Expat Living and Real EstateJulie WhitmarshLearning French

Bees and a French Lesson in an Organic Garden

By Vaucluse Dreamer:

Bee-Friendly Provence

When you think of flowers in Provence, your mind tends to think about fields ablaze with poppies or the purple flashes of the lavender fields and the vibrant markets are home to stalls piled high with locally-produced fruit and vegetables or selling honey, created by bees that visit all these flowers.

So often we have cycled or walked past beehives set on the edges of lavender fields or placed at the edge of the garrigue. You’ll always find a pot of the locally-produced honey in our cupboard.

Bee populations are threatened in many countries, including France. Pesticides and high pollution levels are particularly harmful to these insects. There are some 120 insects and birds that do the work of pollinating flowers, fruit trees, grape vines, olive groves and tree nuts (almonds, walnuts, hazelnuts). However, the quantity of bees, or lack thereof, is more than symbolic of poor farming practices. The good news, as Julie points out in her article, is the growing awareness and momentum towards pesticide-free farming.

Springtime in Provence is often associated with fields of bright red poppies. Not only are the flowers beautiful, and hard to photograph, the red blooms do not produce if there are pesticides present. To find out more sign-up for the Nous Voulons des Coquelicots newsletter, or follow the France-based organization calling for the ban of synthetic pesticides, on social media.

French Lesson and Organic Gardening

Past our days of dull classroom-based learning, language lessons need to be engaging. Marina Deepoorter is both a friend and our French teacher. Her approach to language improvement at Ecole Franci Discendum is to make the process fun, informative and useful. On this occasion, a group of Marina’s students enjoyed their French lesson in an organic garden in the Luberon. The owner Olivia explained her philosophy, along with the herbs and flowers growing on the property. Participants sampled some of the tisanes (herbal teas) made from plants harvested and dried on her farm.

Bespoke French Lessons

Read more about Marina Depoorter and her unique offerings for learning French in Provence.

Join a cooking class: Aprons Required Foraging for Food a French Immersion Cooking Class in Provence.

Marina will work with you to design a program to suit your needs, language capability and time availability. Learn French in Provence Flexible Programs for Visitors and Expats

French Lessons in Provence Studying at Your Pace – stress-free learning.

Continue reading here to read the original contributor blog post by Vaucluse Dreamer and to see all Julie’s beautiful photos.


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Julie Whitmarsh

Julie Whitmarsh

Julie and her husband Andy started visiting the Vaucluse area 25 years ago & over the years have increased the amount of time they spend there with their growing family. She has a deep affection for the area, finding it is a great place to visit, where the whole family can relax and enjoy time together.

She longs for the day when she can ‘up-sticks’ from her home on Dartmoor & relocate to the Luberon and spend her days cycling, walking, visiting markets & brocante fairs and of course enjoying the local food and drink.

Her blog VaucluseDreamer gives her a space to highlight some of her favourite things about the area from places to visit to particular activities that she and her family all enjoy.

She hopes one day it will be a place where she can share the process of renovating a house in France, but at the moment that will have to wait.

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