Category: Memories Tour

Occitanie region

The Wild, Wonderful Occitanie Region: The Camargue

The Occitanie Region and the Camargue

Aigues-Mortes is at the gateway town to the Occitanie region of the Camargue. The walled city with its history of Kings and crusades is as impressive as its past.“From its earliest days, Aigues-Mortes was significant for its salt fields and its location bordering the Mediterranean Sea. (click here to read more …) 

It was last year’s visit to Aigues-Mortes, however, that made a lasting impression on the Barefoot Blogger. It was the site of my unfortunate accident on Day 8 of the 2018 Memories TourGoing back to the same location a year later was bittersweet. My fall in the street led to a year of pain and recovery. The thought of it, when I retraced the steps, brought me to tears. On a positive note, walking past the spot was a victory. I shared the moment with new friends from this year’s tour. They flanked me on all sides. Nevertheless, I carried a walking stick … just in case!

Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer. Gypsies and Legends

To best visit the Camargue region, there’s nothing quite like a tour by Jeep. In Saintes-Maries-de-la-Mer, local guides met us to drive through the backroads they know so well. Most of the guides are lifelong residents of the Camargue. But first, a visit to the church of Sarah the Egyptian, revered by Gypsies. Read more here …

Carmargue by Jeep

High on our list of places and things to see on our Camargue safari were the white horses, bulls, and flamencos. The Parc naturel régional de Camargue is between the Mediterranean and the Rhone river delta. One-third of the Camargue is marshland, lagoons, and lakes. The rest is cultivated fields brimming at different times of the year with rice, grapes, and grain. The ecology of the area is unlike any other place in the world. White Camarguais horses roam on open fields with Camargue bulls and all eat natural feed and grasses. Read more here … 

The people of the Camargue are proud of their region, history, and their country. Our driver, Cedric, invited us to a sing-a-long while cruising through the land of horses, bulls, wine, rice, and salt.

 

Flamenco Sighting 

Finding horses and bulls was not such a challenge. Flamencos, on the other hand, were scarce.

Occitanie region

The feathered creatures that grace the marshlands to eat tiny rose-colored shrimp that give the birds their pink hue must have been at the next stop on their flight plan. I must come back. Winter is a very privileged moment since it is at this time that flamingos are the most colorful, and they perform their spectacular “courtship displays.”

 

It’s a sight I hope someday to see.

Sampling the Occitanie Region Foods and Flavors: Camarguaise-style

A quick guide to the foods of the Camargue is the land itself. As you ride through the flatlands, you see rice, vineyards, bulls, and, in some areas, salt hills and lagoons. The area has not always been so productive as today. Conservation and cooperation between the people, the government, and industry have led to an environment where all benefit.

Occitanie region

Our stop for a food tasting allowed us to get “up close and personal” with the locals.

Hills and fields of salt

I’d been looking forward to seeing the salt fields since I learned that the Camargue is the birthplace for fleur de sel. It was hard for me to believe the precious flakes of salt “bloom.” Then they’re harvested. 

Occitanie region

Walking to the top of one of the hills of salt at La Baleine, I had to stop to brush my fingers on the path and taste the salt before I believed it was true. Sometimes the truth seems more unreal than fiction.

What could match a day like this? Wait… there’s more.

Subscribe here to receive Barefoot Blogger by email

* indicates required


Occitanie

Exploring France’s Occitanie Region: The Mediterranean Port of Sete

The new “go-to” place in the south of France is Occitanie

occitanieOccitanie is the new “go-to” place in the south of France. When visitors have had their fill of Nice, the Côte d’Azur, and Provence, they’re finding that the southernmost region of France, once known as Languedoc-Roussillon and Midi-Pyrénées, is pretty remarkable.

The South of France Memories Tour 2019 with author Patricia Sands and the Barefoot Blogger introduced the eighteen ladies from the US and Canada to some of the “go-to” places. First on the list was one of my favorite spots in Occitanie: Sete.

Sete on a Sunday

Touring anywhere on an overcast Sunday may not sound like the most fun. But when you’re in Sete and with the Mediterranean town’s best guide, Nancy McGee, you’re bound to enjoy the day.

Join us on the tour of the town

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Next stop in Occitanie: The Camargue

Want to know more about Sete?

Sete, France: How Sweet It Is

7 Reasons To Visit Sete This Year

Sete or Marseille? Which Has the Best Fish Soup?

A Day at the Beach in Sete: That’s Life!

Subscribe here to receive Barefoot Blogger by email

* indicates required


Memories Tour “A List”: Antibes, Aix, and Arles

It’s not a coincidence that the South of France Memories Tour would visit Antibes, Aix, and Arles straight in a row. They are definitely A-List tourist spots south of France.

A-List Tourist Spots South of France: Antibes

You know by now that Antibes is one of my favorite places to visit on the Côte d’Azur. For the past four years, it’s been where friends and I meet before the onslaught of heat and visitors in Uzès. This time, with 18 Memories Tour ladies, Antibes took on a unique flavor, thanks to the Love in Provence book series by my friend and co-leader, Patricia Sands. Here we followed in the footsteps of Katherine and her handsome Frenchman, Philippe.

A-List Tourist Spots South of France

Patricia guided us through the Antibes Market where Philippe was the modest- and eligible — purveyor of cheeses.

 

A-List Tourist Spots South of France: Antibes

Choosing a spot for a group photo in Antibes isn’t easy when there are so many spectacular views.

Antibes

 

A-List Tourist Spots South of France: Antibes

Shopping in Antibes is a favorite sport. The best news for our tour gals? It was market day in Antibes. Wahoo!

 

Antibes

Market day in Antibes Vieux town square

 

Antibes

A stop at the Absinth Bar was a first taste of the legendary drink for most.

 

There’s a method for creating an absinthe drink. A cube of sugar, a slotted spoon, and just enough water to melt the sugar cube. Interesting! Tastes like licorice.

 

A-List Tourist Spots South of France: Aix-en-Provence

“Aix” is one of the largest and most visited towns in Provence. The home of Cézanne, it’s high on the list for tourists who want to know about the artist. Unfortunately, as we learned through our guide, Stephanie, Cezanne was never appreciated by the townspeople. His paintings are scarce in Aix. Nowhere else, though, can you follow in the footsteps of the artist’s youth and life.

A-List Tourist Spots South of France

Following the footsteps of Cézanne took us through the town with a unique perspective.

 

A-List Tourist Spots South of France

Picasso had a special relationship with Cèzanne, although the young Picasso was an unknown artist at the time. Picasso studied Cèzanne’s work and considered him “the father of us all.” Today Picasso’s work is exhibited in galleries in Aix like Musée Granet.

 

A-List Tourist Spots South of France

One of the 1,000 fountains in Aix — the Four Dolphins

 

A-List Tourist Spots South of France

The Cours Mirabeau, once the site of the town’s wall, is the prominent avenue in Aix and displays the statue of René d’Anjou (1434 – 1480), king of Jerusalem, king of Naples and Sicily, Duke of Lorraine. Folklore says he was a noble character — poet, artist, musician, and importer of the muscat grape into Provence.

 

During our day stop in Aix, our tour was pleased to see students marching in support of climate change reform. It was an impressive peaceful demonstration.

 

A-List Tourist Spots South of France: Arles

Arles was the stopping place for the second half of the Memories Tour. For seven days we called the luxurious Hotel Jules César our home away from home.

Hotel Jules César

Hotel Jules César In Arles

 

A-List Tourist Spots South of France

The front terrace of the hotel made the perfect reading spot for Patricia’s book, Drawing Lessons. Characters and places in Drawing Lessons were based on Arles.

 

Arles is filled with ancient relics of Roman days that are still very much in use today, including the 2000-year-old arena.

 

Arles

The arena at night is magical.

 

A-List Tourist Spots South of France

One rainy day and a wrong turn was a real adventure through the back roads of Arles. Nevertheless, the Barefoot Blogger trudged on, and we had lots of laughs. Never a dull moment on the Memories Tour!

 

A-List Tourist Spots South of France

Shopping was always on our minds. Market day in Arles did not disappoint.

 

Aix

Our tour guests included Cheryl Jamison of James Beard cookbook acclaim. She raved about the food! Is it any wonder?

 

A-List Tourist Spots South of France

The new home of the Luma Foundation in Arles is a tourist attraction in itself. It is, perhaps, the last public space to be designed by the 90+-year-old architect, Frank Gehry. The modern and controversial building is a new symbol for art and culture for the ancient Roman town of Provence.

A highlight of dining on the Memories Tour in Arles was our evening at the Hotel Particulier, a 5-star hotel in the heart of Arles. The home of aristocrats with its walls from the time of Roman Emperor Constantine was restored to the imaginative vision of architects for the Luma Foundation.

 

 

What’s next??? The Memories Tour 2019 heads for Occitanie — Sete, the Camargue, and Uzès!

hills of the côte d’Azur

Hills of the Côte d’Azur: Memories Tour Day 4

When Nice was in its infancy, the hills of the Côte d’Azur were where the poor people lived. The mountainous area with sharp cliffs was remote and without water.

Today, judging by the opulence of the towns that have sprung up, we wish we could be so lucky to live there.

hills of the côte d’Azur

Hills of the Côte d’Azur

The views on the drive out of Nice in our comfortable 20 passenger van gave the women of the Memories Tour 2019 a sampling of life on the Riviera as lived by the rich and famous. On one mountain, the chateau of Elton John. On another, the estate of Tina Turner. Imagine the neighborhood parties!

Our first stop was Eze known as the “eagle’s nest” because of its lofty perch 427 metres (1,401 ft) above sea level. The adorable town, dotted with shops and cafes, was quite an uphill climb. The Jardin botanique d’Èze ,with its gardens of succulents and cacti, and its panoramic views of the Mediterranean, made it all worth the effort.

Hills of the côte d’Azure

Hills of the côte d’Azure

 

Hills of the côte d’Azure

 

Hills of the côte d’Azure

Hills of the côte d’Azure

 

Hills of the côte d’Azure

On to Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild...

The lavish home of Charlotte Béatrice de Rothschild,was built between 1905-1912 for the French banking heiress.

Hills of the Côte d’Azur

The rose-colored, Venetian villa, overlooking Cap Ferrat, was a personal project of the Baroness. It is said she meticulously managed every aspect of construction, even though Aaron Messiah, architect of King Leopold of Belgium and designer of Villa Masséna in Nice, was in charge.

Hills of the Côte d’Azur

Hills of the Côte d’Azur

 

Hills of the Côte d’Azur

 

Hills of the Côte d’Azur

 

Hills of the Côte d’Azur

Hills of the Côte d’Azur

Gardens of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild 

Baroness Rothschild was a demanding client and a fanatic for detail. When she imagined the villas’ nine gardens, for example, she asked the gardeners to “pretend” they were trees and bushes. They would move around the garden as she directed to create her fantasy of a perfect rose garden, a precise Japanese garden …

Hills of the Côte d’Azur

 

Hills of the cote d’azur

Hills of the cote d’azur

Hills of the cote d’azur

A most entertaining part of visiting the Rothschild gardens is to see the fountains dance as classical music plays throughout the estate.

We’re having so much fun!

Memories Tour 2019

 

Memories Tour 2019

 

Memories Tour 2019

 

Memories Tour 2019

 

Memories Tour 2019

 

Memories Tour 2019

 

Next stop, Antibes.

Antibes

 

Côte d’azur Shopping spree

Côte d’Azur Shopping Spree: Memories Tour Day 3

When twenty ladies gather together, you know they’re going to shop. It’s only natural. That’s why the South of France Memories Tour, with best-selling author Patricia Sands and the Barefoot Blogger, planned a full day for a Côte d’Azur shopping spree.

Côte d’Azur Shopping Spree

Grasse

The “shop til you drop” agenda for Day 3 started with a visit to the town of Grasse and the Fragonard perfume factory.

Fragonard is one of the leading perfumeries in the world. Before the area became famous for perfume, the main industry was glove making. Perfumes were introduced into the production process when clients complained about the gloves’ foul smell. Years later, when gloves went out of fashion, the perfume company remained.

Côte d’Azur shopping spree

Choosing a favorite fragrances when there are so many is never easy

Tourettes Sur Loup

The tiny village of Tourettes Sur Loup was a surprise stop on our way to St. Paul de Vence. The small town, known for violettes, made a perfect setting for lunch under a chestnut tree and browsing through lots of little shops.

Côte d’azur Shopping spree

 

Côte d’Azure shopping

Côte d’Azure shopping

Côte d’Azure shopping

St. Paul de Vence 

One of the oldest medieval towns along the Côte d’Azur, St. Paul de Vence became a haven for starving artists in the early 1900’s when a simple guesthouse, now the La Colombe d’Or hotel, welcomed unknowns such as Picasso. In return for room payment, the artists would leave paintings. While the hotel’s reputation spread and more artists visited, the whole town benefited. Today St. Paul de Vence is filled with galleries, and the hotel family owns one of the finest contemporary art collections in the world.

Côte d’Azur shopping spree

Enjoy the day along with us … 

 

Top Spots in Nice: Memories Tour Day 2

A visit to the most famous city on the Côte d’Azur is exciting enough for most travelers. To really appreciate the top spots in Nice, you need to have a good guide. For the Memories Tour, our guide Stephanie Is one of the best. She’s lived in the city more than 30 years and she’s studied it all.

Top Spots in Nice

Sightseeing on Day 2 in Nice started from our hotel, the Beau Rivage, across the street from the famous “Prom,” or Promenade des Anglais. 

It was a crystal clear day, so the views of the city and the coastline were magnificent. The sea was a brilliant blue, a sharp contrast to the white stones on the beach and the pale, “Riviera-style” architecture along the distant hillside. 

Top Spots in Nice

Promenade des Anglais

Our first stop was for a group photo at the iconic blue chair sculpture.

Memories Tour 2019

Next, a bit of history ..,

Nice

Stephanie tells the history of the 19th century Centenary Monument that commemorates Nice’s annexation to France

 

Top spots in Nice

A symbol of Nice (young girl) embracing France (the armor-glad woman) on the Centenary Monument

 

Top spots in Nice

This modern art statue beside the Promenade was originally not a favorite of the locals. The Mayor convinced them it was a brilliant representation of how the rivers and cultures of the city’s neighboring regions, through the centuries, had come together to form the extraordinary city.

Tourism has been the main industry for Nice for centuries. Many of the famous people who lived here, like Matisse, Chekhov, and Marc Chagall, came for their health and the clean air.  Italy, for example, had “bad air” because of the coal industry. 

Top spots in Nice

Old town Nice. Matisse lived at the house at the end of the street. Both Matisse and Chekhov once resided at the Beau Rivage which is at the entrance to this street.

Although much of Nice was destroyed through the years prior to the 1600s, the tie with Italy through the years is strongly visible, from the architecture to the food.

Top spots in Nice

 

Nice

 

Top spots in Nice

Place Masséna, towered over by Apollo, is the public square between old and new parts of Nice

Top Spots in Nice to Dine

Along our tour route, one of our guests, Cheryl Jamison, broke away to run into La Merenda to make reservations for lunch. The restaurant of Michelin Star chef Dominique Le Stanc is one of our food expert and talk show host’s top spots in Nice to dine when she’s here from Sante Fe.Top Spots in Nice

 

Top spots in Nice

Chef Dominique Le Stanc

chef Dominique Le Stanc

Daube à la Niçoise 

Top Spots in Nice by Bus

An extraordinary lunch at La Merenda was followed by a hop-on-hop off bus ride out and about Nice.

Top spots in Nice

Top of the bus view out of Nice to Villefranche Sur Mer

Top spots in Nice

Port of Nice

 

Top spots in Nice

Top Spots in Nice On Your Own

After a packed day of sightseeing, the tour gals were on their own to play in Nice. Some of the daring took to the skies…

Top spots in Nice

Parasailing is not included on the tour, but while in Nice … some couldn’t resist!

Top spots in Nice

 

Tomorrow…there’s more! 

Welcome to Nice

Memories Tour 2019: Welcome To Nice

Arrival day for the Memories Tour was filled with excitement, anticipation and busy last minute preparations for a welcome to Nice for our 18 guests. Patricia Sands, tour co-leader and I were anxious to put names  and faces together.

Welcome to Nice!

Our hotel for the tour, is the Beau Rivage. Set at the entrance to “old town” Nice, its location is perfect for tourists like us. Streets are filled with restaurants, shops and beautiful architecture. The front of the hotel is just across the street from the Promenade and the Mediterranean. Truly “côte d’azur.

Welcome to Nice

Vieux Nice

Welcome to Nice

Côte d’Azur and the private beach and restaurant of the Beau Rivage

“Welcome Cocktails” for our group was scheduled for 6pm. That gave us some time to scout the town before everyone arrived. Patricia took off to meet friends who live in Nice. I was able to enjoy a bit of individual time with my friend Cheryl, from Atlanta, who joined us this year. (Shout out to Lynn and Kathy, “old” friends on Memories Tour 2018.)

Welcome to Nice

Cheryl taking the first photos of Nice

Sunday Flower Market

Welcome to Nice

Sunday Flower Market in old town

 

Welcome to Nice

Vegetables and fruit at Sunday Market

 

Welcome to Nice

Buying “real” sponges

Welcome to Nice Everyone!

Welcome to Nice

Welcome Party on the terrace at the Beau Rivage

 

Welcome to Nice

Dinner by the sea

 

Nice

More of our group of 20

Ready to start the tour!

Welcome to Nice

Tomorrow it’s all about Nice! 

 

 

Welcome to Nice

Memories Tour. Here We Go Again.

Yesterday I left for Nice from Uzès for the 2019 Memories Tour of the south of France. Patricia Sands beat me there by a day after spending a few days in Paris with friends joining our tour.

2019 Memories Tour

Patricia Sands, best-selling author “Love in Provence” series

I’m looking forward to meeting my new friends, but a bit anxious because of the not-so-good memory of falling and breaking myself last year.

Yes, it’s the anniversary of my accident in Aigues Mortes where I broke my arm, shoulder, and hip. The tour was in its eight day. I’m not going to dwell on the details, or the thought of it now. But you won’t hear me refer to this year’s adventure as a “trip.” I intend to stay upright.

2019 Memories Tour

View from the Promenade in Nice

2019 Memories Tour

The eighteen ladies in this year’s excursion are joining us from places around the US and Canada. We are based in Nice for the first few days where we’ll sightsee around Nice, Antibes and the scenic coastline of the Côté d’Azur. Then we move to Arles to experience a totally different part of Provence, and to travel into the Languedoc region, now called “Occitanie.”

2019 Memories Tout

Patricia Sands, Nancy McGee (tour planner Absolutely Southern France) and the Barefoot Blogger acting up in Nice

Join us as I post the highlights of the tour from day to day.

2019 Memories Tour

Requisite Aperol Spritz to start every special occasion in the south of France

 

2019 Memories Tour

Niçoise Salade: the salad specialty of Nice. Of course it’s my first meal!

 

Nice

A wedding sighting in the streets of Vieux Nice

 

2019 Memories Tour

Mussels in garlic butter and parsley… another treat from Nice and Côté d’Azur

Memories Of The South Of France You Promised Yourself 2019

Expat Moving Tips for France

A Travel Pro’s Favorite Places in Provence

A visit to Provence – one of the most visited areas in France – is the second post in the Barefoot Blogger travel series by Nancy McGee of Absolutely Southern France.

Nancy has lived in the south of France for over 30 years so, I’d say, she knows her way around. When asked “what do you recommend when tourist want to visit Provence?” Nancy gave me her picks below. Now that I’ve visited with Nancy in Sete and we’ve taken a some really fun trips together, I’ve learned to take her advice. In fact, I’m convinced it’s really important to ask an expert to help with your plans. If you have limited time, a bit of sage advice will help you make the most of every day you’re traveling. You’ll see the places you’ve heard about as well as off-the-beaten-path sights you’ve only dreamed about. It’s the best way to sample French life like you’re a local. Need I say more?

Welcome to Provence!

From bustling, edgy Marseille to the red cliffs of Cassis, fragrant lavender fields of the Luberon, Aix-en-Provence’s colorful markets, wine and art … there’s something in Provence to please everyone. No wonder it’s everyone’s favorite.

Visit Provence: Marseille

Founded in 600 BC, Marseille, France’s second largest city, is steeped in history and culture. A good way to start the day in Marseilles is to visit the Basilica of Notre Dame. Perched high above the harbour it offers breathtaking views of the Old Port and the Mediterranean. Those who brave the climb on foot no doubt work up an appetite. And that’s why bouillabaisse – Marseille’s famed dish –  was invented. It is almost ‘obligatoire’ with a traditional glass of pastis. There’s more to see so explore the Old Port and don’t miss the iconic MuCEM museum – one reason why Marseille has held the title ‘European Capital of Culture.’

 

Visit Provence: The Red Cliffs of Cassis

Anyone who has seen Paris, but hasn’t seen Cassis, hasn’t seen anything,” said the Nobel poet Fredric Mistral. When visitors see the stunningly pretty Roman harbour it’s invariably love at first sight. Two natural monuments protect the town: Cap Canaille, that glows red when the Mistral blows, and the white limestone Calanques (sheltered inlets) that can be admired on a short boat outing. It’s a joy to simply roam the streets, browse the museum, or enjoy fresh seafood with a glass of the local rosé wine.

Visit Provence: Bandol

A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine… and there’s plenty of each in Bandol, where vineyards bask in 3,000  hours of sunshine a year! The resort itself – just a stone’s throw from Marseille and Cassis – is among the oldest and most popular on the coast.  Its sandy beaches lured the literary set long before the days of Brigitte Bardot and Saint Tropez. A cliff stroll, a vineyard tour and dining on fresh seafood – to which the fruity and racy rosé wines are a great accompaniment – is on everyone’s list.

Visit Provence: Chateauneuf du Pape

Red Wine…The distinguished red wines of Chateauneuf du Pape need no introduction. Masterclasses, food and wine pairing workshops  and wine tours of the historic chateaux and vineyards are “must do’s and can be  arranged. The vineyards in Chateauneuf du Pape are so cherished that a 1950s decree banned flying saucers from sailing over them! The tiny town itself is sheer magic. Take a walk up the hill to the ruins of the 14th century château  – ‘the Pope’s castle’ – and the reward is a view as far as Avignon and its Popes’ Palace. Hungry after that climb? There are many fine restaurants in town serving traditional French cuisine to complement the wines.

 

Visit Provence: Avignon

visit to ProvenceSur le Pont d’Avignon…Standing on the legendary bridge in Avignon provides a good view of Le Palais des Papes,’ (Popes’ Palace), the ancient ramparts and much more of this historic and cultural French city. There’s something for everyone here: museums and galleries; fine dining to please the most exacting palate; and plenty of shopping. During the Avignon Festival in July, live music and theatre fill every street, but the ‘hot ticket’ is a performance in the Popes’ Palace. As for the bridge, the angels inspired a poor shepherd, Benezet, to build it and, convinced of divine intervention, the town’s authorities canonised the shepherd. That’s the legend at least and a popular song was born.

 

Visit Provence: Arles

From Ancient Rome to Van Gogh, Gaugin & Picasso … Located on the banks of the Rhone River and known as the ‘gateway to the Camargue,’ Arles is one of the most beautiful cities anywhere in France. The ancient arena, amphitheatre and Roman baths top any visitor’s list, as well as a walk in the footsteps of Van Gogh, Gaugin & Picasso. Talking of Van Gogh, a visit to nearby sunflower fields will brighten anyone’s day.

Visit Provence: The Luberon

Lavender Fields Forever ...The very best time to visit the Luberon is July, when the Valensole plateau is awash with lavender and the towns are alive with festivals celebrating everyone’s favourite flower! It’s a sight – and scent – to behold! There’s something here for foodies too –  from a range of small bistrots serving the “dish of the day” to the local delicacy “lavender honey.

Visit Provence: St Rémy de Provence

Here’s Van Gogh Again! Whilst we’re in the area, let’s not miss St. Rémy.  Pretty and picturesque, this pocket-size town offers much to do amid its narrow medieval alleyways, shady squares and wonderful architecture –  including museums, excellent restaurants, an annual donkey fair and the remains of nearby 2nd century b.c. Glanum. As for Van Gogh, his stay in St. Rémy inspired many masterpieces.

Visit Provence: Les Baux de Provence

“Ils Sont Beaux.” Set on a rocky plateau, magical Les Baux de Provence offers stunning views of Arles and the Camargue. It is a listed heritage site that has earned the accolade of ‘one of the most beautiful villages in France’, amongst others. What it lacks in size it makes up for with art and cultural activities, one of which is the annual Carrières de Lumières – the most amazing light show we’ve ever seen.

Visit Provence: Aix-en-Provence

The City of Art and Lights. Beauty, culture and a rich historical heritage exemplify Aix-en-Provence, hometown of Paul Cézanne among other luminaries. Having taken leave of lavender fields and vineyards, here is the opportunity for some serious shopping, sightseeing, not to mention food tours and culinary workshops. . Follow in the footsteps of Cézanne, browse the museums or the famous farmers’ and flower markets or buy that designer outfit in one of the upscale boutiques.  There’s never enough time in Aix and you’ll never want to leave!

How’s that for a tour of Provence? What are you waiting for?  I can’t wait to see it all myself!

visit Provence

Nancy McGee of Absolutely Southern France

Contact: nancy@absolutelysouthernfrance.com

Website : http://absolutelysouthernfrance.com/

 

For information about Med cruise shore excursions 

South of France Memories Tour 2019: Only 4 Spots Left!

Sign up now for the South of France holiday you’ll never forget.

While the Barefoot Blogger has been distracted with a move to a new apartment in Uzes and NO wifi, my friend and cohort Patricia Sands has been busy gathering our next new best friends for the 2019 South of France Memories You Promised Yourself Tour 2019. 

Only 4 Spots Left!!

We’ve done all the trip planning.

The “South of France Memories” tour itinerary was created by one of the top experts in travel in the south of France — Absolutely Southern France. It is designed for all travelers — veterans and novices.  Our itinerary includes some of the most visited places in the south of France — and some that are just getting on the travel radar. From the Côte d’Azur to village markets to historic towns to wild life sanctuaries, we’ll experience it all.

Here’s an overview of the destinations for our 2019 women’s tour. It includes 12 days of exploring, touring, eating, drinking and making new friends. For all the facts and cost, click here.

  • Stroll the seaside Promenade des Anglais in Nice and tour the colorful city
  • Meander through cobblestone streets of Saint Paul de Vence, filled with history, galleries and charming shops
  • Discover Eze and the spectacular gardens of Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild
  • Explore the ancient harbor town Antibes, Patricia’s home away from home
  • Walk in Cézanne’s footsteps in Aix en Provence
  • Savor vibrant, trendy Sète and a culinary adventure
  • Live in Arles among roman treasures, world-renowned  architecture and the spirit  of Van Gogh
  • Enjoy a safari to observe the Camargue’s unique flora, fauna and rose-colored salt marshes
  • Experience market day in St Remy de Provence & the spectacular Carrières de Lumières in les Baux de Provence
  • Peek into the Barefoot Blogger’s world in Uzés, Pont du Gard
  • Join harvest time and taste the wine

Life is short.

Sometimes you have to get packing and make memories you promised yourself.

visit the south of France

 

 

Memories Tour Nice

Memories Begin in Nice 👍

The South of France Memories You Promised Yourself Tour kicked off today. All signs say it’s going to be an amazing 12 days with these fun-loving ladies. What better way to start? Memories begin in Nice!

Memories Begin in Nice

Memories Begin in Nice

You know it’s going to be an extraordinary event when a bird lands on your head in old town Nice.

Nice

No kidding!

 Nice

After only a few minutes being with the tour ladies at our “welcome dinner,” I knew I’d met my new best friends.

Memories Begin in Nice

Memories Begin in Nice

Today was the “meet and greet” and a relaxing seaside dinner The Beau Rivage hotel where we’re staying has a restaurant and bar right on the beach! What a thrill to stay right in the center of all the action. Tomorrow we take on the town. Memories begin in Nice!

Memories Begin in Nice

Tour Highlights

Nice

Grasse

St. Paul de Vence

Eze

Villa Rothschild

Antibes

Arles

Sete

Camargue

Aigues Mortes

St. Rémy

Les Baux

Pont du Gard

San Quentin la Poterie

Uzés

The South of France Memories You Promised Yourself Tour 2018 with Patricia Sands and the Barefoot Blogger

September 10-22, 2018

Day 1: South of France Memories Begin in Nice

Day 2: Around and About Nice: Memories Tour Day 2

Day 3-5 Hot Spots on the Côte d’Azur: Memories Tour Day 3-5

Day 6:Aix-en-Provence in One Day

Day 7: A Perfect Day Trip to Sete: Gourmet Tour and Oyster Farming

Day 8: Memories tour/18 ~ Day 8 ~ Arles

Day 9: Memories Tour/18 ~ Day 9

Day 10: Memories tour/18 ~ Day 10 – St. Rèmy and Les Baux de Provence

Day 11: Memories tour/18 ~ Day 11(part 1) – Pont du Gard and San Quentin la Poterie

Day 11: Memories tour/18 – Day 11, part 2 – Uzés

Day 12: Memories tour/18 ~ day 12 – Wine Harvest

Memories Tour Interrupted

 

French Light Show

Techno-Fabulous French Light Show: Carrières de Lumières

If you haven’t seen a techno-fabulous French light show, you’re in for a treat. The French take lights and action to new dimensions: music, drama and imagination.

French Light Show: Carrières de Lumières

A recent visit to Carrières de Lumières was my third experience with the digital, immersive events that are staged in a former bauxite mine outside the village Les Baux de Provence. This year’s exhibition is Picasso and the Spanish Masters” along with a pop culture show, “Flower Power”. Believe me, the photos don’t do justice to the real events.

First, let me set the stage. When you enter the Carrières de Luminères you think you are walking into a movie theatre. Except that it’s built into the side of a mountain. You can go directly into the theatre area or you can walk around the inside of the cavernous halls of the mine. I would suggest you do the latter sometime during your visit. Walls of bauxite surround you, almost as wide and high as you can see.

Once you enter the theatre area, be prepared to gasp. It’s ginormous! Every surface, except the floor, is a projection area. Art images are stretched across huge canvases of stone in front of you, behind you and around every corner. The experience is totally surreal.

French Light Show

Added to the impact, the colossal space is cool and mostly dark. Except for the light that reflects from the art, there is no lighting in the room. When the scenery changes, you stumble around in near-darkness until the next images appear. If fact, if you’re not sure of your footing, you might want to take a seat on the stone steps that are around in various places

Take along a sweater or wrap. It’s really cold inside. If you forget one, you can buy a fleece blanket at the admission office for €5. No kidding!

Before Carrières de Lumières

In 1821 French geologists discovered bauxite near the village of Les Baux. During the 19th century there was a large demand for construction-worthy white stone. The mine in Les Baux prospered. Later with the advent of more modern building materials, the demand for stone fell and in 1935 the quarry closed.

The abandoned quarry was repurposed in the 1960s as a movie set by French filmmaker, Jean Cocteau. His movie, Le Testament d’Orphée (The Testament of Orpheus), featured an appearance by Picasso, of all people! as well as Spanish matador Luis Miguel Dominguín. 

Carrières de Luminères took on its current form and purpose in 2012 with the digital audiovisual production Gauguin, Van Gogh, the Painters of Color.

Carrières de Lumières 2018: Picasso and the Spanish Masters

“Picasso and the Spanish Masters”  is divided into two parts: one, to explore Picasso’s Spanish origins; and two, to show how Picasso, inspired by the masters, shattered traditional figurative art. Portraits and scenes of daily Spanish life painted by Goya, Rusiñol, Zuloaga, and Sorolla appear in the first part of the presentation. Picasso’s work dominates the second part of the show with a near-chronology of his life and art forms. Never before, and perhaps never again, will the public be shown such an emotion-filled demonstration of the life and works of Picasso. Through the images displayed on the massive walls, emphasized by a dramatic, musical sound track, we pass through history and the tumultuous life of one of the world’s greatest modern artists.

Carrières de Lumières 2018: Pop Culture: Flower Power

Remember the psychedelic visuals, colors and music of the 60’s? The “Flower Power” exhibition that follows immediately after Picasso takes you back to the hippy generation. The bright and lively show is not only fun to watch, the tunes of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Simon and Garfunkel, and the Beach Boys had me dancing in the dark.

French Light Show: Carrières de Lumières

Important! The best time to visit Carrières de Lumières is in the morning. Drive towards the entrance to the historic town of Les Baux. Just follow the signs. If you arrive early, you’ll easily find a parking spot. If you’re late, it’ll be a nightmare.

The production is repeated throughout the day and lasts less than an hour. You can stay to watch as long as you’d like.

Practical Information: Open every day. 
January, March, November and December: 10h-18h 
April, May, June, September and October: 9h30-19h 
July and August: 9h30-19h30 
Last entry 1 hour before closing

Here are some images from this year’s show.

 

Scenes below are from Carrières de Lumières 2016 – Dreams of a Summer Night – Chagall 

Photos courtesy of mon fils, Pete Bine.

 

 

visit the south of France

South of France Memories: Four Reasons to Sign Up Now

How many times have you said to yourself: “Someday I’m going to visit the south of France.”

If you’ve always wanted to visit the south of France, why are you putting it off? 

“I’m afraid to travel solo.”

“I don’t know where to go.”

“I’m too busy.” 

I hear you. I’ve used the very same excuses. Now I want to give you some important things to think about:

 #1

Solo travel is fun.

If you’re a bit nervous about traveling alone,  listen to what one lone traveler had to say about her experience.

 

#2

We’ve done all the trip planning.

The “South of France Memories” tour itinerary was created by one of the top experts in travel in the south of France — Absolutely Southern France. It is designed for all travelers — veterans and novices.  Our itinerary includes some of the most visited places in the south of France — and some that are just getting on the travel radar. From the Côte d’Azur to village markets to historic towns to wild life sanctuaries, we’ll experience it all.

Here’s an overview of the destinations and costs for our women’s tour. It includes 12 days of exploring, touring, eating, drinking and making new friends!

visit the south of France

visit the south of France

visit the south of France

visit the south of France

 

#3

Early Bird Discount Ends January 31st.

visit the south of France

 

#4

Life is short.

Sometimes you have to get packing and make memories you promised yourself.

visit the south of France

 

 

van gogh's trail

On Van Gogh’s Trail

Now that I’ve seen the movie “Loving Van Gogh” — in French no less, with no subtitles — I’m remembering my first visit to Saint-Rémy-de-Provence

I started my quest for Van Gogh’s trail in Saint-Rémy-de-Provence early on a beautiful, sunny morning. Temperatures were in the high 70’s and a light wind was blowing. Planned stops along the way to St. Rémy were the towns of Remoulins and Beaucaire.

On Van Gogh’s Trail: Remoulins

I’m not certain why I chose to stop in Remoulins because I had done no research — just a spot on a map. Nevertheless, a cemetery along the way caught my eye while I was passing through the town. I’d been intrigued about French cemeteries since being here, so stopping in Remoulins gave me a chance to check one out. To me it’s interesting to find out how different cultures honor their deceased. In Remoulins, and other areas of Provence, bodies are buried above the ground in family plots. Most grave stones in this cemetery dated back many centuries. Many were adorned with elaborate porcelain flower displays and family memorabilia.

On Van Gogh’s Trail: Beaucaire
Moving onto Beaucaire, the scenery definitely changed. The older part of town where tourist visit is centered around a busy canal. Marine traffic is active, mostly for pleasure boats, and cafes and restaurants cater to transients and locals. Some boat owners who tour the western Mediterranean in summer moor their vessels in Beaucaire in the winter.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finding the way
1  If you’re wondering how I find my way around, it is relatively easy. On this trip I had a Michelin Atlas of France. I know the main ways in and out if Uzes. So with a couple of stops at petrol stations along the way to ask directions, I got along fine. Note: Both petrol stations where I stopped had female attendants. Neither spoke English. I simple pointed where I was going on the map and they totally understood what I wanted. They gave me perfect directions. Not to be sexist, but a man giving directions would have described every landmark along the way. The females just drew straight lines from one turn to another. Simple.

Another guide for finding my way on the roadways is “roundabouts.”I’m not kidding, there are roundabouts every two miles or so along French roadways. That means there are frequent direction signs that point your way.

When you get into a city, there’s usually clearly marked signage to follow. If you don’t see your destination on the sign, just keep going straight. Soon there will be a sign that says: “Autres Direction” or “Toutes Direction.” Follow that sign. It will lead you to the right road.

If all else fails, ask a woman.

On Van Gogh’s Trail: St. Rémy de Provence

St. Rémy is advertised as the one place you must see if you want to experience Provence.

Nostradamus was born in SVan Gogh's Trailt. Rémy and Doctor Albert Schweitzer was “hospitalized” here in 1917-18 when he wrote The Decay and the Restoration of Civilization and Civilization and Ethics, part of his philosophical study of civilization.

Most importantly St. Rémy is where the artist, Van Gogh, lived from 1889-90 in the asylum at Saint Paul-de-Mausolean
Driving into St. Rémy, an almost “spiritual” feeling came over me. There was something different about the countryside . It felt like a movie set. The road into the city is lined with white-banded “plane” trees, like those leading out if Uzes. But they go on for miles and miles. Ancient stuccoed farm houses and buildings are close to the road with lush farmlands spreading deep behind them.

Van Gogh's Trail

The historic district of St. Rémy is set in a circle. I found a parking place in the public lot that was close to the entrance of town. After depositing the equivalent of $5 in the meter, I looked for the tourist office. Before I had gotten very far,  a menu special at a charming cafe caught my eye– salmon. I stopped for dejeuner.Van Gogh's Trail
Perfectly prepared salmon, risotto with tiny chunks of tomato and scallions, and a glass of rose.

I skipped the tourist office and took off to explore the shops. Of course.

Van Gogh's TrailInterestingly, I saw more Americans in St. Rémy than anywhere else I’ve traveled in this area. I’m sure its because they’ve read the publicity about St. Rémy being the “place to be” in Provence. They head there on day stops while cruising the Med. There’s definitely a distinctively high-class atmosphere in St. Rémy. Its appeal to the “rich and famous” is apparent throughout the shops and boutiques.

Some of the architecture even looks rich– more “French” than “provincial” or “Provençal.”

On Van Gogh’s Trail: Art and architecture
Walking around St. Rémy, there were so many times I reminded myself, “Van Gogh was here”, I could imagine how he was inspired. It inspired me.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

In the footsteps of Van Gogh

The creme de la creme of my day was a tour of Saint Paul-de-Mausolean, the monastery complex and asylum where Van Gogh was voluntarily committed from 1889-90. From here he produced two of his most notable works, “Starry nights” and his self-portrait. Taking the photos below, I was transported to Van Gogh’s day and time. I could imagine how he felt fortunate for all the beauty around him, in spite of his imprisonment. The entrance, the buildings, the inside, Van Gogh’s Garden, the chapel, the view!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Van Gogh was released from the hospital at Saint Paul-de-Mausolean in May 1890 and left for Auvers-sur-Oise, near Paris. It is said he shot himself on 27 July 1890 and died two days later.

Fortunately his art lives on.

van gogh's trail

Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: The Riviera

I’ve been asking Nancy McGee of Absolutely Southern France Tours to tell me all about her Mediterranean cruise shore excursions. There are several of you who have contacted the Barefoot Blogger for information.

Mediterranean cruise shore excursionRead on and learn about going ashore along the French Riviera. Even if you’re an armchair traveler, you’ll enjoy the visit. As I’ve learned, when you travel with an expert like Nancy, you’re going to explore and experience the best spots for food, scenery and lifestyle along the Côte d’Azur. Let’s see what she has up her sleeves for us to do. 

I love every inch of the French Riviera – from the narrow medieval streets of St Paul de Vence to glitzy Nice and Cannes to the adrenaline surge of the Monaco Grand Prix.

Nancy McGee

When people ask me what they absolutely must see during their shore excursion, the answer is ‘everything’. Of course this is not always practical and so my Riviera tours offers what I consider the major highlights. The Riviera is addictive – once hooked visitors invariably return to see what they missed the first time.

For your Mediterranean cruise shore excursion … Food First 

France conjures up images of gourmet restaurants, boulangeries and local markets offering a breathtaking array of fresh, local produce, cheeses and regional specialties – and that’s exactly right. Since the weather’s good why not make the first stop at the market and shop for a picnic? (Always a hit if with children.) And let’s not forget a bottle of rosé wine from Provence -‘de rigeur’ for a French picnic.

Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: Grasse

Wake up and Smell the Roses 

With appetites appeased – for now at least – the olfactory senses are in for a treat and they’ll get just that in Grasse, the Riviera’s flower capital.A tour of a perfume factory is an absolute must – and an excellent place to buy gifts. This is a really charming historic town with an 11th century cathedral, perfume museum, sandy beaches and fine dining.

Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: Gourdon

Dreaming of Chocolate Heaven?

Visit Gourdon and those dreams will come true with a sampling at the famous chocolate factory.Mediterranean cruise shore excursionBut leave room for artisan ice cream in floral flavors, violet, rose, jasmine….sublime.  And there’s no need to worry too much about the waistline because this beautiful old fortress town is built on a high promontory with stunning views – a good way to work off the day’s excesses.

Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: Tourrettes-sur-Loup

The ‘City of Violets’

The tiny medieval village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup perches on a rocky spur and is an all-time favourite visitors. It boasts impressive historic buildings including a 15th century church, arts and crafts boutiques, an annual violet festival and museum. Just a stone’s throw from Nice and Cannes it is definitely worth a detour.

Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: St. Paul de Vence

In Chagall’s FootstepsMediterranean cruise shore excursion

St Paul de Vence is one of the oldest medieval towns on the Riviera and also known as the artist’s village – it was home to Chagall to name but one. It’s a joy to simply stroll the colourful streets full of art galleries and boutiques. Olive oil and wine tastings, and a visit to an olive oil mill can be arranged, as well as lunch at a restaurant overlooking the Mediterranean.

Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: Monaco

Jetsetting to Monaco 

The tiny principality of Monaco fits comfortably into a day trip with time to view the exquisite Palace of the Prince and the cathedral where Prince Rainier and Grace Kelly were married, followed by the Changing of the Guards. Mediterranean cruise shore excursion

And now fasten your seatbelts for a lap of the world famous Formula 1 Grand Prix circuit to reach Monte-Carlo with its famous Casino, Golden Square and the luxurious Hotel de Paris and Hotel Hermitage. Fancy your luck? Armed with valid ID and appropriately dressed you can join the high rollers at the famous Casino

Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: Éze

A Change of Pace
Visitors always fall in love with this typical medieval cliff top village of narrow lanes, stone buildings and breathtaking views of the Mediterranean. Éze is in the heart of perfume country and a tour of the perfume factory can be arranged as well as a visit to its impressive botanical garden.

 

Mediterranean Cruise Shore Excursions: Nice

Mediterranean cruise shore excursionPutting on the Glitz

The city of Nice needs no introduction! Aside from a reputation for glamour, it is steeped in history, with evidence of a settlement as far back as 350bc, and its historical centre dates back to the 13th century.  Highlights of the tour include a walk along the “Promenade des Anglais” – former haunt of the British aristocracy, an unsurpassed, flower market and Michelin star restaurants.

Mediterranean cruise shore excursionShore excursions by Absolutely Southern France are fully private 7 or 8 hour customized experiences with  English speaking local and professional driver/guides with a van or sedan.

Riviera Ports of Call : Monaco, Monte Carlo, Villefranche, Antibes, Nice, Cannes, St Tropez, Provence ports of call : Toulon, La Seyne, Marseille,

Languedoc/Occitanie Ports of Call : Sète, Port Vendres.

 

Contact: nancy@absolutelysouthernfrance.com

Website : http://absolutelysouthernfrance.com/

 

 

Mediterranean cruise shore excursion

Expat Moving Tips for France

Pont du Gard, France: Architecture or Art?

Visiting monuments isn’t on the top of my sightseeing list; however Pont du Gard is a “must”.

Pont du Gard

Pont du Gard is reportedly one of the most visited ancient sites in France. But not until I saw it myself would I know why. It literally took my breath away. There, hiding out in the French countryside — not far from groves of olives trees and fields of grape vines — was a magnificent structure from the early Roman Empire. From the 1st Century AD, to be exact.

My first trip to Pont du Gard started in the early afternoon. It’s only a 25-minute bus ride from Uzes, so I decided to try my luck with public transportation. No problem. Except that the bus dropped me off in the middle of nowhere. With only an arrow on a road sign that read “Pont du Gard” to show me the way, I took off walking. Fortunately the entrance to the park was only a few minutes’ trek down the road.

I must have been the one of the only people who has ever arrived at the park on foot, because there were no pedestrian signs or entrance. Just a parking lot for buses and cars. In fact, a park guard saw me and came down the road to greet me. He must have thought I was lost — or a spy! Anyway, he pointed me towards the main entrance of the park.

Pont du Gard

Museum exhibit at Pont du Gard

Inside the park there was a large, very modern, covered loggia where several groups of people were sitting at tables or just standing around. A very nice snack shop, glacé stand, and a few souvenir and gift shops were along the side. The indoor exhibit hall and cinema I was told to visit first were on the right and could be accessed by going through a central door and walking two floors underground. Since I had arrived 45 minutes before the English version of the introductory film was scheduled to run, I had plenty of time to visit the exhibit hall.

Or so I thought. I could have spent hours there if I had wanted to go into a deep study of Roman aqueducts and water systems. There were exhibits of early Roman baths, latrines and more. I was particularly taken with the displays of numerous artifacts unearthed from the earliest days of the bridge, into the 6th century, when it was in constant use. A near-real sized replica of a worksite demonstrated how the bridge and aqueduct were constructed. Faux pulleys operated by mannequins showed how the stones were lifted into place. The theatrical set seemed quite authentic and very well done.

Armed with a small bit of the history of Pont du Gard, I was ready to see the real thing. Back into the heat and scorching sun, I walked down a short path where the occasional tourists– and dogs — were taking their time getting to the monument.

Then, beyond the trees… and a few yards farther… there is was.
pont du gard

I was transported to the days of the Roman Empire. When I walked closer to the bridge, I knew I was walking in the same steps as Roman soldiers and early French citizens centuries before me. Like so much of the architecture I’ve seen on this trip, I was amazed at the shape of the arches and the stones.

As I walked across the bridge, the wind was blowing briskly. Never mind. Even though I had to scurry to catch my hat to keep it from blowing over the side of the bridge into the ravine, I was mesmerized. Several times I had to prop myself up against the sidewall to keep my balance. I was disoriented from trying to take photos from every possible angle.

An 18th century visitor and famous writer Jean-Jacques Rousseau was overwhelmed when he visited Pont du Gard.

“I had been told to go and see the Pont du Gard; I did not fail to do so. It was the first work of the Romans that I had seen. I expected to see a monument worthy of the hands which had constructed it. This time the object surpassed my expectation, for the only time in my life. Only the Romans could have produced such an effect. The sight of this simple and noble work struck me all the more since it is in the middle of a wilderness where silence and solitude render the object more striking and the admiration more lively; for this so-called bridge was only an aqueduct. One asks oneself what force has transported these enormous stones so far from any quarry, and what brought together the arms of so many thousands of men in a place where none of them live. I wandered about the three storeys of this superb edifice although my respect for it almost kept me from daring to trample it underfoot. The echo of my footsteps under these immense vaults made me imagine that I heard the strong voices of those who had built them. I felt myself lost like an insect in that immensity. While making myself small, I felt an indefinable something that raised up my soul, and I said to myself with a sigh, “Why was I not born a Roman!”

After I strolled slowly across the aqueduct, taking pictures along the way, I came upon a seemingly hidden path. You know how I like surprises! So I tramped up the rocky pathway, higher and higher above the bridge, wishing only that I had worn better walking shoes. Although there were hundreds of tourists, I didn’t encounter any other people along the way. Happily alone, I climbed to the highest possible vantage point. Surely others had been this way before. The shiny stones on the pathway were evidence enough. But today, the panorama that lay before me was all for me.

As hard as it was to leave this perfect spot, I had to catch a bus. So I came down from my perch, hurriedly explored the left bank of the bridge, and promised myself I’d return some day.

pont du gardDinner at the lovely restaurant on the water’s edge with a view of Pont du Gard is in my future.

Nice city break

Nice City Break: Marc Chagall Makes It Nicer.

If your Nice city break is all about fancy Côte d’Azur beach clubs, great French and Italian food and the sparkling blue waters of the Mediterranean, you’d be right. It’s all that…

Nice city break

… and more. 

Nice city break

Musée National Marc Chagall

Nice city break

Marc Chagall

Nice was the home of artist Marc Chagall during the last part of his life and the largest collection of his work is permanently enshrined in the Musée National Marc Chagall, specifically, his “Bible” series. The museum is a bit hard to find, nestled in a park-like setting in a residential neighborhood of Nice, but it is every bit worth the effort to go there if you’re an art lover.

Nice city break

Musée National Marc Chagall

In addition to the  paintings which Chagall offered to the French State in 1966, he created the stained glass windows facing the garden and in the concert hall.

Nice city break

The Blue Rose

Nice city break

The Creation of the Word

Chagall’ surrealistic approach to his subject and bright basic colors is what delighted me with the exhibit. His deep understanding of the Bible, which came from his roots and from years of study as a Hasidic Jew growing up in Russia, is more than obvious in his work. Yet the simplicity of his characters makes the stories easy to grasp for all.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I did not see the Bible, I dreamed it. Ever since early childhood, I have been captivated by the Bible. It has always seemed to me and still seems today the greatest source of poetry of all time.

Marc Chagall

Nice city break

 

Next time you plan your Nice city break, work in a morning or afternoon at the Musêe National Marc Chagall. Spend some time in the garden and stop for a coffee and dessert. It’s a favor to yourself you won’t forget.

Nice city break

 

More about Nice:

Heading for a Beach in France? Nice!

City Side of Nice: Favorite Finds

Uzes to Nice: Nice!

Nice city break

SaveSave

SaveSaveSaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

SaveSave

7 Reasons To Visit Sete This Year

Visit Sete This Year

Those of you who follow the Barefoot Blogger regularly know how much I love to visit Sete. It’s one of my favorite places to go for the beach, for the fabulous seafood and for the “always on” fun. If you’re traveling from Barcelona to the South of France, Sete is less than 3 hours away by train.

Here are 7 reasons you really must go:

#1 Visit Sete for Great food

Sete has been one of France’s major seaports for centuries. It is said that Louix XIV made Sete his personal sea gateway so that the treasures of the Orient and beyond could travel directly to Versailles. Italian fishermen helped establish the port as a prime supplier of tuna, sardines, anchovies — among other sea delicacies. Oysters abound around Sete — especially in nearby Bouziques — rounding out a perfect assortment of most delectable seafoods.

Visit Sete

Bluefin tuna from Sete

 

Visit Sete

#2

Visit Sete for History

Along with fishing and importing kingly goods, Sete grew to become a prosperous town with stately homes and thriving businesses along the canal waterfront. Evidence of that prosperity can be seen still today, even though new trade routes and bigger seaports have largely impacted Sete’s economy. Tourism is bringing it back.

 

Visit Sete

Sete’s canal front

 

Visit Sete

Opulent details throughout Sete’s waterfront architecture.

 

 

 

Beyond being a famous port, Sete is known for her favourite son, George Brassens — composer, singer and activist.  In fact, there’s a museum in Sete dedicated to Brassens. It tells of his life and work that captivated me as much as learning about American icons Frank Sinatra or Elvis Presley. Click here to learn more about visiting the museum.

Visit Sete

George Brassens

 

#3 Visit Sete for Unique Natural Beauty

Canals that run throughout the town 

Visit Sete

Canals that run throughout the town

 

Visit Sete

 

Sky high, panaromic views of the Mediterrean Sea

Clear blue sea

Visit Sete

#4 Visit Sete White Sandy Beaches

Think the Cote d’Azur has the only beaches in the South of France? Try to beat this. Sete has beautiful beaches, blue skies and all-day beach clubs with seafood and much more!

Visit Sete

Beach buddies

#5 Visit Sete for Summer Sports

 

Where else can you sit in a covered arena, overlooking a sea canal, watching water jousting? Day and night?

 

Visit Sete

 

Visit Sete

#6 Visit Sete for Extravaganzas

Plan your holiday in Sete, especially around August during the St. Louis Festival, and you’ll be amazed the sights you’ll see.

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Visit Sete

Sete

#7 Visit Sete for Party hearty

Summertime in Sete there’s always a party going on!

Visit Sete

 

Visit Sete

 

Visit Sete

London’s Bad Girls’ Groove Band

 

Visit Sete

Partying at St. Clairs

 

Visit Sete

St. Louis Festival celebration

 

So what’s holding you back? Stop by Sete in the South of France. You might be surprised who you’ll run into!

 

Visit Sete

My “gang”: Hilda, Paula and Rich hanging out in Sete

 

Want to see it all in Sete? Contact Nancy McGee of Absolutely Southern France for guided tours — especially her famous “walking gourmet” tour.

Here’s where to find year-round activities in Sete. 

More about Sete:

Sete or Marseille? Which Has the Best Fish Soup?

A Day at the Beach in Sete: That’s Life!

Next Stop: Sete France

Barefooting in Sete, France

The Bad Girls in Sete

“The Golden Girls” Loving France: Day 7-8 Sete, Beziers and Bouziques

Sete: Abbeys and Vineyards

By the Sea, By the Beautiful Sete

Sete: Eat, Pray (to eat), Love (to eat)

Final Days in Sete: Parties, Artist Friends and Days at the Beach

For information on train schedules from Barcelona to Sete click here

 

 

Visit Sete

 

Seeing the South of France by train from Barcelona

How to Get To France Via Barcelona by Train

All Aboard for Carcassonne

Antibes in 2 Days

Antibes in 2 Days: Moonlight and Absinthe

Antibes in 2 Days

As long as I can remember I’ve dreamed I’d visit Antibes. When thoughts of the tiny dot-of-a-place on the French Rivera came to my mind, I’d imagine myself lounging on the deck of a massive yacht. Sipping champagne. Dining in the moonlight.

Sigh…

Little did I imagine that I’d live within a morning’s drive of Antibes. Yes. Dreams do come true…

Although no yacht was waiting for me (sigh…) the sights and sounds of Antibes were truly memorable. I don’t know when I’ve taken so many photos in such a short time — just two days in Antibes.  Everywhere I turned there was an amazing door or window to photograph. A partially hidden alley. A striking piece of artwork in a courtyard. It was truly a feast of colors, shapes, images and sounds.

Views of the coastline were breathtaking. 

Antibes in 2 Days

Antibes

 

Antibes in 2 Days

 

 

Portholes through stone walls had their own glimpse of the sea.

 

Antibes in 2 Days

Yachts were everywhere

Antibes in 2 Days

Yachts in Antibes

 

Sidewalk cafes were just inviting as I imagined they’d be. 

Antibes in 2 Days

Cafe in Antibes

 

Antibes in 2 Days

Antibes in 2 Days

The marketplace and stores around town were filled with fresh products, souvenirs and tourists.

Walking around the Old Town of Antibes (Le Vieil Antibes) three of four times during the two days of my visit, I saw much that I’d imagined. What I wasn’t expecting was that every narrow street seemed to be more picturesque than the last.

Antibes in 2 Days

Also, I never imagined such spectacular public artwork. Everywhere. 

There was a gigantic sculpture of “words” by Catalan artist Jaume Plensa — Nomade.  (Click on link to learn more.)

Antibes in 2 Days

“Nomade” overlooking the coast of Antibes

 

And the works of  Nicolas Lavarenne . His graceful statues were artfully placed through the streets and ramparts of Old Town Antibes. 

 

Antibes in 2 Days

 

Antibes in 2 Days

 

Only on exhibit for the summer, the striking and athletic figures seemed suspended in air as they leapt from walls and ancient structures. 

 

Antibes in 2 Days

 

Antibes in 2 Days

 

Antibes in 2 Days

 

As if that wasn’t enough, there was outdoor art in the courtyard of the Picasso Museum. Even from the street level, you could see the statues towering above the town — as if they were guarding the priceless pieces of art within the building. Unfortunately, photos were not allowed inside.

 

Antibes in 2 Days

Antibes in 2 Days

Picasso Museum Antibes

A walk on the wild side

While seeking out artists and shopping are my passions while traveling, you know there’s going to be a bit of the “absurd” thrown in somewhere.  In Antibes a visit to the Absinthe Museum was a “must.”

 

Antibes in 2 Days

Absinthe Museum in Antibes

 

Antibes in 2 DaysThe storefront of the Absinthe Museum was a gift shop, the side street entrance led down into a cave of “inequity” — filled with absinthe and drinking paraphernalia from throughout the ages. 

Hats for the occasion were provided as well as the telling of the history and absinthe-drinking technique. Who knew? Sugar cubes and water? A spoon made just for preparing the perfect drink?

To be honest, we visited the museum during the broad daylight and had only one drink each. In case you’re wondering, the alcohol content and taste of the variety we were drinking were similar to pastis. However, I was told about more potent types. All in all, it was great fun and a memorable way to spend an hour or so on a warm summer day. Especially if you want to recall thoughts of Van Gogh and all who fell under the magical spell of the “green fairy.”

Night-time entertainment

Antibes has a lot going on after dark in the Old Town but the nearby town of Juan-Les-Pins is “party central.”

The afternoon of the second day of our visit to Antibes, my friends, Paul and Rich, and I boarded the “petite train” that ran from in front of our hotel in Antibes to Juan-Les-Pins. Between the two towns the train passed through Cap d’Antibes where we had a glimpse of some of the famous mansions and coastline. We arrived in Juan-Les-Pins in less than half and hour — in time for shopping and a walk on the busy boardwalk.
Antibes in 2 Days

 

Antibes in 2 Days

Map of Old Town Antibes and Juan-Les-Pins

 

Antibes in 2 Days

Juan Les Pins

 

Antibes in 2 Days

Juan-Les-Pins at night

 

It was there, in Juan-Les-Pins, that my dream came true. 

Remember “dining under the moonlight? 

 

Antibes in 2 Days

 

Antibes in 2 Days

Moonlight and lemoncello

 

I hope you enjoyed the visit to Antibes in 2 Days!

Antibes in 2 Days

Patricia Sands in Antibes

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BIG thanks to Patricia Sands who helped plan the trip and visited with us in Antibes — her favorite place and hangout. 

Patricia’s novels on Provence are a “must read” if you love traveling and dreaming about France.

Antibes in 2 Days

More favorite places:

Boutique hotel in Antibes – Hotel Le Relais du Postillon 

Lunch in Antibes – Le Don Juan 

Light dinner in Juan Les Pins (on the pier or on the beach) – La Voille Blanche

Good website for more information on Antibes 

The Doors and Windows of Antibes

 

 

 

 

 

Want to know more about Antibes?

The Doors and Windows of Antibes

Antibes Again? It Just Gets Better

Hot Spots on the Côte d’Azur

dream come true

Are you getting Barefoot Blogger posts by email?

If you’re not receiving new posts by email, just send me your email address in “comments” and I’ll add you to the list. Privacy? All comments are reviewed by me before they appear online. Your email information will not be published. 

 

 

The Doors and Windows of Antibes

I was so impressed by the doors and windows of Antibes I couldn’t wait to show you!

While organising photos from my recent trip to Antibes, I was so excited I just HAD to show you the photos of just the doors and windows of Antibes. What a picturesque place! A blog post with highlights, touring tips and more photos of the road trip to Antibes will follow …

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

doors and windows of Antibes

 

Doors and Windows of Antibes

Doors and Windows of Antibes

 

Are you getting Barefoot Blogger posts by email?

If you’re not receiving new posts by email, just send me your email address in “comments” and I’ll add you to the list. Privacy? All comments are reviewed by me before they appear online. Your email information will not be published. 

%d bloggers like this: