Paint in Provence Wednesday, Sep 24 2014 

Provence is possibly the most beautiful and rewarding region in all of France. It is known for its charming villages, picturesque countryside, warm sunshine, lively markets, fragrant gardens, flavorful cuisine, wonderful wines, and relaxed culture. And Provence’s stunning light and color have inspired artists for centuries.


This next summer, your can have your own French art experience with French Affaires’ upcoming “Provence Painting & Culture Workshop” featuring southern France artist and resident Jill Steenhuis and hosting by France expert Elizabeth Seitz. During this hands-on week plus of French painting and culture, you’ll discover various motifs including Provençal landscapes, village architecture, outdoor markets, still lifes and more while working on composition, brush stroke and color mixing. Cultural visits to Cézanne’s art studio, Van Gogh’s painting sites and more will deepen your understanding of the real Provence. Jill’s artistic expertise, warm energy and poetic spirit plus Elizabeth’s knowledge and desire to share the riches of this region make it a creative journey you won’t want to miss!

“Provence Painting & Culture Workshop”

May 28 to June 6, 2015  ~ FULL ~

SECOND TRIP ADDED: September 24 to October 3, 2015   ~ FULL ~

Everything is arranged for your perfect art adventure – private accommodations in modern apartments in the heart of Aix-en-Provence, painting lessons for beginners to experienced artists with celebrated painter Jill Steenhuis, superb cultural excursions in the steps of artists Cézanne and Van Gogh, wonderful lunches and dinners featuring Provence cuisine with wine, visits to colorful outdoor markets, trip hosting by Elizabeth Seitz, and more. You’ll love soaking in the art and ambiance of Provence during this personal and unique painting trip in southern France.

Provence Painting & Culture Workshop Highlights

Nine days, eight nights in your modern, centrally located Aix apartment

Outdoor & studio painting classes with artist Jill Steenhuis

Cultural activities & trip hosting by France expert Dr. Elizabeth Seitz

Guided cultural tours of Cézanne’s & Van Gogh’s Provence

Gourmet Provence lunches & dinners with wine

Colorful Provence outdoor markets & villages

Your wonderful paintings & sketches to take home as souvenirs of your trip!


Your Provence Trip Hosts

 Jill Steenhuis, Artist

Jill Painting in CassisJill Steenhuis, an Atlanta native, is a French impressionist painter living in the south of France. Jill earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts at Sweet Briar College in 1980. Upon graduation, she studied at the celebrated Leo Marchutz School of Painting & Drawing in Aix-en-Provence, which follows in the tradition of Cézanne. Since then, she has become an acclaimed artist & has sold more than 2300 works to private collectors, museums & art enthusiasts. She regularly exhibits her work at art shows in France & the U.S. Jill has lived in Provence with her French husband for more than thirty years & has three sons.

Dr. Elizabeth New Seitz, French Affaires

ENS_croppedA native Texan, Dr. Elizabeth New Seitz is a specialist in France & French culture. She is the founder of French Affaires, a unique company celebrating French travel, culture, language & l’art de vivre. She received her B.A., M.A. & Ph.D. in French from Vanderbilt University & studied at the Sorbonne in Paris & with Vanderbilt-in-France in Aix-en-Provence. She has lived, worked & traveled extensively in France since 1983. Her specialty is making France personal & special to everyone through her trips, classes & lectures. She still loves to teach the French language & is often asked to speak about French culture to groups across the U.S.

Provence Trip Overview (Sept 2015 trip follows same format)

Day 1: Thursday, May 28Depart your home city & fly to Marseille.

Day 2:  Friday, May 29Arrival at the Marseille Airport, Transfer to your Apartment, Walking tour of Aix, Welcome Bistrot Dinner with Jill & Elizabeth

Day 3: Saturday, May 30Aix Outdoor Market Tour, Cezanne’s Art Studio, Jill’s Art Studio, Cocktails & Dinner at Jill’s Provence Home

ChezNous l'Abeille

 Jill’s beautiful home just outside Aix-en-Provence 

Day 4:  Sunday, May 31Provence Painting Workshop Begins: Color Palettes, Sketching, Painting Demonstration by Jill  

Day 5:  Monday, June 1Provence Painting Workshop Continues: Landscape Painting en plein air

Day 6: Tuesday, June 2Provence Painting Workshop Continues: Charming Port of Cassis on the Mediterranean  

Day 7:  Wednesday, June 3Van Gogh’s Art in Provence: Arles, Abbaye de Montmajour & St. Paul de Mausole, St. Rémy’s Charming Town & Market, Bistrot lunch



Van Gogh’s Asylum near St. Rémy with reproductions of his works in the garden

Day 8:  Thursday, June 4Provence Painting Workshop Continues: Aix Flower & Vegetable Market



Day 9: Friday, June 5Provence Painting Workshop Continues: Still Life & Garden Scene Painting, Hang Artworks, Evening Art Exhibit, Cocktail Party & Farewell Dinner 

Day 10: Saturday, June 6Farewells & Trip Departure

About Aix-en-Provence


Aix-en-Provence is a gorgeous, vibrant city in the heart of Provence. With a rich history & welcoming southern French culture, Aix provides a superb base for our stay in France. Aix is known for its majestic monuments & architecture, beautiful old town, centuries old fountains, fascinating museums & cultural institutions, wonderful cuisine, colorful outdoor markets, popular universities& schools, lively arts & music scene, & grand boulevard the Cours Mirabeau, noted by many to be the prettiest main street in all of Europe.

 For the detailed Provence Painting Trip itinerary and registration information, please email us at . This special trip is limited to 8 to 10 participants for a highly personalized art and travel experience.  

A personal invitation from Jill to the “Provence Painting & Culture Workshop”:

Elizabeth and I look forward to welcoming you to Provence for an intensive week of painting and cultural inspiration! Our French art workshop is designed for both experienced and beginning painters alike. The focus is on experiencing nature and culture in Provence through the senses in order to engage one’s inner poetry — to see, hear, smell, taste and feel, which will lead you to create new paintings expressing these experiences.

Out in the fields of wheat, sunflowers and lavender in the Provençal landscape, at the seascapes of Cassis or in the flower and vegetable markets of Aix, we will celebrate color. Our workshop will begin with learning to mix a harmonious palette at l’Abeille, my Provence studio and home, which will be our headquarters for the week. After warming up with special drawing exercises, each participant will do a landscape or garden painting in order to get used to the colors and light of Provence. The rest of the week we will draw and paint in the landscape and see places that inspired geniuses like Cézanne and Van Gogh, always seeking to release our creative spirit. Ideas come to our fingertips. Brush strokes go on the canvas. Immediacy is a key element to being able to let go of the intellect and let the paint fly onto the canvas without thinking and calculating, allowing artistic grace to happen. The exhilarating joy of being there to paint, to create from what is visually there in front of you, the sublime fragile beauty and translucent light of Provence will make it an unforgettable experience. A bientôt!

To meet Jill prior to the workshop, feel free to attend any of her fall 2014 art shows in the U.S.: 

October 9-10, 2014 – Richmond, Virginia
October 20-21, 2014 – Dallas, Texas

October 23-24, 2014 – Dallas, TX

October 30-Nov 1, 2014 – Ft. Worth, TX

November 5, 2014 – St. Louis, MO

Permanent display – Atlanta, GA

For the full schedule, locations and times, please click here.


French Mustard on the Move Thursday, Sep 11 2014 

You’ve probably heard that the food truck craze has hit France and Paris in particular. French-style burgers, dim sum, tex-mex, pizza (though great pizza trucks have been around in France for a long time!), sandwiches, ice cream, crêpes and more are on offer in these mobile meal machines and are getting rave reviews. Last year even saw the country’s first “Food Trucks Festival” take place just outside Paris. Click here and here for quick guides to Paris food trucks by Le Figaro newspaper and L’Express magazine.

But the famous French Dijon mustard company Maille has decided to one-up the French food truck frenzy and share its delicious offerings on a national tasting tour across America. This month, following a wildly successful East coast tour this past summer, the Maille Mustard Mobile is turning heads in California and the Midwest. The snazzy mustard-bar-on-wheels will spread the French mustard love in San Francisco, Oakland, Los Angeles and Chicago at food festivals, local restaurants, food stores and trendy urban locations.

Maille Mustard Mobile on the Road

The black and gold Maille Mustard Mobile features a custom-designed tasting bar from which several Maille mustards including Dijon Originale, Old Style, Honey Dijon, Horseradish, and Rich Country can be sampled alongside the brand’s crunchy Cornichons. Mustard fans have the opportunity to compose their own palette of Dijon flavors, compare tastes, and choose their favorites. Recipes are also available to inspire creative cooking with mustard. And it’s all complimentary.

Maille_Mustard Bar

Maille Mustard Mobile_Dijon Tasting Palette

So what is Maille’s goal in driving its chic French food truck around the U.S.? To entice discerning food lovers to try its world-renowned mustards and other gourmet products. And if it converted more than a few fans of regular yellow mustard into afficionados of its marvelous French moutardes, then that wouldn’t be so bad either!

So if you live in California or Chicago or are visiting there this month, check the Maille Mustard Mobile schedule below and come on out for some French mustard on the move:

September 11
Nob Hill Foods
1250 Grant Road
Mountain View, CA 94040

September 12
2035 Filmore Street (Between Pine and California)
San Francisco, CA

September 13
Ferry Plaza Farmers Market
1 Ferry Building Marketplace
San Francisco, CA 94111
8:00am – 2:00pm

September 17
Santa Monica Farmer’s Market
Location TBD
Los Angeles, CA

Greenspan’s Grilled Cheese
7461 Melrose Ave
Los Angeles, CA 90046

September 18
27702 Crown Valley Parkway Suite B
Ladera Ranch CA 92694 

September 20
Eat Real Food Festival
65 Webster Street
Oakland, CA 94607
10:30am – 9:00 pm 

September 21
Eat Real Food Festival
65 Webster Street
Oakland, CA 94607
10:30am – 5:00 pm

September 27, 28 & 29 – Chicago (locations TBA)

(Click here for the regularly updated schedule and locations.)

Another reason for coming out? Lucky tasters will have the chance to win a three-day culinary and cultural adventure in Paris for two while additional winners will score a year’s supply of Maille mustard. For a great preview of the Maille Mustard Mobile tasting experience and how to say the word ‘Maille,’ click here to take a look at the tour video. And you can click here to see a previous French Affaires article on Maille’s history and its wonderful boutique in Paris.

Maille_Mustard Mobile_Tour Map

French Onion Soup in Paris Thursday, Sep 4 2014 

Sometimes you just have a French craving. For me in late May, it was French onion soup. Unfortunately my Paris lunch cantine (regular neighborhood restaurant), the Café Varenne in the Rue du Bac, had just taken it off their menu until the cold weather came around again. I suppose it was too hot and too filling for the summer. Still, Paris weather in May was a bit cool so I was determined to find some good French soupe à l’oignon.

Then I remembered the classic Paris brasserie where French onion soup is always on the menu – the legendary Au Pied de Cochon.


Located in the Les Halles area of the city, Au Pied de Cochon opened in 1947 and has been a Paris institution ever since. As you might guess from its name, the restaurant’s specialty is everything about the pig. For example, one of their star dishes is “Le fameux Pied de cochon grillé, sauce Béarnaise, pommes frites” (the famous grilled pig’s trotter with Bearnaise sauce served with French fries). While I am always tempted to try chef specialties in France, I’ll stick to steak with my sauce Béarnaise, thank you very much, which the restaurant offers along with plenty of other good non-pig brasserie dishes. (Click here to check out the Pied de Cochon menu in French; for the menu in English, click here.)

But I was on a mission to enjoy Au Pied de Cochon’s traditional French onion soup and it did not disappoint. It came piping hot with the right combination of onion and beef broth flavors. And the golden crust of toasted emmenthal cheese (the key to great French onion soup) was perfect topper. At 8,50 euros, it made for a great – and filling – meal and a bargain for lunch in Paris!


Truth be told, I had not been to Au Pied de Cochon in years thinking it a bit too touristy for my taste. What a pleasant surprise to find it overflowing with French patrons. And the warm, personable service was the biggest treat of all.

You can’t however talk about Au Pied de Cochon without mentioning the decor. The bright, authentically French atmosphere is a big plus. The white cloth napkins are lovely. But it’s the pig paraphernalia everywhere that catches your eye. From the cochons on the zinc bar to the pig’s trotter door handles, the pig is the guest of honor. It could easily seem corny or tacky but it all works – and wonderfully so.



To wrap up this nice lunch, I ordered un express (expresso coffee) which is de rigueur for the French after their meals. Often in France it comes with a small square of chocolate. At Au Pied de Cochon, it is served with a darling pair of meringue cookies – in the shape of the pig, bien sûr!


NB: Au Pied de Cochon is open “jour et nuit” (day and night) 24 hours a day, seven days a week, 365 days a year. In essence, it never closes. So if you end up with a French onion soup craving in Paris on any day at any hour, think about heading to this classic Paris venue!


Au Pied de Cochon

6 Rue Coquillière

75001 Paris, France