A time to plant and a time to harvest.…
Autumn….fills up with a fresh change of smell in the air. In the wine country, when you have the windows open while driving along admiring the views of the Napa Valley, there is the additional smell of grapes being crushed and starting their fermentation process. Yellows, oranges, and crimson colors start popping, becoming the predominant colors of the season. And, yes, a coolness sends us back into our homes to grab a jacket for our walk.
Over the last 10 years I have lived or visited, for weeks or months at a time, in these photogenic locations in the AUTUMN:
So here are some photos representative of the bliss of Autumn in Paris, France–Bend, Oregon–Provence, France–Napa Valley, California–Harbor Springs, Michigan–and Nice, France. Along with looking at the photos, you might want to accompany your viewing with a listen to ‘Turn, Turn, Turn”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K3kKqfTjsj0 (Judy Collins) or a bit more upbeat version: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5_YsQu5tKEE (The Byrds)
I’ve started the Autumnal tour in Paris.
Autumn in Paris. Yes, the Luxembourg Gardens. Full of leaves, on the ground, which will be picked up and scurried away by the meticulous gardeners once the trees have completed their shedding.
Still warm enough for some visitors to make their way to the park and ‘park’. It reminds me of what a friend said to me once. They were a highly active couple but took time out in their busy schedules to visit his wife’s family. He found her on the family’s front porch and asked her what she was doing. She replied, “Sittin’…..just sittin”.
Cooler, yes, but the ducks are still just fine with a spin around the Marie De Medicis Fountain.
I often take a day or two or three to walk around the Marais district of Paris (parts of the 3rd and 4th arrondissements of Paris on the Right Bank). One of my fall walks, I stumbled across this florist working on a striking flower bouquet as well as handling a truck delivery of Christmas trees for the approaching holidays, marking the shift of the fall into the winter season.
Yes, the light is low in the first 4 photos. I have been in Paris when, on a rather cloudy dull day, it turned dark by 4:00 PM. ‘In Pizza We Trust’ (no longer at this location as of 2019) was already decked out for the holidays.
Cafe De La Mairie at 8, Place Saint-Sulpice in the 6th, named after the Mairie’s office across the Place Saint Sulpice, touts a view of the Saint Sulpice Church and its fabulous ‘lion on each corner’ fountain but supposedly better known for the 4 bishops represented, one on each side. The indoor seating at the cafe is minimal so to expand their business in the cooler months, they ‘wrap up’ their outdoor seating and you can still enjoy a stop when you can grab an available seat.
Poilane, at 8, rue de Cherche Midi in the 6th arr, shows the need for a jacket, when patiently waiting in line for their famous bread or other treats for dinner.
Le Comptoir at 9, Carrefour de l’Odeon in the 6th arr……always has a line since they don’t take reservations. Not only is it appealing to me because I know what their food tastes like but it flaunts a dreamy look to me in this light.
Last two photos: Startling autumnal color greeted me when I went to meet a friend for the Toulouse-Lautrec exhibition last year at the Grand Palais.
Bend, Oregon is up next:
The autumnal colors make it to Bend, Oregon too. Decorate the front porch. Pull some of that look inside for the dining table.
From my art room, the next 2 photos show views of the neighborhood community park, including the inviting fireside pavilion. I moved from this property a year and a half ago to a more expanded natural setting, befitting Bend’s adventurous spirit.
Bend speaks to us all with a rainbow celebration in the sky!
Moving along to the Provencal region of southern France!
I did move to Provence for 8 months, once upon a time. The first photo is of Roussillon which was ‘made for’ the colors of autumn! The rocky cliffs used to be mined but no longer. The stone pigments are in the range of yellow to orange to red. It is worth a visit to the village of Roussillon (2nd photo) including set aside enough time to walk amongst the massive ochre clay, choosing between a 30 or 60 minute hike along the pathway provided to admire this ‘monument’.
The next photos were taken on a drive to Aix-en-Provence from the village of Bonnieux, about an hour’s drive. I would pull over whenever I was awestruck, so that included everything from a row of olive trees to a community of buildings to a tree with its clinging white puffy whites (whatever they are?) to a shot back at the village of Bonnieux to the SHEEP!
One of the sheep has a ‘cowbell’…whoops! sheep’s bell? and another, as you can see, is the ‘brown’ sheep of the family?? The Luberon area is my favorite of Provence. Filled with hillside villages that are just 10-30 minutes drive apart with each village juiced up with spectacular views that are worth every penny it took you to get there. And, although spring is my favorite season in Provence, if I was given a choice, I would grab up time there at any time of year.
Similarities to Provence but below are photos of the Napa Valley:
As mentioned, there are similarities to Provence, and there is not a season I don’t like in the Napa Valley. I lived in the Napa Valley for several years, as well as had a stint of a few years in the Sonoma Valley prior to living in the Napa Valley. Fall is all about harvest in either valley–the smell as already mentioned, seeing the workers harvesting the grapes, the vines hanging low with grapes, with a few grapes falling out of the trucks while on their way to being crushed…excitement in the air couples up with the other qualities of the season. If thinking of visiting, don’t forget late winter/early spring because the mustard between the vines gives such a show of vibrant yellow which translates to: there is rarely a time for any of the seasons to be lacking in color.
The last 2 photos show large fans in the vineyards. They come on automatically, if need be, to blow air into the vineyard to prevent frost.
On to Harbor Springs, Michigan:
I am originally from Michigan but I made my way to the Bay Area in Northern California and lived there for far more years than I lived in Michigan. I have family that settled near Harbor Springs so it has a special place in my heart. They put me on to Pond Hill Farm (5699 S. Lake Shore Drive/Harbor Springs) which is just a few miles outside the tiny village of Harbor Springs. The first photo shows what you are greeted with when you first start to drive up to the farm…its plentiful supply of pumpkins in the fall!
Out-of-town friends arrived for a ‘show’ of autumn in and around Harbor so besides lunch at a restaurant on Lake Michigan and a drive through the ‘tunnel of trees’ (between Harbor Springs and Cross Village on M119), I took them to Pond Hill Farm so we could have a little competition shooting off the squash rocket.
For a few dollars, you are given a bucketful of squash. As you can see, the slingshot holds the squash and you shoot it into a field where the sheep can promptly have it for a meal. Who shot the farthest? I think we lost track! But we proved what’s fun for children is often fun for adults too!
The next three photos were taken from the front porch of my cottage that I was the owner of for a few years. The trees lining the street had their fall vibrant time. The next tree fascinated me. Any help here on what it is?
Cottages are the name of the game in Harbor. Sweet and tiny but, more often than not, grandiose and owned by the same family for generations. Many not enjoyed but in the summer months.
And, the last photo shows some of the gorgeous Michigan stones on a column outside a restaurant, I want to say, in nearby Charlevoix.
Nice, France heads up the rear:
The first photo starts you out with getting rather personal with the locals. Their colorful ‘underwear’ (I mean clothes) hanging out to dry above the streets of Vieux Nice (Old Nice)! If you’ve traveled to various villages in Europe and beyond, this is a fairly common sight. It still tickles me to see it though. In fact, I did it, occasionally, when I lived in a rental apartment, although I was always concerned a gust of wind would send my undies down to the street below, landing on some tourist’s head!.
But what I am also pointing out is that in November, on some days the temperatures are still holding for the locals to feel comfortable with their clothes drying outside. In Vieux Nice it is common for there to be an array of color on the buildings as you are seeing in several photos. And, if not the building, then the shutters.
Not so much in the newer part of Nice which seems to be filled with more majestically detailed 1800s buildings as well as some having been replaced with the look of more modern day buildings which are not always to my taste.
When wandering the narrow streets of Vieux Nice I started to make it a practice to explore streets I had never been down before. Even as directionless as I am, I didn’t get twisted and turned around too much. Well, truth be told, I didn’t start this practice until after I had stayed there a few times. The woman artist, sitting on the stool, has a shop in the Vieux Nice neighborhood, just a few steps away from my rental apartment .
I’ve now visited Nice numerous times, always staying whatever length of time I could carve out in my travel schedule. I seem to schedule myself there in the spring or the fall and now make it a point to do so every year. Having lived in Michigan on an inland lake as a child and then over 40 years in California, I am a water-watching person and also crave the sunshine that Nice showers on me when I visit.
Down by the Cours Sayela Market is a restaurant called Le Safari at #1 Cours Saleya which means it is located directly on the market. The food is not as refined or creative as other restaurants I consider my Nice favorites, but their prices are decent and their menu values traditional Nicoise food. Along with this you are in the hubbub of the market and action. Well into the fall, I was able to sit outside, under their restaurant awning, and start to see the sun make its way ever so gradually down.
The dishes I ordered were Notre Bagna-Caduda which is crudités with warm anchovy sauce. They bring the sauce out with a flame underneath to keep it warm. I also ordered Petits Farcis Nicois which is stuffed vegetables ‘A La Nicoise’. Needless to say I took a doggie bag home! Here is their website. You can take a look at their menu: https://www.restaurantsafari.fr
The evening photo allows me, from my rental apartment, a view of the tourists wandering the streets and the locals busily making their way to the grocers or running other errands as a part of their daily life. I even like the noise that carries up to the apartment. I feel a part of the action yet not have to be IN it.
The next 6 photos take you to lunch on November 15th! at Le Plongeoir (http://www.leplongeoir.com/en/home/) I had been wanting to get to this restaurant (with an out-of-town friend that always comes to visit me for a few days when I am in Nice) for OH..so long..but the timing didn’t come together. So I decided to finally do it by myself last year. I believe this was the restaurant’s last day of the season before closing for the winter. So, as you can see, it was warm enough to eat outside with the views my main reason for wanting to go and they did not disappoint.
The sailors and various boatsmen seemed to agree with me. The other restaurant guests seemed to have the same idea too! I would return again and again for the view, just with knowing the food not being the star of the ‘show’.
The last photo was taken from the bar at the Hotel Aston La Scala (12 Avenue Felix Faure), which affords this view. And, if you can afford some time for a drink, you can soak in the view too. The hotel is on the new Nice side so you are looking out on the park (Promenade de Paillon or Coulee Verte) that separates the new vs. the old Nice. The reflected light down the center of the park is a gigantic fountain of sorts so the reflections are coming off the fountain’s extensive stretch of spurts of water. One visit to the bar I listened to live music by a guitar player. Another time, the waiter offered to take me to the rooftop so I could get a 360 degree view of Nice.
Have you thought about moving or are you content with where you live? Where do you like to visit in the Autumn months? A
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