Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

The artist, Vincent van Gogh, after another disappointment in trying to establish an artist colony in the south of France, settled shortly in Saint-Remy-de-Provence where he continued to paint nature and express his emotional angst and suffered the possible side effects to the chemistry of lead and ill health that came to some artists of this era.

Plants of Saint-Rémy-de-Provence
Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France 
Migration, wars and population expansion brought people with their cultures and values and each affected the ecosystem in this Mediterranean climate. Romans built roads and irrigation networks. Greeks brought the cultivation of vines and olives for sustenance and commerce. In this very sunny, 300 days out of 365 days, and limestone environment a unique nature flourishes.

Saint-Paul Asylum, Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

We approached the painter in this photograph and asked in French, "Pouvons nous prendre votre photo (May we take your picture)?"

 "Yes!" She was from Kansas.
Artist at Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France

The Five Senses
The essential oils of the lavender, roses, angelica, and verbena of Provence are synonymous with essence and perfume. Herbes de Provence, the mixture of savory, fennel, thyme and lavender flowers is used in haute cuisine and the flavoring or soups and sauces.
There is a peaceful bucolic quality that many would find beautiful and inspiring here.

Herbes de Provence

Herbes de Provence are used to flavour grilled foods such as fish and meat, as well as vegetable stews. The mixture can be added to foods before or during cooking or mixed with cooking oil prior to cooking so as to infuse the flavour into the cooked food. They are rarely added after cooking is complete.


  • 2 tablespoons dried basil
  • 2 tablespoons dried fennel seed 
  • 2 tablespoons dried marjoram
  • 2 tablespoons dried oregano
  • 2 tablespoons dried rosemary   
  • 2 tablespoons dried savory
  • 2 tablespoons dried thyme
  • Directions:
  • In a mixing bowl, combine all the ingredients. Store in an air-tight container.

Saint-Rémy-de-Provence, France and Vincent van Gogh

On May 8, 1889, van Gogh committed himself to the hospital at Saint Paul-de-Mausole. The hospital was a former monastery in Saint-Rémy. The monastery is located in an area of Grain fields, vineyards and olive trees. Vincent's brother, Theo, arranged for two small adjoining rooms, with barred windows. The second room was his studio.

Man playing Petanque

 A popular game in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

©  Grassroots Horticulture