December 18, 2017

Nice: The Hotel Negresco

The Promenade des Anglais in Nice is a fitting Côte d’Azur address for the five-star Hotel Negresco. Since its opening in 1913, this belle époque gem has welcomed royalty and celebrities like Princess Grace of Monaco, The Beatles and Salvador Dali. A visit to La Negresco’s Bar for a pre-dinner cocktail gave me the perfect excuse to explore the public areas of this luxury seaside hotel.

Hotel Negresco, Nice

December 11, 2017

Avignon: Les Halles

I can't resist a French food market, bursting with ripe fruit, a myriad of exotic cheeses and freshly baked breads. A picnic put together at one of these markets and then eaten by the Eiffel Tower in Paris or the seaside in Antibes would make a memorable travel experience. Alas, I’ve never done it. And when I visited Les Halles in Avignon it was too early for lunch. But along with the charcuterie and glistening seafood, I wanted to see the living green wall on this modern building on Place Pie.

A Scenic Picnic Spot, the Champ de Mars in Paris

December 04, 2017

Avignon: Street of the Dyers

At this time of year when I look out the window and it’s cold, dark and dreary, I really appreciate the uplifting effects of colour. And the vibrant print of a Provencal fabric never fails to put a smile on my face. The vivid yellows, reds and blues whisper ‘summer’ to me. Avignon’s Rue des Teinturiers, Street of the Dyers, is where these lively textiles originated.

A Rainbow of Provencal Prints

November 27, 2017

Roussillon, Village of Ochre

The Luberon region of Provence is a patchwork landscape of lush green vineyards; fields of lavender and sunflowers; and charming villages perchés, perched villages. One of the most colourful is the village of Roussillon, which owes the warm hues of its buildings to the world's largest known deposit of ochre. This natural earth pigment ranges in shade from yellow and orange to red and deep rusty brown, and has been used by painters since prehistoric man began decorating the walls of his cave.

The Luberon Village of Roussillon

November 20, 2017

The Lavender Museum

One of the many attractions for visitors to Provence is lavender, a flower beloved for its tranquil purple hues as well as its long-established medicinal properties and calming scent. Its tiny florets can also be used to enhance the flavour of foods like baked goods, chocolate and lemonade. During our outing to the Luberon I visited the Musée de la Lavande, Lavender Museum, in Coustellet to learn more about this iconic symbol of Provence.

Luberon Lavender Field

November 13, 2017

The Luberon: Peter Mayle's Provence

With his 1991 memoir A Year in Provence, Peter Mayle put this picturesque region in southeastern France on the radar of travellers. Once I began reading his books I too dreamed of visiting Provence, and all the beautiful photos I saw of endless rows of lavender stretching away to the horizon only reinforced my dream. So the day we journeyed into the Luberon countryside was the most anticipated day of our tour.

The Luberon Countryside