Tag Archives: village

A Tourtour de Force

There are so many reasons I love summer, not least of which is the yearly voyage to Tourtour. A small but vibrant medeival town, it is perfectly preserved and always seems unchanged. Although I’d find out it can still surprise me sometimes.

A day in Provence doesn’t really start until you’ve had breakfast. It’s not a fussy meal. It’s simple.

Breakfast in France

Croissants do not exist to me outside of France. But once I’m here, they become my daily vice.

I find they’re best served outdoors, on the terrace overlooking the jardin.

Breakfast in France Jardin

After breakfast, I bound down the steps to the pool where I can conk out on a warm sunlounger.

Tourtour Pool

Poolside essentials

That is, provided I don’t have any interruptions…

Poolside terror

Poolside Walk Chess

After a few hours wilting in the sun, punctuated with occasional dips in the water and games by the pool, I get restless and insist upon a walk up to the village.

J’adore the quaint simplicity of this picture-perfect hilltop town. The appeal to tourists can’t be helped, but Tourtour somehow maintains its whimsical authenticity.

Tourtour walk window

Tourtour walk

Tourtour town

Tourtour town walking

Tourtour town fountain

Tourtour stoop

Tourtour Eddie

We freshen up before heading down the windy road to Aups, where we have a courtyard table booked for dinner.

It was a steal of a meal – summer vegetable carpaccio, BBQ prawns with rice, and dessert – for 19,50€.

Dinner

Dinner Salad

Dinner Gambas

When we returned to Tourtour after dinner, we were shocked to encounter a “Soiree Mousse” (yes, that’s a raving frothy foam party) going full swing in the town square. The dance area was crammed with sudsy revellers, the DJ spinning throbbing Euro techno music while lasers grazed over the crowd, and scanitly-clad dancers jutted and swerved onstage.

Foam Party

Foam Dancer

Huge soap cannons blasted everyone with a spray of foam.

It was too bizarrely tempting not to jump in and join the fun!

Foam Spray

Foam Hands

Foam Soaked

Foam Throw

What a weird but cheerful bash!

I now love this place even more.

Santorini “The Old Way”: The Hilltop Village of Pyrgos

After catching a high speed ferry to Santorini and disembarking at the old port, I wanted to start exploring right away. Pyrgos is a hilltop village in the center of Santorini with stunning panoramic views of the island. It’s also one of the least developed villages on the island, preserving its traditional charm. From the main square at the base of the hill, steep footpaths lead upwards through the densely clustered stone houses and neo-classical ruins. These labyrinthine streets are only navigable on foot or by donkey. With no traffic, you can really experience the medieval authenticity of the place – despite its gradually emerging status as a tourism village. Pyrgos path3 flora and sarah path us walking pyrg 2 domes dome flag view Grab your sunnies and hike to the top of the hill, strewn with the ruins of an ancient Venetian castle (Kasteli). The sunsets from up here are sensational. path2 funny face leaning wall church inside church inside church two Just beyond the front steps from this lovely church is the terrace of Franco’s Bar –  softly playing a mix of sultry wartime jazz and classical music. It is the perfect place to sip a gin fizz in the warm breeze and watch the sky change colors. francos patio francos church francos drink Sunset3 domeflag dusk sunset2 sunsetview sunset Pyrgos is a little spot of unspoiled ground where you can experience Santorini “the old way.” And with gobs of historic charm, and heavenly views like these, I hope it never changes.

 

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Tourtour: Le Village dans le Ciel

It was too overcast for the pool today so we walked up into the village. Tourtour is known as “the village in the sky” because of its stunning views from the top. We meandered through the streets climbing our way up to the the square.

walkup

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Mayor's Office, Town Hall

Mayor’s Office, Town Hall

door

door1

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We passed by the Moulin a Huile, where the villagers bring their olives to be weighed and pressed into olive oil.  Tourtour has a cooperative system where the oil is distributed on a pro-rata basis depending on how many kilos of olives each villager contributes.

press

Making olive oil is a two-step process of grinding and pressing. First, the olives are placed under the stones and squashed to make a paste. The olive miller then collects the paste and puts it into jute baskets.

For the pressing, two piles of about 20 jute baskets are placed, one on top of the other, under the press. The first pressing is “cold,” then the baskets are soaked in hot water before the second pressing.

Olive Press

Olive Press

Press2

press1

Olive oil features a lot in Provençal cooking, including many of the restaurants and cafés in the leafy town square. Tourtour also boasts a few galleries and boutiques.

sq

shops

gallery

I wanted to take this dapper furball home but he was 320 euros!

I wanted to take this dapper little furball home but he was 320 euros!

Instead, I splurged on this little black number (to wear to the beach this week) from the prêt à porter boutique, Florence.

Bikini

Bikini1

font

We stopped at a café by the fountain to revive ourselves with a cold citron pressé – freshly squeezed lemon juice, which you can water down a little bit, add a teensy pinch of sugar to sweeten it up, stir and enjoy!

citron

citron1

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This handsome pup kept cool as a cucumber under our café table and begged me to throw him his slobbery pinecone – which he kept retrieving and laying at my sandals again and again. I think I finally wore him out!

Our final ascent was up to the village chapel perched on the hilltop where we could look down on the gorgeous Var landscape below.

town

church

church1 hill

Good thing the way home is all downhill!

Lunch in Cotignac

Smile

Today we had lunch in the belle ville Cotingac. Built into the cliffs, Cotingac is a sleepy little Provençal village. We dined at Chez Loli on the terrace along the serene tree-lined town center. Their motto, emblazoned on the menu, is “We make people happy.” I love that simplicity – much like the classic pared-down regional cuisine typical in the south of France.

Contingac

Cotignac

Continac St

Chez Loli

Chez Loli

Chez Loli

Rose

Continac1

Rose shrimps, tomatoes, mesclun salad, peas, salmon tartare, celery remoulade

Rose shrimps, tomatoes, mesclun salad, peas, salmon tartare, celery remoulade

Clam Linguine

Clam Linguine

Dining is so elegant and relaxed here. I am eating less (you don’t have as much appetite in the heat) but the simplicity of the dishes and the quality of the ingredients is top-notch. I am discovering lots of inspiration for recipes I can cook back at home! Now if only I could get this view out of my kitchen window…
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