Even in the winter months in Aix-en-Provence, a tableau of colors unfurls in the town square of the town hall Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday (and every day in the warmer months of the year). Early mornings bring the flower vendors. They set up their stands side by side, the percolating fountain serenades those browsing the colorful array of flowers.
The selection is always seasonal...right now in January, it is the bright, golden orbs of mimosa - a small patch of sun in the only dark months in Provence. Tulips are here as well and bright flashes of ranunculus and anemones.
I ask one of the vendors where he shops for his flowers. He said there is only one place, and it happens to be the largest professional flower market in France and it is here in Provence, in Hyères (down the coast toward Saint Tropez).
I ask another vendor about her favorite flowers...she says, "My favorite flower right now is the mimosa. The mimosa is a flower that is in season in winter. It is a flower that gives luminosity, brightness and a bit of spring in the months that are a bit darker, even in Provence. It is an ephemeral blossom, but very special."
Flowers in the winter months bring hope and light into the home. Paired with the perfect tablecloth, they provide respite from the shorter days and darker moments of winter.