When it comes to France, my joy is sparked not by the grand avenues of Paris, dainty treats from the patisserie, or high fashion shopping, but from the rough and ready parts – bold flavours, cold seaside towns, grimy newsagents, supermarket shelves and farmers markets. My favourite French towns and cities will never make it into Vogue, but they provide the kind of experience I crave – real life, real people, real food. A few years ago, my husband and I visited Marseille, completely unaware of its seedy reputation, and discovered a beautiful, underappreciated gem of a city, complete with a rich tradition of gorgeous Provencial food and culture that I fell in love with. Continue reading
One of the specialties of the south of France is pastis, an aniseed liqueur which is usually diluted in chilled water and consumed as an aperitif. Pastis grew in popularity following the ban of absinthe and anise in 1915 – bartenders would concoct their own blends of a similarly tasting tipple and offer these illegal drinks under the bar to enthusiastic customers.