St. Paul’s clinic in St Rémy by Janice Lert

For anyone interested in art history, there are few better places that St Rémy de Provence. Within a few steps, you can admire Gallo-Roman remains, visit the medieval cloisters of St Paul’s, and see the landscapes painted by Vincent Van Gogh in 1889-90 when he was a patient at the clinic in St Rémy, called St Paul de Mausole, so named because it is located beside the Roman Mausoleum.

The clinic is actually housed in a medieval monastery with buildings dating back to the 12th century, and located on a spot where health has always been a priority. For proof, the temple dedicated to the goddess Valetudo, the goddess of health, in the old Gallo-Roman town of Glanum next door. The medieval monks of St Paul’s took in the sick, and today, the privately- owned clinic still continue the same tradition of treating the mentally ill.

St Paul s clinic in St Remy 1

The Monastery of Saint-Paul de Mausole


Fun, Fitness and Friendship

Fun Fitness and Friendship 1Scottish country dancing is enjoyed by people of all ages in many countries, not just Scotland. There is no need to have Scottish ancestry – no need to be called McDuff or own a kilt! There are a number of groups in the Midi, mostly French with a sprinkling of expatriates (see below for details). Some groups do mostly ceilidh dancing (obligatory at all Scottish weddings) rather than the more formal Scottish country dancing but they are closely related.


The power of make-up is real by Claire Savarino

The power of make up is realI was reading an article the other day that said “France is the global centre of beauty and fashion”. Apparently French people spend more on beauty products per household than other countries in Europe. 61% of the population buy online each month. An average French person spends 2hrs each day on social media. 1.8 billion is spent on make-up per year and they are the world’s number one consumers of premium mascara. Did you know? What a resumé.


Celebrating Sara: The legend of Les Saintes Maries

The long migration of the Roma people (Gypsies), whose language is related to Punjabi, a northern Indian dialect, has a complex and often challenged history reaching back over 1,000 years to their origins in northern India with a further migration in medieval times. The Roma, numbering about 5-6 million worldwide, are made up of different ethnic groups stretching across Europe from Spain and France through Austria and Italy as far as Palestine and Egypt and across to America.

Celebrating Sara The legend of Les Saintes Maries

Photo © Bénédiction des Saintes à la Mer G. Vlassis.
In the same procession, the statues of Mary Salome and Mary Clopas are carried down to the sea as a re-enactment of their arrival on French soil.


Nages and Entremont: Strongholds of the Gauls by Bijan Omrani

Nages and Entremont Strongholds of the GaulsWhen looking for the traces of ancient history in Provence, it is easy to forget about everyone except the Romans. Such is the scale of their surviving monuments — the amphitheatres, temples and aqueducts — that one might imagine the region’s pre-Roman inhabitants were entirely primitive, and that there was little to see before the Romans came with their civilisation towards the end of the second century BC.


But the idea that the pre-Roman Gauls were primitive and left behind no monuments of note is entirely false. Although they are generally not so easy to find as the Roman remains in the heart of cities such as Arles and Nîmes, they are still on a grand scale, and serve as reminders that Gaul, in terms of its way of life, was not so far behind that of its Roman conquerors.


Nougat Silvain: A family tradition by Andrea Ratuski

Nougat Silvain 2They call themselves paysans nougatiers, nougat farmers. This is because they cultivate almonds and honey, the two ingredients that go into nougat. Their almond trees grow in sunny meadows and hills at the foot of Mont Ventoux.

"Nougat in Provence is a part of our heritage. In the families of country people, nougat is made at home," says Pierre Silvain, through translation by his daughter Géraldine.