18 September 2010

Provence, Reinterpreted

I've been deeply involved with my family and doing some traveling these last few weeks. Now September is well upon us. It's a bittersweet, busy time when we have to switch gears from long lazy summer days with a toe in the sand, to get ready for the crisp, business-like, briefer and cooler days of fall. That's the essence of la rentree...our re-entry into our workaday lives after the sonorous summer days.

No longer do we fuss over the al fresco brunch in the dappled summer sunlight; now there are apples to pick and furnaces to service. The steps quicken, the leaves blow around on the wind. These dwindling daylight hours signal a change is in the air.

Looking back to late summer, I loved this 20th anniversary celebration of Côté Sud magazine featuring iconic Provençal items refreshed and given a modern twist by artisans in the South of France just for the occasion; old standbys like the tomettes and cigales are reinterpreted here.

They make me think of an endless summer.

typically in terra cotta, these hexagonal "tommettes" have been found in
Provençal homes for centuries; here they have been
updated with "Profils" to evoke the artistry of Picasso, Cocteau, Chagall


Basquaise in origin, this adorable bag features a polka dot base
adorned with flamenco-dress ruffles


standing in for doors in the summer, this bead screen is
newly interpreted using the Toiles du Soleil as small
circles threaded together and flowing on the
summer breezes


the cigale, or beloved little cricket, is the symbol of Frederic Mistral's
Provence; here the little chirper is saucily interpreted for building bricks


the classic Marseillaise dish, bouillabaisse was originally the snack of fishermen;
they would dip their fish in the broth when boiling and reduce the heat when
reboiled, hence the name "bolhabaissa" is Occitan Provencal. This set is inspired
by an 18th c. version is cleanly designed


this "light as summer" sarong is a reinterpretation of an 1825
print found in the Fragonard Museum and made
into this lovely tribute to the Indian origins of Provençal prints


used for keeping wine cool for the farmers returning from the
hot fields at noontime, these iconic pourou from Roussillon
have been interpreted in fresh modern colors for
the 20th anniversary of Côté Sud


the Carmargue Cross symbolizes the three virtues:
the herdsman, the anchor of hope,
and the charity of Saint Mary;
here the symbol is placed in bas-relief
on colorful stoneware


the classic straw market basket made popular by Brigitte Bardot
and Jane Birkenis reinterpreted here in yellow goatskin and lined with
a beautiful old vintage kilim remnant

get the original from my friend Andrea at The French Basketeer!


traditionally seen in earth colored clay and glazes of
green and ochre, these olive oil jars have been
modernized with refreshing white and fresh colors


a market umbrella evokes the 50's with its
vintage fabrics and colors on the cool beaches
of the French Mediterranean coast


all images Côté Sud


  1. I have not had "a summer" but I treasure my week ends swimming, biking, being with my boys and then ity all get snatched away from you...the boys left for college, pool water getting cold, grey mornings too cold to go running. As you, i take my copies of cote Sud and dream of more summers to come.

  2. Bonjour Francine! Where do you live? It's hard to send the kids back off after a lively summer! We had such a chilly summertime in San Francisco, the warm days were fleeting and precious. Nothing compares to summer in Provence, with the rocky sea and the sunny olive groves! Thanks for the visit!

    xoxo Kit

  3. Those olive jars are phenomenal! Great finds that already have me reminiscing for the summertime...

  4. Kit, we had such a cool summer in Laguna, just a few days of sun; here in Beaune just the mornings are frais, though the afternoons are warm and very sunny. Sad to see summer go...I hang on every word of your posts, your references are so precise....it's not just "a terra cotta tile," it's a tommette! Yay!! Bisous de Beaune, A

  5. Hi Erin! Thanks for visiting! those jars are incredible I agree...have great Sunday


  6. HI Andrea! I just linked to your lovely Aix basket as the classic choice! I see you are in France, and I just emailed you that I will be in Laguna in October...:)....guess I'll have to make it out to Beaune after all to see you!



  7. Kit wonderful...I adore the tommettes, especially with the art designs. I would love to have the sarong the colors are so saturated!

    Come and see...I am having New Giveaway from the French Basketeer!! Andrea is so generous!

    Art by Karena

  8. Kit,

    Thanks for the images, an inspiring last flicker of summer.

  9. Love those tommettes! They would be so perfect on my kitchen floor ... maybe someday. And those modern olive oil jars are very chic.

  10. The Carmargue Cross is beautiful on that stoneware and in those colors! Everything you have listed here is pleasant and grand :)

  11. Beautiful post Kit ... we have our crickets down under and storm birds in our summer! We are just beginning our spring/summer so will keep you posted! I love the image of the beach umbrella .....
    best wishes

  12. Beautiful images to begin the week. Thanks

  13. Lovely images. September brings the best 'summer' weather - my lawn and gardens are at their best. I'm sad to be saying goodbye to summer - I have to remember that fall and winter bring my favorite holidays.

  14. cote sud is one of my favorites...truly inspirational... and after our lack of summer here in seattle..i need to move on and look forward to a lovely fall.

    hope you are well...xx

    may be coming for a visit... however, not havingany luck finding a hotel!
    any suggestions??


I would love to hear what you think! merci!


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