French croissant breakfast @MargoLestz
Margo LestzTaste

Learn the History Behind the French Croissant

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: The flaky, buttery croissant is as French as a beret or a baguette, but its roots lie in a seventeenth century Austrian battle. Croissant Origin Legend The legend of the croissant traces this pastry’s ancestry back to the 1683 Battle of Vienna… The city was …

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Calisson d'Aix Drawing Margo Lestz
Margo LestzTaste

The Calisson of Provence: A Sweet Story

The calisson is a small, distinctive, almond-shaped candy which first appeared in Aix-en-Provence in the fifteenth century, during the reign of Good King René. The following legend is often associated with its creation… A King, a Queen, and a Candy Jeanne de Laval wasn’t pleased when she found out that …

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Henri Matisse Art lidole-1942
Artists Inspired by ProvenceInspireMargo Lestz

Henri Matisse, a Nun, and a Chapel in Vence, Provence

“Night Nurse Needed – Should be young and pretty.” This was the ad Henri Matisse placed with the nursing school in Nice, France in 1942. He was seventy-two years old and still working while recovering from a serious surgery. He required constant care and needed someone to fill in while …

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Provence Christmas Story
ExploreMargo LestzProvencal History & Traditions

The Provence Christmas Story a Tale of the Santons

You may know the traditional Biblical Christmas story, but in Provence, there is a bit more to it. The Provence Christmas story is told in a Nativity play called a pastorale. It incorporates the main details of the traditional Nativity but sets it in a nineteenth-century Provençal village. …Continue reading here …

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Matisse in Studio
Artists Inspired by ProvenceInspireMargo Lestz

The Artist and His Objects: Matisse in His Studio

I’ve just been to a wonderful exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts in London. It was called Matisse in the Studio, and it shows how the objects that Matisse surrounded himself with appeared in his art. Henri Matisse was a collector: He had an array of vases, chairs, carpets, furniture, …

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Renart Chantecler Foxes Roosters
ExploreMargo Lestz

Renart and Chantecler: Two Animals that Shaped French Culture and Language

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: A few months ago, I wrote about the Gallic rooster and how it became the symbol of France. Then William Bahr, an online friend with whom I share an interest in the French Revolution, asked me why the rooster was called Chantecler. This caused me to do a …

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Margo Lestz Author Curious Histories Provence
Books on ProvenceInspireMargo Lestz

Curious Histories of Provence, Tales from the South of France

My books are called Curious Histories and my blog is called the Curious Rambler. I like the word curious because of its double meaning: On the one hand, it means eager to know or learn something – which definitely applies to me: I’ve always been a curious person. But on …

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Gallic Rooster France
ExploreMargo Lestz

Discover the Curious History of the Gallic Rooster of France

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: Many nations are represented by the symbol of an animal. Normally, they choose one whose characteristics reflect those of the country: The United Kingdom chose the brave lion and the United States claims the majestic bald eagle. What animal do you think represents France? … The barnyard rooster. …Continue reading …

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Curious Histories Provence Margo Lestz
Books on ProvenceInspireMargo Lestz

New Book: Curious Histories of Provence: Tales from the South of France

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: Hello Everyone, I’m happy to announce that my latest book, “Curious Histories of Provence: Tales from the South of France“ is now published. Ahh, Provence… that magical place in the south of France. It fills our minds with images of lazy, sunny days sitting …

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Prints of Provence cotton fabric Markets
InspireMargo LestzShopping & Gifts

Discover the History of the Prints of Provence: “Les Indiennes”

Contributor blog post by Margo Lestz: How could a fabric that originated in India, was copied by Armenians, and outlawed in France become a symbol of Provence? The kaleidoscope of cotton fabrics that punctuate the Provençal markets today, just seem to shout “southern France.” They are decorated with cicadas, olives, …

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