Tag: south of france

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!

Reason You'll Love Pezanas

Need A Reason To Love Pézenas?

Why will you love Pézenas? 

Pézenas is a small town that reminds many people of Uzès. In fact, when some expats are choosing a place to locate, it seems to be a toss-up between the two. Read on for a reason you’ll love Pézenas!

#1 Reason To Love Pézenas

Saturday Market

Although the Saturday Market in Uzès has won awards and acclaim as one of the best markets in France, the market in Pézenas isn’t far behind.

#2

Reason To Love Pézenas

One of the “most beautiful towns” in Languedoc

Pézenas, is considered to be one of the most beautiful towns in the Languedoc-Roussilon area of France. Once the political center of the États du Languedoc and the home of Parliament, the consul’s palace (Hôtel des Consuls) stands on one of the main squares (Place Gambetta). On market day the palace is surrounded by shoppers and tourists.

Reason To Love Pézenas

Hôtel des Consuls (Consuls’ Palace) on Place Gambetta in Pêzenas

#3 Reason To Love Pézenas

Moliere Festival

The French Ministry of Culture designated Pézenas a Protected Area (Secteur sauvegardé) because of its over 30 historical monuments, including a monument dedicated to the French playwright, Moliere.

Apparently Moliere spent only a few days in Pézenas where he put on several of his less important theater works. Nevertheless, the town honors his contributions to the arts in France. Remember Moliere from the movie “Mozart.” If you’re like me, you’d like to know more.

Reason To Love Pézenas

#4 Reason To Love Pézenas

Marianne, a symbol of the French Republic\

Reason To Love Pézenas

Statue of Marianne in Pezenas

She stands atop a column which is surrounded by cherubs riding dolphins. The column is inscribed with the motto of France: “Liberté, Égalité, Fraternité.” The statue in the Cours Jean-Jaurès. was molded in 1880. The fountain was built in 1887.

Reason To Love Pézenas

“Marianne”, a symbol of the French nation, standing in Pezenas

#5 Reason To Love Pézenas

Architecture in Pezenas

During my short half-day stay in Pézenas, I was struck by the awesome architecture in the town. I understand most of the large building were hotels or homes. The French and other Europeans of long ago loved to stay or visit in Pézenas because of its beauty, culture and proximity to the Mediterranean.  Many of the town’s structures qualify for the  “Inventaire des Monuments Historiques” for their “porte à colonne et ponton” or “entrance with columns and carvings.”

Reason To Love Pézenas

Reason To Love Pézenas

Reason To Love Pézenas

Reason To Love Pézenas

Reason To Love Pézenas

Street scene on market day in Pezenas

#6 Reason To Love Pézenas

Food!

For a solo female traveler, one of the things I often judge about a place is how comfortable I feel having a meal alone.  In Pézenas, the scenery around the eateries — especially those in the city squares — is enough to keep you company. Here’s my view at lunchtime.

The Plat Du Jour

Saturday market in Pézenas

Plat du Jour in Pezenas

Later, after spending more time than I should visiting with the designer at a fabulous jewelry shop …

Saturday market in Pézenas

… here’s the view when I stopped for an afternoon refreshment.

Pézenas is a MUST GO BACK TO! place. There’s so much more to see and do.  Stay tuned for more …

Reason You'll Love Pezanas

Lost in the Luberon Part Two

Lost in the Luberon Part Two

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In October I started writing the story about my adventures “Lost in the Luberon”. It’s time to get back to to telling the tales because there are blanks in the story I need your help to complete.

Here’s a link to the first part of “Lost” in case you want to catch up. Click here.

In Part One, as you may remember, I confessed I am directionally challenged. That competency must be a left brain thing. Honestly, I can’t read a compass. Maps are a horror. GPS systems confuse me if there’s not a voice attached.
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I try not to think about my shortcoming too much because it would definitely limit my adventurous spirit. That’s why I was willing to take off on a tour of the Luberon with my friend Pat, who was visiting from Wisconsin.

Little did I know, Pat’s sense of direction is no better than mine!

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Me: “There’s a sign ahead, Pat. Is that where we’re supposed to turn?
Pat: (silence)
Me: “Pat, do we turn there?”
Pat: (silence)
Me: “Pat, I can’t pull over. What does it say on the map? ”
Pat: “Oh! The map!

Remember that from Part One?

Rather than retell the tale, I’ll say, we succeeded in getting to the first destination of the Luberon trip, Gordes.

A nice lunch and a walk around Gordes got us back in the mood to travel on.

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Finding our way around the second half of the day was supposed to be a cinch. From Gordes, our next stops — Roussillon, Menerbes, and Lacoste– were only a few miles apart.

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By that time, too, we’d figured out how to find ourselves on the GPS on my iPad. (“Figured out” means we knew which dot on the GPS was us and which dot was our destination. I’m not kidding.)

Nevertheless, the rest of the day went sort of like this: backing up and turning around.

Me: “Pat, we’re supposed to turn off of this road soon, aren’t we?”
Pat: “Yes.”
Me: “Pat, the road is coming up. Do we turn here? ”
Pat: “Well … we could.”
Me: “Could? …. what does that mean?
Pat: (As we pass the road) Well, we could turn … Oh! … I guess we should have turned!”

Road signs like this had us a bit confused, too.

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It was at this sign, in fact, that we experienced “divine intervention.” I’m not joking. A female voice, speaking English, told us to take the turn to the left.

Both Pat and I screamed: “where’d that come from?!”

Then we broke out laughing. Belly laughs. Mapquest on my iPad, that had failed us so miserably up to now, suddenly had found its voice.

By this time, we were so confused we didn’t know where we were. One narrow street looked like another.

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Each church looked like the other.

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Town halls were the same.

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Later that day

Much later than we were supposed to check in for the night, we arrived at the bastide in Lacoste. Our hostess couldn’t offer us glasses of wine fast enough.

“How was your day, ” she asked?

“Couldn’t have been better!” we both exclaimed.

Here’s where you, my French friends and travelers, come in. If you recognize a street, church, or anything pictured in this post, please send it to me on the comment line. /

It’s bad enough being directionless. It would be great to actually know where I’ve been

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