November 25, 2013

Europe by Colour: White

Today's post in a series on my favourite travel photos by colour features whiteWhite is actually the absence of colour but the ribs in the fan-vaulted ceiling in the gothic chapel at the Musée Cluny, the Museum of the Middle Ages in Paris, make up for the lack of pigment with an intricate pattern.

Chapel Ceiling, Musée Cluny, Paris

November 18, 2013

Europe by Colour: Yellow

The fourth post in a series on my favourite travel photos by colour features the sunny colour yellow.

This little frog was keeping a discreet eye on visitors to the gardens of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild from his perch on a cluster of flowers. The lavish belle époque villa is on the Cap Ferrat peninsula on France's Côte d'Azur.

Gardens of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Cap Ferrat

November 04, 2013

Gardens of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild

The Cap Ferrat peninsula in the south of France is home to the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, a spectacular pink mansion in the grand belle époque style. The villa is famous for its gardens - nine different themes featured in all.

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Cap Ferrat

October 28, 2013

Europe by Colour: Green

Today's post, the third in a series on my favourite travel photos by colour, features the colour green.

The lush countryside in the Burgundy region of France offers many peaceful scenes like these Charolais cows grazing on the gently rolling hills in the Mâconnais.

The Mâconnais Countryside

October 21, 2013

Saint Jean Cap Ferrat

Cap Ferrat – the name conjures visions of million dollar villas hidden behind massive security gates. In the 1800s, the peninsula was a popular spot for wealthy families in Nice to come for a picnic.  In the 1950s, celebrities such as Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton discovered the town of Saint Jean Cap Ferrat. Today the village is a quiet side trip on France's Côte d'Azur.

View of Cap Ferrat from Eze Village

October 07, 2013

Europe by Colour: Blue

This is the second in a series of posts featuring my favourite travel photos in five colour categories: red, blue, green, yellow and white. The first post featured the colour red. Next up is my favourite colour, blue.

The clear skies over the Tuileries Gardens in Paris formed a lovely backdrop for this white marble sculpture by Nicolas Coustou, La Seine et la Marne. The photo was taken on the Bastille Day weekend and the French flag can be seen waving above the treetops.

La Seine et la Marne, Nicolas Coustou
Tuileries Gardens, Paris

September 30, 2013

Tossing a Coin in the Trevi Fountain

The film Three Coins in the Fountain popularized the custom of throwing a coin into Rome's Trevi Fountain and thus ensuring your return to the Eternal City. The first time I tried my luck, the currency was the lira; more recently I used a euro coin. And now I've  planned another trip to Italy, so I'd say the ritual works.

The Trevi Fountain, Rome

September 16, 2013

Europe by Colour: Red

A photo blogging challenge called Capture the Colour has inspired me to create my own series of posts featuring my favourite travel photos in five colour categories: red, blue, green, yellow and white.

Today's post starts with the most vibrant of colours, red, and this lovely basket of ripe strawberries in a shop window in the town of Tournus in Burgundy.

September 09, 2013


Our visit to Eze Village on the scenic Côte d'Azur came with an unexpected bonus, a medieval festival called MediEZEvales. We'd taken a bus to the hilltop town in the morning, hoping to avoid the worst of the mid-day heat, but there were already signs of the coming attractions. The festival was scheduled to begin at 4:00 p.m.

MediEZEvales in Eze Village

August 26, 2013

Dan Brown's Inferno: The Art

Dan Brown's latest bestseller, Inferno, centres on the writings of 14th century Florentine poet Dante Alighieri. The Divine Comedy details the journey of the departed as they descend through the various levels of Hell, Purgatory and Heaven, and the images conjured by Dante influenced artists for centuries to follow.

Portrait of Dante, Botticelli

August 19, 2013

Eze: Perched Village of the Côte d'Azur

High above the azure waters of the Mediterranean Sea, wedged between the scenic coastline and the rugged Alpes-Maritimes, Eze Village is one of the perched villages of the Côte d'Azur. The medieval town is referred to as Eze Village to differentiate it from the beach resort, Eze Bord de Mer, 400 metres below it on the coast.

Eze Village

August 05, 2013

Evening in Villefranche-sur-Mer

French Riviera towns such as Cannes and Monte Carlo are known for their glitz and glamour but an evening in the town of Villefranche-sur-Mer is delightfully laid-back. And as the sun begins to set and the air cools down, the visitor's thoughts ultimately turn to dinner.

Quai Amiral Courbet, Villefranche-sur-Mer

July 29, 2013

The Beach of Villefranche-sur-Mer

For many vacationing on the French Riviera in summer, a visit to the beach is a must. Those who spend time in Villefranche-sur-Mer won't be disappointed with its small but sandy beach. Further down the coast in neighbouring Nice, the beach is much larger but also more pebbly, and on some sections guests must pay to use the facilities.

Umbrellas on the Beach in Villefranche-sur-Mer

July 22, 2013


A charming Old Town and magnificent views of the Mediterranean Sea make Villefranche-sur-Mer, once a sleepy fishing village, my favourite destination along the scenic Côte d'Azur.


July 15, 2013


Monaco, July 2012 - This was departure day for travellers on the Provence extension of an Avalon river cruise through Burgundy and Provence, but we planned to explore the oldest part of the principality, Monaco-Ville, before leaving Monaco. And the first item on my agenda this morning was a special experience from my Bucket List: a tour of Monaco by Ferrari.

Tour of Monaco by Ferrari

July 08, 2013

Monte Carlo

St. Remy de Provence, July 2012 - We boarded our motor coach this morning at 9:00 a.m. and reunited with our cruise director to say farewell to Provence. We were about to embark on the final leg of our journey with Avalon Waterways enroute to the French Riviera and the tiny principality of Monaco.

A couple of hours later, Mont St. Victoire rose in the distance as we approached the city of Aix-en Provence for a mid-day lunch stop.

Mont St. Victoire

June 24, 2013

St. Rémy de Provence

St. Rémy de Provence, July 2012 - We arrived in St. Rémy yesterday on the Provence extension to our Rhone River cruise with Avalon Waterways. Once again the weather promised to be hot -  35 Celsius by afternoon. Unlike my previous visit to Europe when my sun hat travelled around in my luggage, mon chapeau is being worn every day.

June 10, 2013

The Camargue, Delta of the Rhone

Port St. Louis, July 2012 - Situated at the mouth of the Rhone River, Port St. Louis marked the end of our river cruise through Burgundy and Provence with Avalon Waterways. We started the day with breakfast – and a mimosa – and then boarded a motor coach bound for St. Rémy de Provence for the Provence Extension to our tour.

The Quay in Port St. Louis

June 03, 2013

Afternoon in Arles

Arles, July 2012 - This was the last day of our Burgundy and Provence river cruise with Avalon Waterways. We'd spent the morning in the French countryside touring an olive farm and the hilltop town of Les Baux de Provence. Following lunch on board ship our afternoon was dedicated to a walking tour of Arles.

Tour de la Cavalerie and Arles City Gate

May 27, 2013

Dan Brown's Inferno: Venice in Photos

In Dan Brown's latest novel, Inferno, Robert Langdon leads readers on another thrilling chase through the streets of Florence and Venice. I've assembled my own photos of some of the locations in the book. (Update: There are more photos from a second trip to Venice in the post Dan Brown's Inferno: More Venice in Photos.)

After completing his quest in the historic centre of Florence, Langdon boards a train bound for Venice, La Serenissima, and arrives at Santa Lucia Station.

May 21, 2013

Dan Brown's Inferno: Florence in Photos

Dan Brown's latest novel, Inferno, was released on May 14th, just in time for a rainy long weekend. It was hard to put the book down as I followed Robert Langdon on another thrilling chase through the streets of Florence and Venice. And it prompted me to look up my photos of some of the locations from the book.

Inferno opens with a mysterious character running north from the Arno River, behind a palazzo with a crenellated tower, through Piazza di San Firenze toward the spire of the Badia.

Palazzo Vecchio, Florence

Piazza di San Firenze and the Badia Spire

May 11, 2013

An Olive Farm & Les Baux de Provence

Arles, July, 2012 - It was the last day of our Rhone River cruise, and when we awoke this morning the Avalon Scenery was docked in Arles. Before visiting the town, we were taking an excursion into the Provençal countryside to an olive farm and the hilltop town of Les Baux de Provence.

Arles on the Rhone River

May 02, 2013

A-Z: Reflections on My First Blog Hop

I've just completed The Blogging from A-Z Challenge for 2013. This was my first blog hop and I made it – from my very first post "A" is for Art all the way through to "Z" is for Zodiac.

What a great experience!

"A" is for Art

April 30, 2013

"Z" is for Zodiac

This is Day 26 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

We've made it to the end of the alphabet, and the letter "Z" which is for zodiacThe twelve astrological signs of the zodiac have appeared in art for centuries.

In Venice, the gold signs of the zodiac run counter-clockwise on the blue face of the astronomical clock on the Clock Tower in St. Mark's Square. They are surrounded by the 24 hours of the day in Roman numerals engraved in the white marble. This clock dates from the early Renaissance. 

Astronomical Clock, Venice

April 29, 2013

"Y" is for Yacht

This is Day 25 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

The letter "Y" is for the many yachts found in the waters of the French Riviera.

Monaco is home to some of the wealthiest people in the world and its harbour is filled with luxurious yachts of all sizes.

Monaco's Port Hercule

April 27, 2013

"X" is for Aix-en-Provence

This is Day 24 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

The letter for today is a tough one but my choice of topic, the town of Aix-en-Provence in France, is known simply as 'Aix' (and pronounced 'X').

As the name suggests, the city of Aix is located in Provence. A large fountain at the centre of La Rotonde once marked the entry to the town.

La Rotonde Fountain, Aix-en-Provence

April 26, 2013

"W" is for Window

This is Day 23 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

Today's topic is window. The French have a colourful expression for window shopping: faire du lèche vitrine or "window licking".

While touring Europe I visited some iconic department stores, like Harrods in London and Galeries Lafayette in Paris.

Egyptian Escalator at Harrods, London

April 25, 2013

"V" is for Van Gogh

This is Day 22 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

Today's topic is the Dutch painter known equally well for his bold strokes of colour and his tumultuous life, Vincent Van Gogh.

Statue of Van Gogh, St. Paul de Mausole

April 24, 2013

"U" is for Umbrella

This is Day 21 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

The letter "U" is for umbrella, which can provide shelter from the rain or the sun. The origins of the umbrella go back 3,000 to 4,000 years in ancient Greece, Assyria and China.

I don't like to carry an umbrella when I'm travelling. I prefer a hooded rain jacket which frees up both hands for other important things, like putting on your reading glasses, unfolding and refolding maps, digging out a few euros from your bag or pocket, holding on to tickets, using your camera, etc. (A third hand would be much more useful.)

Rainy Day in Rome

April 23, 2013

"T" is for Trompe l'Oeil

This is Day 20 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

The topic for today is trompe l'oeil, which is French for "trick the eye".

Nowhere have I seen more trompe l'oeil murals than in the city of Lyon. It's become a local art form to honour prominent citizens and the city's gastronomic heritage. (There's an interesting article from France Today on the history of the murals of Lyon.)

The following murals were all painted on the same building.

La Fresque des Lyonnais

April 22, 2013

"S" is for La Serra Spa

This is Day 19 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

Today's topic is a lovely spa in the Italian town of Sorrento called La Serra.

April 20, 2013

"R" is for Roman Ruins

This is Day 18 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

The topic for today is the Romans and the ruins of their ancient settlements found outside the walls of Rome.

The town of Pompeii south of Rome was buried by the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD, preserving extensive ruins under layers of volcanic ash.

The Ruins of Pompeii

April 19, 2013

"Q" is for Quay

This is Day 17 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

Today's topic is quay (or quai in French), a waterside platform by a river or sea.

A quay can provide docking facilities for the many cruise vessels travelling the major rivers of Europe.

Quai on the Saône River, Tournus

April 18, 2013

"P" is for Princess

This is Day 16 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

The letter "P" is for Princess: Princess Grace of Monaco.

American film star Grace Kelly came to Monaco to film Alfred Hitchock's  To Catch a Thief with co-star Cary Grant.

View of Monaco from the Corniche

April 17, 2013

"O" is for Olive

This is Day 15 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

Today's post is about the olive, valued since ancient times for its fruit, oil and wood. Olive trees thrive around the Mediterranean, as well as other arid regions of the world.

The Olive Fruit, or Drupe

April 16, 2013

"N" is for Nîmes

This is Day 14 for the
Blogging from A to Z Challenge
for 2013.

The letter "N" is for Nîmes. All who share the modern obsession for jeans owe their thanks to this city where denim fabric was created. The English word denim comes from the French "de Nîmes" (from Nîmes).

Located in the Languedoc-Roussillon region in the south of France, Nîmes is better known for its well preserved ancient Roman buildings, like the Maison Carrée

Maison Carrée, Nîmes