Ashley Tinker, a Canadian in Provence

Originally from Montreal, Ashley Tinker came to settle in the Alpilles with her partner, Robin. In her blog, "Curious Provence", she lists her top choices, recommended places to visit and local products, all unearthed during her outings. This curious foodie had no hesitation in knocking on our door and sharing her vision of the region with us. From Provence with love, have a read!
By Mélissa Darré

An epicurean

What are the little everyday things that make you happy?

Breathe the fresh air of the morning. Walking among the olive trees. Smelling the flowers. Looking at an almond tree from my window. All these little moments are enough to make me happy.

What's your motto?

"Life's too short to eat mediocre food! "(she laughs).

What's your favourite time of the day?

I especially like the coffee breaks I give myself during the day, just to soak up some rays. I'm a real lizard: I need exposure to the sun for at least 15 minutes a day.

And your guilty pleasure?

Praline flavoured chocolate or a glass of red wine. Or both!

Une épicurienne
Photography: José Nicolas

A Provence enthusiast

So what's your favourite Provençal dish?

Hmm, that's a tricky one... I love Mediterranean cuisine: its fresh, high-quality products are a real joy. But if I had to pick one dish, I would say barigoule soup. It's light and really delicious.

What are your favourite spots in Provence?

I live in the Alpilles. I especially like its natural park covered with olive trees, cypresses, vines and almond trees. I also love strolling around the ancient villages in the region, such as Maussane-les-Alpilles, Eygalières, Bonnieux and Aix-en-Provence.

What is a typical regional gift you might give to a friend from another country?

When I go back to see my family or friends, I often take them genuine Marseille soap or a bottle of olive oil from the region.

What smell and what sound do you associate with Provence?

It's impossible for me to pick just one smell! For me, each month has its own scent here. It's hard to choose between the rosemary, lavender and thyme that grow in the garrigue scrubland, not forgetting alyssum, the little white flower that lines the paths and roads. As for a sound, I immediately think of the mistral blowing forcefully through the trees in winter.

Une amoureuse de la Provence
Photography: José Nicolas

An expatriate in the heart of Provence

Is Provence how you imagined it?

The region is as beautiful as I'd imagined, but much more diverse. In an hour's drive, you can find yourself by the sea or on a mountainside, in the heart of the Camargue or in the garrigue scrubland. There are so many different landscapes and even more of those wide open outdoor spaces like in Canada.

Which aspects of Provence do you find particularly appealing at present?

Its landscapes and its biodiversity. From cultivated to wild plants, it's wonderful to see everything that grows here. I'm also fascinated by the agriculture, working the land to grow quality products.

What's your best memory of Provence?

The very first day I drank a few glasses of rosé with the fishermen at Eygalières market. These days, it's something I do often!

What are your future plans in Provence?

I'm going to arrange guided tours in the Alpilles for English speakers wanting to discover my take on this beautiful region.

Une expatriée au cœur de la Provence
Photography: José Nicolas

A beauty lover who listens to her body

What's your definition of female beauty?

For me, it's a mixture of sweetness and character. I struggle to define it in words, but I admire women with natural beauty.

Which beauty product do you always have on you?

I'm never without my face cream!

What's your secret for recharging your batteries?

Every day, I need to give myself a moment of calm. Yoga in the morning, reading a book or hiking, whatever.

What's your little indulgence to make you feel beautiful?

Having a bath with essential oils and giving myself a facial.

Une beautysta à l’écoute de son corps
Photography: José Nicolas

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