Guest Post: Le Trip’s Jill Mitchell on life in Provence


I “met” Jill Mitchell when I e-mailed her about a fantastic vintage snake anatomy print I spied while visiting her Ebay store.  An American who chronicles her life in Provence on her blog Le Trip, Jill organizes day trips, tours and travel packages for those of us who do not live like she does.  But don’t worry if you can’t get away, Jill collects interesting things on her trips, vintage French school charts (anatomy and otherwise) and an assortment of decorative odds and ends, which she sells for very reasonable prices online at her Ebay and Etsy shops.  When I realized Jill was living my fantasy life, I asked her if she’d consider living my actual life by taking the reigns at Strange Closets for the day.  She agreed, so I’m taking the day off.  Pay attention and be good.  Also, please take some time to visit Jill’s Ebay and Etsy shops.  I’ve bought two things already, including this beauty:



Le Trip’s Jill Mitchell on life in Provence

When you live in France and you’re a garage sale/flea market/secondhand store junkie chances are good that you’re going to amass treasure, which is what I do almost every day of the week.  I spend the rest of the time looking for the new owners of my posters, which is how I discovered Strange Closets and became an instant fan of the blog.  “A design blog about people”!  I love that approach because what I love about all the things I find is the life lived around them.  Going to the French version of a garage sale is like going on a kind of anthropological dig.

When Tate asked me to do a guest blog, I thought I would go to the big city and shoot at one of the places I buy where I have been wanting to take pictures for a while.

I live near Aix en Provence, not far from Marseille, above an absinthe distillery called La Liquoristerie de Provence.  My boyfriend is the liquoriste and makes some mighty fine absinthes (the brand is Versintheq), pastis, thyme liqueur and other delicious Provençal apéritifs.  If you are ever in the area, come over for a dégustation, a taste, at the boutique.  This is where we live.

Continued . . .


Have you ever seen anything cooler than this bad boy, er, cow?

If you want to buy vintage in France, there are lots of possibilities: village garage sales (beautiful events), secondhand stores, flea markets, boutiques, and at dealers’ consortiums like the one I visited in Marseille called Les Arnavaux, which is a huge warehouse you can find once you find the Arab market near the docks of the industrial port of Marseille.  There are an abundance of interesting antiques available at the Market, and shopping there will keep you busy for hours.

Lots of people go to Paris to shop for vintage, and Paris is great, and it’s really expensive.  For some warm weather, warmer attitude and good prices, consider hopping on the speed train to Provence, and let me know you’re coming.  I’ll invite you over for a glass of absinthe.

Thanks Jill!  I’m booking my airline ticket.  And please remember to visit Jill’s Ebay and Etsy shops.  Even if you don’t plan to buy, it’s fun just to look.













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9 Responses to “Guest Post: Le Trip’s Jill Mitchell on life in Provence”

  1. Thanks Jill and Tate. I thoroughly enjoyed this post. I’ll be thinking of French things for the rest of the day.

  2. I am so jealous of her life.

  3. Tate,

    Hope you enjoyed your day off. Everyone behaved perfectly except for a little jealousy flare.

    Thanks for this – lots of fun!


  4. Thanks, Jill, for sharing your interesting life in Provence. And what a great idea for a trip.

  5. Can you think me up one too por favor?

  6. This is insane!!! Jill I don’t drink anymore but I am coming over. Maybe we can have juice instead but I want to buy it all. AMAZING!!! So AMAZING!!!!!

  7. Carol Shetler 29. Oct, 2009 at 8:50 pm

    Merci beaucoup, cher Tate et Jill! C’est magnifique! J’espere beaucoup rendre visite a Provence au futur. (Thanks dear Tate and Jill. This is magnificent! I hope very much to visit Provence in the future. )

    Depuis combien de temps avez-vous habite Aix en Provence, Jill? Est-ce que c’etait difficile d’obtenir des documents de travail pour la France? (How long have you lived in Aix en Provence, Jill? Was it hard to get work papers for France?)

    Don’t mind me, just showing off my bilingual tendencies. I would love to visit, and even more, I would like to teach English in France. If you have any suggestions, Jill, please pass them on to Tate to convey to me. Have a great weekend.

  8. Hi Albert! No need to drink wine or absinthe, it’s still merveilleux. Come on over and go shopping with me!

    Carol, merci de votre message. Je suis à Aix depuis trois ans, et en France pendant 10 ans en tout. Oui, French working papers are très difficile d’obtenir. The only thing I can say is to come to France and start your journey.

    Bon weekend.

  9. All I can say is that Jill is a magnificent guide. Two trips to France with her has captured me forever. Her knowledge, flair, sensitivity to the culture, knowledge of wines, markets, food makes it such a personal learning experience. I felt as tho I’d seen the REAL France each time. Hope to make a third trip soon.