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La Route du Mimosa February 02 2019, 0 Comments

In January, we discussed the Mimosa: How it was introduced in France, its symbolism and the various species you can encounter in Provence. This month, Calisson by Gilles brings you to the discovery of the French Riviera during the Mimosa season. From January up to the end of March, the region of Var and Alpes Maritimes are dressed with a festival of gold, lights and fragrance from the Mimosa in blossom. The Côte d’Azur is wonderful in winter; the bright yellow of the mimosa perfectly contrasts with the deep blue sky and sea of Provence. It's a good time to discover or rediscover it! 

 The Road of Mimosa :

This symbolic tree of Provence in winter is the star of many festivals: carnivals, corsos  and botanical exhibitions such as Mimosalia in Bormes-les-Mimosas (last weekend of January) where are showcased rare plants, and other unusual varieties.

 

The mimosa is also a 130 kilometers (80 miles) of a perfumed getaway between the department of Var and Alpes Maritimes, a trip of 8 stops in the most beautiful villages of Provence between Grasse and Bormes-les-Mimosas.

Calisson by Gilles gives you an overview of this stunning bucolic road trip. 

Bormes-les-Mimosas

Simply the most beautiful flowered village of France !  A medieval village of the 12th century with more than 700 rare plant species ! The Mimosa remains for sure the main attraction of Bormes-les-Mimosas. From January to March the medieval city is adorned with a long "gold scarf" , a wonderful explosion of yellows and perfume in the village. Capital of mimosa in the Var, Bormes-les-Mimosas has no less than 90 species of Mimosa. Nearby, the famous beaches of white sands and crystal clear waters of Cabasson, Brégançon, and Estagnol are an ideal place for chilling. A little anecdote: Fort de Bregançon is the official summer residence of the French President. Each year, the President of French Republic spends a week or more in this official residence. Late Général Charles de Gaulle was the first French Président to enjoy it and started the tradition.


Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer

The Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer is a charming, peaceful and tiny village where happiness is preserved. The village of Rayol-Canade was created with the extension of the Mole in 1925. It became an autonomous municipality in 1949, it currently includes 3 neighborhoods and extends about 4 km (2 miles). Exceptional site where the hills of Corniche des Maures plunge into the blue water of the Mediterranean sea with breathtaking views of the golden islands.

Sainte-Maxime

With 11 km (7 miles) of Mediterranean shoreline, Sainte-Maxime is a haven of peace in winter, where strolling along the water invite you to savor moments that we would like to be eternal. Have a taste of our sweet Calisson by Gilles at this moment, you will reach the summum of happiness ! The charm of Provence emerges through its houses with old tiles, its typical market, its shopping streets and shady walks. 

Saint Raphaël

Saint-Raphaël, is a listed summer resort, located at the gateway to the Massif de l'Esterel is beautiful in winter. Mimosa trees are smartly placed everywhere in the village. Saint Raphaël invites you to discover its exceptional coastline and unspoiled nature. Its’ 36 km (20 miles) of coastline will take you from the heart of the city, to the harbors, to the secret coves of Boulouris. Many things to do and discover in this village. 

Mandelieu-la-Napoule

This is the first stop in the Alpes Maritimes department. This is the cradle of Mimosa culture. The village of Mandelieu-la-Napoule is located at the foot of the
Tanneron Massif, home to the largest mimosa forest in Europe. What to do there? a trail.

Take the « Chemin des douaniers » road with its castles along this path. Its red volcanic rocks, plunging into the turquoise water, are worth a visit. 

Tanneron   

Tanneron, with its 22 hamlets nestled in the heart of the massif of the same name, is the largest territory of mimosa cultivated as wild in France. This is a real yellow forest of small fluffy balls. It is totally beautiful to see the mimosa trees in their natural environment . From December to March, the abundant bloom of mimosa will leave you a perfumed scent, with, bright golden panorama : a delight. 

Pégomas  

In Pégomas, the Mimosa is honored, it delights our view and our sense of smell,. Cultivated on the hills of Tanneron, we take care of it, we spend time. The Mimosa Garden is home to 11 varieties. The last weekend of January Pégomas celebrate the first strands through a local event in the heart of the village. Pegomas has a nice and colorful image of a holiday land. Calisson by Gilles recommends Pégomas as a must stop place to discover its true and beautiful nature. 

Grasse

Perched to sunny hills, the village of Grasse discovers its charm when you stroll along its winding streets and cozy squares. World capital of perfumes, Grasse showcases its rich heritage thanks to its Label City of Art and History. Its historic center, its international perfume museum, its tourist perfumeries are all assets for tourists. A must-do village also !

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


The Mimosa of Provence January 04 2019, 0 Comments

A bunch of sun! With its shiny yellow, the mimosa warms the roads of Provence in the heart of winter.

 

A brief history of the mimosa in Provence

Around 1880, the mimosa, native from Australia, made its appearance on the slopes of the Croix des Gardes in Cannes.

The mimosa was introduced its great winter hosts, such as the Marquis of Morès and the Duke of Vallombrosa. The Horticulture and Acclimatization Society greatly contributed to its promotion. The mimosistes (mimosa nursery owner) made their apparition in French Riviera’s cities such as Mandelieu, Pégomas, Tanneron. The train stations of Cannes and Mandelieu were the main hubs to export the mimosa to all major cities of France and Europe.


The mimosa became the king of winter in regions enjoying a warm climate like the French Riviera. This is the only area of Provence where the mimosa can survive the winter. Nevertheless we can sometimes see a beautiful mimosa tree in private gardens throughout the whole Provence region. There are more than 1200 species of Mimosa around the world and over 400 grow in Provence.

 

 

Some types of Mimosa

Gallic (Acacia Dealbata): Large, very vigorous tree with dark green foliage. Abundant flowering (yellow sulfur) that emerges largely from the foliage from late January to March.

Mirandole: Great development. Big leaves with a light green color. Flowering in a large cluster of pure bright yellow from late December to February. The Mirandole Mimosa suits for very large gardens.

Astier (Astier dealbata): One of the Mimosas tree which resists  colder temperatures. It withstands without damage to -8 / - 10 ° C.

4 season mimosa (Acacia Retinodes): It is one of the most resistant to cold (-9 ° C to -10 ° C). Spring-summer bloom. The last producer of this mimosa is located in Tanneron.


The Mimosa and its symbols

Yellow gold, the mimosa is one of the most used flowers in terms of symbolism.
With a delicate scent, it speaks to each of us with the accent of the South of France. Our Calisson by Gilles come from the same area and each mouthful of our sweet delicacy brings you to Provence. The savory blend of almond married with cantaloupe and a hint of orange reminds us of the golden Mimosa.
Here and there in Provence, the flowers of Mimosa naturally represents the Sun. 

In the language of flowers, the mimosa is the evocation of secret loves. Symbol of gold and sun, the mimosa is also the image of triumphant life, owing to the hardness of its wood and the victory over the forces of evil.

The Road of Mimosa

This symbolic tree of Provence in winter is the star of many festivals: carnivals, corsos  and botanical exhibitions such as Mimosalia in Bormes-les-Mimosas (last weekend of January) where are showcased rare plants, and other unusual varieties.

The mimosa is also a 130 kilometers (80 miles) of a perfumed getaway between the department of Var and Alpes Maritimes, a trip of 8 stops in the most beautiful villages of Provence between Grasse and Bormes-les-Mimosas.

Calisson by Gilles will give you an overview of this stunning bucolic road trip next month. 

 

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


The Roquefavour aqueduct and surrounding villages December 03 2018, 0 Comments

This month Calisson by Gilles brings you to the discovery of the Roquefavour aqueduct and villages around this stunning area. The theme of this month is located in the Bouches du Rhône department; between Aix-en-Provence and Marseille. Whether you are a family discovering the region, a local or a student, these protected spots from the crowds are worth the visit. In our blogs, we try to provide unique and original contents that will encourage you to visit Provence and discover its traditions. This blog is a good example. 

Now let’s get ready and discover the town of Velaux.

Velaux is a lovely old Provençal village, perched high on a hill. The village is surrounded by a beautiful lush countryside. Slopes covered with vineyards are wonderful in spring and summer. Velaux has experienced a fast growing population in the last few years owing it to its privileged location as the closest village of Ventabren that we will see here below. 

The main place of the village is named Place François Care and is very pleasant. Shady on summer, this is the spot to be! Here you will find the town hall, the grocery store, bookstore, the traditional provençal bakeries and of course the bars. What  can be better than having a relaxing moment here! 

Just take a seat at the terrace of a café, order a long coffee that you will taste with our sweet delicacy of Calisson by Gilles. Coffee and Calissons are the best suited combination! From your seat you can observe little scenes of the everyday life of the village: children playing in the square, old men chatting on a bench, a little piece of the Provençal way of life. 

From this main place you can visit the little church, then have a stroll in the old streets of Velaux, take your time to get lost in the tiny streets you will see several beautiful old houses. There is a little and beautiful castle which has been fully restored in the street of Château d’If and worth the visit. You will find close by Velaux’s Museum named "Le Donjon". The museum hosts the archives of the village of Velaux, old tools which were used in agriculture in Provence, archeological pieces and Provençal period costumes which are exhibited during traditional celebrations. 

 

Let’s continue our trip with the town of Ventabren!  Ventabren is a very pretty village, established at the top of a hill and dominated by the ruins of the Château de la Reine Janne (castle Queen Jeanne). 

Perfectly located, this charming village is at the same distance from Marseille, Aix-en-Provence and Salon-de-Provence. It clearly breathes the picturesque Provençal countryside; still only 30 minutes away from a major urban area. Over the last few years this privileged location developed considerably below the village where new houses have been built. Currently the permits of building new constructions are now restricted to preserve the village of his success.

In the old village, just under the ruins of the castle, you will fell in love with the tiny
cobbled streets filled with flowers and colors. You will be captivated by these little houses meticulously restored and all different from one another. Be ready to climb the steeply stairs to reach the main square of the village called Place de l’Eglise. The church is 500 years old! You can for sure visit the ruins of the Château de la Reine Jeanne. Built around 940, the castle was a considerable defensive structure. Furthermore due to its dominant position, it was very hard for invaders to attack. Dazzling and panoramic view can be appreciated from these ruins.

Ventabren enjoys also the privileged location of being the closest village to the largest aqueduct in the world, the acqueduct of Roquefavour.

Roquefavour:

Roquefavour is the world’s highest stone aqueduct. This area is completely undeveloped as a tourist attraction in the heart of the Provençal countryside. This breathtaking and contemplative scenery is according to Calisson by Gilles a must-do for anyone visiting the region who wants to get off the beaten track, literally.

The aim of an aqueduct for Marseille

As Marseille was growing in size in the middle of 1800, the main city of Bouches du Rhone was facing a persistent problem of providing clean drinking water during a period when cholera outbreaks were legendary. The construction of the aqueduct was firstly planned 200 years before, in the 16th century.
The city of Marseille finally gave the green light to start this huge infrastructure project. The main project was rather simple, bring the water from the Durance river to the city. The Roquefavour Aqueduct is one part of this ambitious scheme of waterways and pipes that culminate in Marseille at the Palais Longchamps (which itself was built to commemorate the arrival of water in the city).

Roquefavour is the largest stone aqueduct in the world!

The Roquefavour Aqueduct is similar to its cousin of Avignon, the Pont du Gard which is one the most visited monument in the region. The pont du Gard is 18 centuries older than his cousin Roquefavour! The Roman found an efficient and effective way to conduct water where needed and the city of Marseille used the same technological solution to sustain their need of water for the city. 

Roquefavour is much bigger and higher than Pont du Gard; it is about 400 meters long and 80 meters high (in comparison, Pont du Gard is around 270 meters long and 50 meters high). The construction began in 1841 and 5 year later, the water was flowing along the aqueduct towards Marseille.

Driving directions:

Public transport solutions are very poor in this area; the best way to reach Roquefavour is by car. From Aix en Provence, a very nice and memorable way to get there is to bicycle! You can easily rent bicycles in Aix en Provence. Here the new trend is to borrow electric ones to clearly and simply enjoy your bucolic road trip without being exhausted on uphill. Parts of the roads are dedicated to bicycling so it is very pleasant to use this solution during a sunny and warm day of spring or autumn season.
Calisson by Gilles clearly disclaims doing this during cold and windy winter days or hot and dry summer ones. 


The area lacks tourists and development so you won’t land in a crowded place with a bunch of people. On the contrary you can drive directly to the aqueduct and park your car directly underneath. Take a break and have a picnic nearby.

It’s also memorable to paddle in the river underneath; the point of view is stunning. 

If you have walking shoes, you’ll find some steps where you can hike up to the top of the aqueduct and enjoy different angles and point of views. The path is rocky, so take your time, be cautious and walk slowly. 

For braves and sporty persons who want to associate sport activity with a cultural one you can ride the 35 kilometers rural cycling route that will bring you in the past, at the time of the WW2. Start from Roquefavour and drive to the Les Milles Internment Camp before returning back to the Roquefavour. 

Things to know before you go

It sounds obvious, but Provence can get hot. This area as stated above is very light of tourists, which makes it a wonderful and quiet place to relax and enjoy. The bad point though is that there are no amenities like toilets or shops with reliable opening hours, so make sure you have ample food and drink, especially water. It can get windy when the Mistral is in town. If you are going to the top of the aqueduct keep in mind that there are no barriers on the highest parts of the walk, so be careful up there. The path is dangerous, and much more when Mistral blows. 

 

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


Aubagne, Pagnol's country November 07 2018, 0 Comments

Aubagne is known in France and beyond our borders as the birthplace of Marcel Pagnol.

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


Le Savon de Marseille (the Marseille’s soap) October 05 2018, 0 Comments

he origins of soap go back to the Egyptians. They described soap recipes on their famous papyrus. In Europe, the Gauls were apparently the first to intentionally manufacture soap from goat's tallow and potash from beech ash. 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


Transhumance September 03 2018, 0 Comments

This month Calisson by Gilles brings you the still living tradition of Transhumance in Provence. 

A living tradition

Transhumance, -trans- “through” (on the other side) and –humance- humus (land, country), is the semi-annual migration of grazing animals from the plain to the mountains and the mountains to the plain. It helps the shepherds overcome the drought of the summer and hard conditions of mountains’ winter.

In June, the herds steer to the nearest mountains, where the grass is green and so abundant in our pastures. They will be back from the mountains between September and November, before the snow reappears. 

The Transhumance is an ancestral know-how, and is perpetuated from generation to generation.

There are different forms of transhumance:

The "great summer transhumance" connects the low plains of the Mediterranean coast with Alpine mountains. 

The "local" transhumance refers to the rise of herds living around mountain villages area to a higher level for summer pastures.

The "winter" transhumance is practiced by some mountain herds, who spend the winter in the plains of Basse Provence.

The most famous transhumance is the one between Provence and the Alps. It is not regulated by any written law except one, which limit the width of their passage to 5 fathoms (10 meters) The mountains of Barcelonnette are the best, they are covered with beautiful grass. The sheep belong to shepherds living around Arles and Salon de Provence.

In autumn, sheep come back from the mountains fattened. The shepherds of la Crau rent the right of grazing in the mountains for six months. 


Sisteron, the sheep capital

In the heart of Provençal country, the city of Sisteron is at the center of traditional sheep farming. For centuries, Sisteron collects, sorts and delivers the best lambs for its customers every day. The lamb of Sisteron is prized for its fine and unctuous meat, it is generally cooked with herbs of Provence.Les Drailles

The “drailles” is a Provençal word, there were stony paths that were entirely reserved for transhumant herds, some of which went from Arles to Italy. Draille or Carraire (closer to Marseille) designate the transhumance path. 

Often corresponding to the most natural way for herds to join the summer pastures, the Drailles and carraires were the first lines of communication between the plains of low Provence and the alpine mountains. Some of them use the path of ancient Roman roads. In order to facilitate the progress of the livestock, these transhumance paths reached up to one hundred meters in width. They weren’t considering the unevenness of the landscape and were drawn as much as possible in a straight line. 

The routes preferably took the ridges line of the hill and mid-mountain regions in order to avoid the valleys and cultivated plains.

The drailles were delimited by stones planted in pairs, on either side, every four or five hundred meters. These roads were public roads and were maintained with royalties paid by the owners of the Arlesian (Arles region) flocks.

Over the centuries, these pastoral routes were difficult to maintain against the increasing population and new transport solutions of the industry era. 

The roads were only used two months each year, a month in the fall and a month in the spring. The locals did not hesitate, meanwhile, to use them. The rise of struggles and clashes in the 19th century led the shepherds to avoid these traditional roads and borrow the more modern ones of the valley.

 

The Transhumance is an event

In recent years, transhumance has made a comeback under the spotlights and is becoming a moment of celebration and cheerfulness, which allows to inhabitants of Provence to rediscover their terroir and the old professions of pastoralism. 

The ancestral practices of herd management, which had disappeared, replaced by truck transport are now revived. Because of the pollution of diesel engine, rugged terrain which are hard to reach, the tradition is back and it is beautiful to see the mountains of Haute-Provence with a shepherd and his flock of sheep!

 

Where and when to attend a transhumance

Where ? 

You can attend to transhumances in the Alps, at the north side of Provence. 

When ?

Two times a year


During the spring : for the climb to the high mountains where animals will graze for the summer. Or during the fall : for the descent to the lowlands for the winter season. 

Depending on the location and events, you can watch the passage of animals in the village or follow the herds from one village to another for a hike. In the latter case, it is often necessary to register by contacting the organizer, or the town hall of the village.

A transhumance hike represents on average a journey between 5 to 20 km (2 to 13 miles) , and there are different hiking formats.

One day: you can for example take your picnic, for this option, be sure to bring in your bag a box of our sweet Calisson by Gilles. All the natural ingredients in our Calisson cantaloupe, almond … will marry perfectly with the discovery of Provençal traditions and will bring you the energy to fully enjoy this moment.

Several days: nights and meals are often proposed by the event planners and registration is charged. 

Parties are usually associated with the transhumance tradition and villages are the place where beautiful and picturesque parades take place. You can see animals in the villages, kids games, markets and many other activities.

Celebration of the transhumance of Riez-la-Romaine (Alpes de Hautes-Provence): 

Watch the passage of animals in the center of the village, enjoy the folk entertainment and stroll through the local markets. Your children will love watching the sheep. This celebration usually takes place the 3rd or 4th Sunday of June. 

Celebration hike in the Mercantour - Roya Valley (Alpes Maritimes) :

Go on a 2 days trek alongside sheep and goats. You will be responsible for monitoring the flock with your kids ! From 5 to 8 hours of walking per day at the end of June. 

Celebration of transhumance in Saint Rémy de Provence (Bouches-du-Rhône) :

Young and old will be truly impressed by the parade of thousands of sheep in the streets of Saint Remy de Provence. This day will also allow you to attend demonstrations of the work of shepherds and shepherd dogs. You will be able to enjoy the stunning flea market of Saint Remy. The event takes place the last week of June. 

You won’t be able to assist to all of them, so you have to choose one according to your time, your family size and your preferences! 

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


Wines of Provence August 10 2018, 1 Comment

This month Calisson by Gilles takes you to the vineyards of Provence.  This region is definitely filled with wonders! 

 

The Provence is blessed with a rich history and beautiful landscapes. It also has a wonderful climate with a wide variety of fertile lands. Provence inhabitants understood it and started to produce wine very early. The production of wine in Provence is millennial and it stretches now from the West of Marseille to the East of Nice. The variety of landscapes makes each terroir unique.  Location, ground composition, exposition to the Mistral wind and many others parameters impact directly the final product. 

 

In Provence there are a dozen of AOC (Appellation Origine Contrôlée). It is an official label of the French Government which certifies and guarantees the quality of the wine produced in a clearly defined area. Inspectors are constantly checking the production and respect of the rules. They are driving all year throughout Provence visiting and inspecting each part of the production process. Hence there are many areas detaining their AOC Label in Provence. Calisson by Gilles gives you an overview of the main ones in this article.

The grapes which are used in the wine-making process are registered in the statement of work of the AOC label, and the AOC of Provence produces excellent results. There are about twenty grape varieties that are used in Provence which produce many distinctive wines. 

Here is an overview of the main grapes which are used within the area of Provence. 

Red grapes:

  • Syrah: It produces red wines with a hints of spices, and develop aromas of red berries and vanilla
  • Grenache: This grape produces red wines which are light and very fruity.
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  • Cabenet Sauvignon: Predominant within the Bordeaux area, the Cabernet Sauvignon is not used much in Provence. The grape is used to help red wines age well. In France, we use the term “vin de garde” for a wine that can be kept many years. 
  • Mourvedre: This grape produces deep purple wines, and can be added to bring structure and smoothness to the wine.
  • Cinsault: It is a local red grape which has a berry flavor that is also used in blends to make Rosé wines.

White grapes:

  • Clairette: This is an old variety of Provence, this grape produces fragrant & fruity white wines, its equivalent on Red Grape family would be the Grenache.
  • Semillon : The grape of Semillon is similar to the Mourvedre grape on the red side, wine makers use a small amount of Semillon grape to add smoothness & richness to blends.
  • Rolle: This white grape produces full-bodies wines and is always used in the composition of white wines. This grape is very useful to obtain very well balanced white wines.
  • Ugni Blanc: As this name indicates, its origin is from Italy, so we can guess it has been used for a very long time in Provence. This white grape is dedicated to make dry and acidic wines.

In France, the wine-makers always blend their grapes, mostly from the grapes that are growing in their vineyard. The proportion of each kinds of grapes used in the composition of each wine is a well kept secret.

The aim of each vigneron (wine maker) is to produce wines with a constant taste from years to years. It is a big challenge! To make the taste of their wines so the customer can identify the products and moreover, keep buying it.

There is a technique which has been borrowed from the Champagne industry which consist to assemble wines from different years to smooth its taste through years and ensure a constant quality. 

The notion of vintage is the opposite. If a bottle shows a 2015 Millésime, that means that the grapes used in the wine making process are exclusively coming from that year. 

The inconvenient is that the taste of each wine can differ totally from one year to another. Parameters are numerous and totally unpredictable like weather, rain level, wind, etc …

Typically, the red wines of Provence are young, fresh and fruity. We are in South of France where the summer is hot and dry and where we often have barbecues during the week end. So this kind of red wines are ideal. The red wines of Provence are not confectioned to be kept for many years but some of them can. These ones are especially suited for the numerous French cheeses you can buy within the markets of Provence (see our previous edition of January 2018). https://www.bygilles.com/blogs/posts/the-markets-of-provence

 

The Rosé wines of Provence have a slight pink color with fresh aromas which breath summer time. Perfect for an evening with friends or family by the swimming pool coupled with our sweet delicacy, Calisson by Gilles. 

If you are looking for a light Provençal white wine we would suggest to pick one of the vineyards near the coast.  You will get a good quality wine with a fresh & aromatic taste. On the opposite if you are looking for  a more robust wine you should choose one which come from the inlands.

Let us give you a short list of the main appellations for AOC, their localization and the main characteristics of their wine. This will help define your wine escape in Provence. 

 

Discover the main appellations of Provence

Coteaux d'Aix en Provence

This appellation covers a wide area of more than 7,000 acres divided into 49 vineyards. The appellation stretches from from Aix en Provence to the beginning of the Alpilles and also includes vineyards around Etang de Berre (The city of Martigues is at the entrance of the Etang de Berre, see our last month blog). The proportion of volume produced is roughly 48% red and 48% rosés and 4% white wines. The latter are young since the vineyards are about 20 years old. The main production remains the red wine which are known to be strong. 

Côtes de Provence

This famous appellation covers an very large area of 45,000 acres including inlands parcels of the Var department up to the Mediterranean coast of Hyères, Fréjus. Considering the size of the area we can find a lot of differences in soil and climate,  the wines of the AOC have a large variety of taste. The rosés represent 75 % of the harvest, the reds make up 20 % and the whites only 5 %, although this does not mean they are of lesser quality.

Coteaux des Baux

This appellation was created in 1995 and covers a small area of 800 acres in the middle of the Alpilles moutains. Although the volume is limited, you can find a wide variety of wines. Nevertheless the reds represent 70% of the harvest.  Strongly flavored and well-structured, they deserve to be aged for 5 or 6 years. 

Cassis wines

The "Vins de Cassis" appellation dates from 1936 and it is the oldest AOC in the region.

Limited to only 500 acres , 12 vineyards produce this excellent wine. The wine of Cassis is known for being dry with a delicate fruity taste. Here the volume of white wines reaches 80% of the production. This is a great value wine that marries perfectly with local fish based meal such as Bouillabaisse. 

Côtes du Luberon

The Côtes du Luberon appellation covers 8,000 acres and is located between Cavaillon and Apt, with 36 districts sharing the vineyards. 70% of production is red, the Côtes du Luberon wines are appreciated for its delicate and complex bouquet. It is generally better to drink the Côtes du Luberon wines when they are young. The reds are well balanced, the rosés are fresh and nervous. 

Côtes du Ventoux wines

Situated south-west of the Ventoux Mountain, in the region of Carpentras, these vineyards are shared between 51 districts. Volume repartition is 80% red wine, 15 % rosé and only 5 % white, the Côtes du Ventoux wine is light and fruity. Like the Côtes du Luberon it is better to consume these when they are still young.

Côtes du Rhône wines

Situated in the southern Vaucluse between Avignon and Bollène, the "Côtes du Rhône" AOC includes amongst famous vineyards with an international reputation such as Châteauneuf du Pape, Gigondas or Vacqueyras.

Concentrated mainly on reds, they can either be aged or consumed while relatively young. This is a safe value for people who are Red lovers. 

Vins de Palette

This appellation is the smallest one of Provence given that it is only 30 acres wide and located in the districts of Le Tholonet and Meyreuil (few miles from Aix en Provence). 

Formerly created by the Carmelites in medieval times, the vineyard is today exploited by only two properties. The red wine is warm, the rosé is said nervous and the white one is, according to enlightened locals, one of the best of Provence. Notice to wine lovers…

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


Martigues in Provence July 04 2018, 0 Comments

This month we are discovering the village of Martigues in Provence, often called the Venice of Provence. You can easily reach Martigues from Marseille, (15 Miles) which is near Marseille’s airport (15 min driving). The town is located at the entrance of Etang de Berre. The downtown is divided in three areas : Ferrières , île Brescon (Island Brescon), and Jonquières. Canals are running through the island. 

Martigues is a very pleasant town, water is everywhere around you as you walk the city, as you eat a plater of seafood just pluked out of the sea. The many  canals coupled with colourful façades make this town stunning and unique in Provence! 

This seaport is a must stop and deserves its nickname of the Venice of Provence. So, let Calisson by Gilles brings you to Martigues.

 

A bucolic way to reach Martigues is to take the train of La Côte Bleue. 

From Marseille, this little train which follows the Côte Bleue is certainly the most memorable way to reach Martigues. The sceneries from the train are stunning and you will fully enjoy it. The train makes stops on picturesque little ports such as l’Estaque, Calanque of Niolon, Sausset les Pins, Carry le Rouet. 

 

 

 

Cultural heritage

Martigues is a quiet town with a strong heritage. You will be surprised to see such jewels. Calisson by Gilles will detail the must see attractions, the artistic legacy that can be felt all over the city. The water mingling with houses and tiny pedestrian streets gives Martigues such a feeling of peace. It is so appreciable when you are in South of France. 

Annonciade Chapel 

Calisson by Gilles strongly recommends the visit of the Annonciade Chapel. The building is listed as a Historic Monument. The architecture is Baroque and the paintings within the Chapel are sumptuous with stunning optical illusion.

Fort de Bouc 

Fort de Bouc was built in the Middle Ages to control the sea traffic between the gulf of Fos and the Berre lagoon. Its imposing fortification is still standing and you can visit it. 

For more information about visit hours, check the website of the tourism office of Martigues. The guided tours are opened only  during summer time and only accessible by boat. 

Ziem Museum

The Félix Ziem museum enjoys a nice reputation in Martigues and is worth the visit. Félix Ziem was a French painter of the 19th century who gave a major contribution to the city of Martigues through his works. 

You can gaze his representations of Venice (Italy), Constantinople (Turkey) and other Provençal landscapes. You will discover a traditional Mediterranean sailing boat named “Tartanes” in Provencal dialect. 

 

Retrace the footsteps of Caesar

A free history path gives you the opportunity to discover the ancient sites of Martigues. It starts from the old town and reaches the Côte Bleue while highlighting archeological sites. 

Among them: the site of Tholon where the vestiges of a Gallo-Roman agglomeration remains; the chapel St Julien les Martigues and the quarries of Baou where the colourful pink stone was used to build numerous monuments of Marseille. 

 

How to have a good time in Martigues?

Calisson by Gilles gives you some tips.

The park of Figuerolles 

The Park of Figuerolles is the lung of the city of Martigues and is ideal for family fun. 

Many activities are possible: joging, pony rides for the kids, mountain bike, little train ride or a stroll via ferrata. The park has also a teaching farm and a botanical trail to discover Mediterranean natural plants. 

 

 

The beaches of Martigues 

The town of Martigues has beautiful beaches which figures among the best of the Côte Bleue: the beach of Verdon, Carro, Sainte Croix and many others. Most of them are awarded each year for the quality of the water. These beaches are very popular during the summer so we advise to wake up early and go there in the morning or late afternoon. 

  

Have a stroll in Martigues

The best way to enjoy Martigues is to walk and most particularly on its island. Take your time strolling between the picturesque tiny streets with colorful façades. The island of Martigues is quiet, peaceful and bucolic.

You can also walk along the little sea port where fisher boats are moored, giving to the place the real purpose of the island. Continue your walk by going down to the end of the island. It offers a splendid panorama on the sea which is dominated by the viaduct highway, a kind of Golden Gate Bridge made in Provence. 

 

After a stroll along the canal, you can book a table in one of the numerous restaurants. The restaurant called Bouchon à la Mer has earned its place within the famous Michelin Guide. The plates are generous with fresh and seasonal  products. Wherever you are eating the decor is very pleasant with a stunning view of the Canal of Martigues; an unforgettable experience! 

The perfect after dinner walk is to reach le Mirroir aux Oiseaux (Bird’s Mirror), a lovely little spot whose reflective waters inspired many great masters. You will be instantly charmed and it is the best moment to enjoy our delicious Calisson by Gilles. 

The atmosphere of this moment coupled with the Provençal way of life is clearly reflected in our delicacy. After that you will be able to pick up some pictures and selfies of the fishermen's cottages reflecting in the canal.

What a great souvenir!

  

 

About The Author:

Gilles Cailleaux is the Owner & Master Confectioner at By Gilles, an online French candy store based in Orange County, California. They sell traditional French confections called Calissons from Provence. Gilles is always ready to share his 25 years plus experience of candy making and baking with everyone and want to hear about your experience with his calissons. Gilles and his team are sensitive about taste and harmony. They prepare your packages with special care and attention.


by Gilles
23416 Caminito Valle Laguna Hills Orange County, CA 92653 United States 800-334-2081 gilles@bygilles.com
by Gilles
23416 Caminito Valle Laguna Hills Orange County, CA 92653 United States
800-334-2081 gilles@bygilles.com