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.
Patricia guided us through the Antibes Market where Philippe was the modest- and eligible — purveyor of cheeses.
Choosing a spot for a group photo in Antibes isn’t easy when there are so many spectacular views.
Shopping in Antibes is a favorite sport. The best news for our tour gals? It was market day in Antibes. Wahoo!
Market day in Antibes Vieux town square
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.
Following the footsteps of Cézanne took us through the town with a unique perspective.
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.
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.
Aix to me and Patricia is all about the food! We always head to Le Petite Bistrot for the amazing cheese and a big glass of beer!
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 In Arles
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.
The arena at night is magical.
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!
Shopping was always on our minds. Market day in Arles did not disappoint.
Our tour guests included Cheryl Jamison of James Beard cookbook acclaim. She raved about the food! Is it any wonder?
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!