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«Retour aux Sources»

An introspective multi-part story about revisiting Côte d’Azur and Provence where I grew up, after fifty years of absence.

Retour aux Sources – Part 1, A Bird’s-eye View

When Marie offered me a Côte d’Azur birthday pilgrimage recently, I gasped and shivered with absolute delight. It was the best present ever. But without missing a beat, the raspy little voice of reason whispered in my ear: “Oh? And how are you going to make this happen without sabotaging ‘work’?” You see, work, with […]

Retour aux Sources – Part 2, Arrival

The Big Apple was left behind on a Monday evening red-eye. Our hearts were heavy because Nkwe Pirelli, black kitty with white murder mittens, had not stayed behind before and our caring tendrils would stretch thin across the ocean. We flew into the night and landed in a rainy Paris the following dawn. Our first […]

Retour aux Sources – Part 3, Calanques

There are few places in the world that can compete in my heart with the sheer beauty of the Calanques. A jewel of the South of France, the Calanques de Marseilles are a coastal massif extending from the second-largest French city towards the east for some twenty kilometers as the crow flies. Carved out of […]

Retour aux Sources – Part 4, Sainte-Victoire

Enjoying lasting clear skies courtesy of the mistral, we used our following morning to raid an open air market in the old Aix. There, charmed by the authentically friendly vibe and blinded by our willing tourist blinkers, we collected a fantastic saucisson for the road, a Tunisian zlabia—extremely sweet honey-based pastry which I devoured on […]

Retour aux Sources – Part 5, L’arrière-pays

Having packed up and bid farewell to Soja, the blue-eyed dog who had become our friend, we left Saint-Maximin and set out on a northerly drive that would not turn out as expected. Weather was marginal and when we reached the beautiful Lac de Sainte-Croix through which flows the Verdon river, gusts were so strong […]