Inspirations from Our Summer in Provence

by Emmi Micallef September 04, 2016

A trip to Provence, François' birthplace

The inspiration for this blog - as seen from it's title - came easily to me since we just returned from Francois' birthplace, Apt, France in Provence.  As an  American - I partly define myself as a Francophile. I was a French high school teacher - but beyond that - the French language always holds a passion for me.  The words do fall from my tongue. I finally understand more nuances than during my college years studying l'imparfait.  

Married to a Frenchman for nearly 17 years - I still have not accomplished the upside down smile - although my daughter has.  The standards and exactitude of the French cultural when it comes to food, beauty, architecture - it's all very real.  We can spend upwards of 15 minutes discussing what is the perfect angle to slice un gâteau that has an irregular form.  Sentences like, "ce n'etait pas mauvais" discussing the cake afterward - the most amazing cake I have yet to experience...was qualified as, "it was not bad".  This is exactitude.  This means that surely someone else somewhere can make a more delicious and more beautiful cake.  The bar is always that high.  Maybe unachievable...

Circling back to my life - Pavé, François...we always search to perfect our products. We see the standard of beauty in our minds...we know it exists...we want to reach that high. So we follow our passions...our instincts....and we get inspired from our summers in Provence.
Summers in Provence French Limestone pavers
If I could only pack away the light of Provence in a magic box...and open it during cold New England days...

Walking in Provence - in small villages like Oppedette, Viens, Vachères, Céreste is the most favorite and crucial "loisir" François and I do when we are in Provence.  We take it in - most times in silence...the beauty leaves us speechless.

Oppedette, France French Limestone

Endless inspiration...did this mason realize the depth and breath of beauty he was creating so long ago...using materials of the region...the "humble" French limestone from Provence? 

Summers in Provence Antique French Limestone Building Materials

This door left both François and I, "bouches bés"...meaning speechless..........

Summers in Provence Harvesting Lavender

After a long day in the lavender fields with François' cousin, Olivier - François returned that evening smelling like Provence and sleeping like a baby...

Summers in Provence Marché d'Apt

Saturday mornings and never do we miss le Marché d'Apt.

 les melons de Cavaillon

Those famous melons de Cavaillon...François' mother serves them cut in half, seeds scooped out and replaced by Porto and a spoon.

Marché d'Apt, France

Where's François?

Le Marché d'Apt

Hum...what to cook tonight?

Le Marché d'Apt

Les fruits de me régale...

Le Marché d'Apt

Merci, Monsieur!  Quel bon pain!

Le Marché d'Apt

This was just one of a dozen's of cheese stands...but it looks like a professional photo shoot. 

Summers in Provence Le Mistral

Le Mistral as seen through my daughter's hair...Viens, France

This last photo is my favorite.  It invokes all that is important to me.  My family and life's simple pleasures - like our walks.  The extent of this beauty before us...I am still in awe. As my mind circles back to Pavé and Historic Decorative Materials - I realize I will forever be running after this bar...achievements of beauty before my eyes that may only be created and found in the Heavens....

Thank you for your time.  Sincerely - I know it's limited.

Emmi Micallef

Co-owner Historic Decorative Materials, a division of Pavé Tile, Wood & Stone, Inc.


Emmi Micallef
Emmi Micallef


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