A few weeks ago, my family and I went on an unbelievable trip to France. We spent 10 days living the good life – our time split evenly between Paris, the city of lights, and Provence, the land of olive groves, vineyards and picturesque mountaintop towns. I couldn’t have asked for a better vacation. Absolute joie de vivre.
In Paris, we rented a beautiful apartment in Le Marias, and enjoyed all of the local shops and groceries to every extent we could. We were lucky enough to be staying just around the corner from a wonderful boulangerie-pâtisserie, and every morning we planned our day over steaming cappuccinos, freshly made baguettes smothered with sea-salt butter, and flaky, buttery pastries.
With our stomaches full and our bodies fully caffeinated, we hit the ground running, ready to see the sights of Paris. We walked absolutely everywhere, from Notre Dame, to the Luxembourg Gardens, to the Eiffel Tower, to the windy streets of Montmartre. Every day was a new adventure, and we enjoyed exploring the cobbled site streets of Le Maris and Saint-Germain-des-Prés just as much as seeing the famous sites. My favorite part of the long days was stopping off at little cafes, to refuel with a few glasses of Rosé and a plateau de fromages. Every evening, after a long day of sightseeing, we’d regroup in the apartment, and over a few more
glasses bottles of wine, we’d research places to go for dinner. Thanks to recommendations from friends and family, and also quite a few tips from one of my favorite bloggers, David Lebovitz, we managed to find really authentic restaurants in hip neighborhoods, and ate to our hearts content. Below you can find a list of some of our favorite restaurants in Paris in case you’re heading there soon!
After 5 days in Paris, it was time to move on to Provence! Though most of my family had been to Paris before, none of us had been to Provence. My main research leading up to our trip to the south of France was reading Peter Mayle’s A Year In Provence. I fantasized about rolling golden hills, covered with vast vineyards and olive groves. I dreamed of winding stone streets with sidewalk cafes and the chimes of church bells, echoing from the tiny village’s chapel. And most of all, I craved the lazy afternoon lunches, filled with freshly baked bread, copious amounts of Rosé, perfectly cooked omelettes, fresh, buttery fish filets, tantalizing local cheese plates, and flaky, buttery apple tartines. I must say, I was not disappointed. Provence lived up to everything I dreamed about – it was one of the most beautiful and romantic places I have ever been, and I can not wait to go back.
We rented a gorgeous villa in the mountaintop town, Gordes, and spent our days traveling around to the picturesque small villages of the Luberon valley. Every village has it’s own local flavor, and we drank it up while strolling the side-streets and exploring the weekly markets, filled with fresh produce, cheeses, meats, olives, soaps, textiles, and local arts and crafts. For lunch, we ate at sidewalk cafes and local brasseries, ordering 3 course meals, accompanied by multiple bottles of wine. Slightly tipsy and feeling quite soporific, we perused the local markets and stocked up on supplies for dinner.
After returning home from a long day of sight-seeing, we relaxed by the pool with an aperitif enjoying the view of Gordes and its surrounding olive groves. Does life get any better? Each night we took turns cooking dinner in the stunning farmhouse kitchen at the villa. We sat down to a beautifully decorated dining table, covered in wildflowers picked from the overgrown garden. We drank, and ate, and told stories and laughed until it was well past midnight and we turned in.
I made this tomato tart recipe on a night when we had gotten home quite late, and had a very large, extended lunch. It was the perfect light meal to follow an action-packed day. We ate quite late, so the light was not great for taking pictures, but the tart is certainly elegant, despite the low-lit pictures. Now being back in the states, looking through all my pictures from the trip, I think of how lucky I am to be able to travel with my family and to experience nights in Provence, drinking wine and eating a delicious meal. I hope anytime I make this recipe, I’m immediately brought back there, to experience that same, soporific feeling we did at the large, farm dining table. I can not wait to go back.
French Tomato Tart
Adapted from David Lebovitz
- 1/2 recipe for all-butter pie crust (excluding the sugar)
- 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
- 3 medium-sized tomatoes, cut 1/2 inch thick
- 4 ounces goat cheese, crumbled
- 5 large basil leaves, roughy chopped
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
Prepare half of the butter pie crust and set aside in the refrigerator until ready to use.
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
Roll out the pie dough until it is ~1/4 inch thick. Place in a 9 inch quiche pan or glass pie plate and press until it conforms to the pan and flute the edges. Brush the bottom of the crust evenly with the mustard. Layer the tomatoes, going in a circular pattern, starting at the outer edge of the tart and working your way in to form a pretty pattern. Dot the tart evenly with the cheese and sprinkle with basil. Drizzle the olive oil over the tart and sprinkle with salt and pepper.
Bake in the oven for 25-35 minutes, checking frequently after 25 minutes to ensure the tart doesn’t burn, until the tomatoes are cooked through and the crust is golden brown. Serve right away.Bon appétit!
Tart will keep for 2 days, covered and refrigerated.