a map for a self-guided walking tour.  Throughout Vence, there are pale-grey numbered panels that describe the historical sites on the Visite de la Cité Historique.  Don’t miss the Fountaine de la Foux, which supplies mineral water from La Foux river.  Visitors have been known to take a jug-full of the pure water!

The content of this article comes from, a great website on matters Italian and French. Have a stroll on the site.


When we started Bastide les Amis as a self-catering rental property in Menerbes, we provided our guests with a printed Guide to the property and some useful day trips and items of local interest which are often not carried in the more commercial and established Guide Books.

We’ve had such a great reaction and coupled with the growing readership of this website, we felt that we should expand the concept into a 100 page book. Lovonne’s beautiful photographs taken over the seasons, complement the words which give you a highly personalised view of the Luberon and surrounds.

From a [very] short History of Provence, to day trips, some quirky trips like discovering the secrets behind the ‘turnarounds’ (the roundabouts!) to ‘Finding your way around a French supermarket’, Footsteps has been designed to give you an insight before, during and even after your trip to Provence – no matter how many times you have been here.

Footsteps – the Luberon and Surrounds, is available from Amazon as a hard copy book or can be downloaded via the Kindle App on to your ipad, iphone or any other smart/tablet device. The price is €19.00 (GBP16.00;US$24.99;AU$25.00;ZAR206.00). Downloading the Kindle app is free – merely go to your favourite App Store.

*Currency conversions apply from US$ at time of writing, Amazon will orovde their own ruling price at purchase.

COMING SOON ON AMAZON!  To pre-order, contact:

Mountain stream and ppol - Oberaegeri, Switzerland

Happy Birthday my dearest and sweetest, not a day goes by when I do not think of you and how empty my life would be if you were not here.

With each year I’ll love you more. Remember that your best years are still ahead of you and I’ll be there for every up down and in between.

I carry your heart with me (I carry it in

my heart) I am never without it (anywhere

I go, you go my dear, and whatever is done

by only me is your doing, my darling).

I fear no fate (for you are my fate, my sweet)I want

no world (for beautiful you are my world, my true)

and it’s you are whatever a moon has always meant

and whatever a sun will always sing is you.

here is the deepest secret nobody knows

(here is the root of the root and the bud of the bud

and the sky of the sky of a tree called life; which grows

higher than the soul can hope or mind can hide)

and this is the wonder that’s keeping the stars apart.

I carry your heart (I carry it in my heart).

EE Cummings

She Walks in Beauty

She walks in beauty, like the night

Of cloudless climes and starry skies;

And all that’s best of dark and bright

Meet in her aspect and her eyes.

Thus mellowed to that tender light

Which heaven to guide day denies.

One shade the more, one ray the less

Had half impaired the nameless grace

Which waves in every raven tress

Or softly lightens o’er her face;

Where thoughts serenely sweet express

How pure, how dear their dwelling place.

And on that cheek, and o’er that brow,

So soft, so calm, yet eloquent,

The smiles that win, the tints that glow,

But tell of days in goodness spent,

A mind at peace with all below,

A heart whose love is innocent!

Lord Byron

To the world, you may be one person. But to me, you are the world.

Happy Birthday xx

Seen on the streets – a snowlady! Who said that the Swiss do not have a sense of humour?

Outside Falken, a great little 'steak house' in Oberaegerei, Zug

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