While Most Places Businesses in France are the Best and Most Beautiful Places in the World, There are Other Places Businesses Worthy of Note

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A Taste of Home

It is with great pleasure I now sit in my yard, eating the breakfast made by the only native French baker in San Diego, listening to waves crash upon the beach. The croissant, it is buttery, flaky, and fulfilling, nothing like the cornstarch-laden pig slop the locals so seem to enjoy. The new fountain, decorated in Mediterranean Islamic style geometric tiles, burbles happily next to me. I sigh in deep content.

It makes my mind travel to boyhood, when times were simple.

Paris was my home, but the noise, it was too much! I would often languish in stupor, head lolling as the cars would honk and the people would shout. A joyous city, every corner steeped in la joie de vie! My parents knew even at young age my poetic soul would absorb too much of such energy and burst! So they would take me to family estate, nestled in hills south of Toulon, where the rich Mediterranean sea could heal my troubled head.

It was here that my memories shine clearest now, running through the ancient building, ornate arches separating rooms filled with crystalline figures and Baroque art. Diving from 10 meter high cliffs into an emerald sea, competing with other boys to see who could climb them fastest and jump from highest ledge. Sunset bringing cool breeze with smell of sea, filling my young body with vitality and power!  I fell asleep to the sweet sound of my mother singing, my father accompanying her on old guitar and burbling fountain…

As I grow old now, I desire some comforts of home in far away lands I must now stay in for long periods of time. I have the crystal; I have the Baroque paintings lining my walls. Yet still, for so long there was something missing, a hole that could not be filled by art and croissants.

A dream of boyhood chateau sanctuary finally provided answer – it was the fetid squalor I was living in! The cheap drywall filled me with sudden disgust, and the crude deck – the work of angry drunken man with sloped forehead, no doubt! I took a sledgehammer to it immediately, its very existence insulted me. I remembered then reading a local digest about a company providing pleasing landscape designs in Rancho Santa Fe, and the next step became clear in my mind.

I called Torrey Pines Landscaping, apoplectic and frequently blacking out in my rage, and after they soothed me with calming words, they agreed to come and view my sorry property. I spent days feverishly drawing out plans, sketches pouring out of memories of my childhood refuge. When they arrived, they were first taken aback by the mountain of papers I gave them. After a few hours of explanation, they knew what had to be done.

Within months, it was done. For Americans, they had done remarkable job recreating the Mediterranean feel, though nothing will ever truly compare to the Riviera. For the first time in many years in this sorry country, I felt complete and at home. I finish the last of my glycine coffee now, wiping the crumbs of the croissant off and lighting my last morning cigarette. I stand, the sandstone tiles rough on my bare feet, and smile at new, but old, landscape design in my San Diego home. Much work to be done, but this can be my new, reinvigorating sanctuary.

Torrey Pines Landscape Company


5560 Eastgate Mall, San Diego, CA 92121

The Landscaping Challenge

The Landscaping Challenge

I’ll be honest; I’m a jack of many trades. However, in my opinion, only a few trades make life worth living.

What trades am I referring to? Writing and french-style landscaping…emphasis on the french-style landscaping.

Now I know what you’re thinking: Pierre, you’re French. Of course the French thing is gonna be your favorite thing. Now to some extent, you’re not wrong. I take great pride in my country, and I can’t help but reflect that in my work. But it’s not often I am hired to channel my love for France into my work…that is, until this past month.

One of my past clients referred a lovely French couple to me, and they gave me the task of my dreams: to design a “French-style vineyard” on their three-acre property. They might as well have said, “Pierre you’ve won the lottery. And 12 million croissants.”

But all jokes aside, this was one of the most incredible projects I’ve ever worked on. They specifically asked for their vineyard to be specialized for Bordeaux wine production, which gave me plenty to work with. Since Bordeaux is typically made with a mixture of several different grapes, I had to place the vines to maximize efficiency while not risking cross-breeding of the grapes. As this couple had a delightful attitude towards their budget (they didn’t have one), I gave them only the best of the best.

Let me paint you a mental picture so we can look at my “canvas” together. The vineyard is about a two minute walk from their villa, via two winding roads lined with Italian cypress trees. The end of the road meets the front of the guest house, where you might imagine the groundskeeper would live (but of course, the whole interior has been remodeled with such tasteful luxury I wouldn’t enter with my shoes on). Beside the house is an arbor, the kind you’d expect to shade a wedding reception. I got the inspiration for this from this site: https://www.tplandscape.com.

This is where I take out my “oils and paints,” so to speak. I’m planting non-invasive moonflower seeds at the foot of this arbor (the wife mentioned an aversion to bees, so I chose a bloom that only unfurls from dusk to dawn). Then, vines of Cabernet Sauvignon grapes will extend from either side of the small cottage, with vines of Merlot and a few Malbec extending into the backyard design.

But won’t that look kind of awkward without a fence to fend off peeping toms? I’d agree, but I’ve always found fences hostile, despite the privacy they provide. This is why five feet or so of raised earth will encompass the entire property, lined with Italian cypress trees to provide extra privacy.

To finish off the masterpiece, quaint fountains adorned with baby Dionysus (the Greek god of wine, theater, and fertility) will be placed in the two vine-less corners of the property. My client has permitted me to surround these fountains with lavender; these flowers will attract the bees away from the living quarters and toward the plants that need pollination.

If all goes as planned, the entire landscaping process should be 100% completed by mid-April. The clients are considering renting out the space as a small wedding venue, so it should be ready right in time for the season.

It’s not often you get a project as enticing as this one, especially when it involves such creativity and artistic freedom. But I can tell you this: no matter what job you choose, make sure it has some projects as thrilling as this one; you will not regret it.

Credit for inspiration to:

Torrey Pines Landscape Co.

San Diego, CA

(858) 454-1433