April 30, 2018

"Z" is for ZZZ's

I've never had much luck catching some ZZZ's during a trans-Atlantic flight to Europe, and a night without sleep makes the effects of jet lag feel even worse. This roomy Business Class seat aboard a Swiss flight to Zurich (enroute to Nice) converted to a flat bed, the best way to arrive refreshed at my destination.

How to Catch some ZZZ's on a Flight to Zurich

Previous A to Z Posts:
"Z" is for Zone
"Z" is for Zucchini
"Z" is for Zodiac

April 28, 2018

"Y" is for Yummy

The French have earned a reputation for fine food and examples can be seen everywhere, from posh restaurants and village markets to shop window displays. The sweet treats in this patisserie window made me stop and say "yummy"!

Yummy French Pastries

Previous A to Z Posts:
"Y" is for Ye
"Y" is for Year
"Y" is for Yacht

April 27, 2018

"X" is for eXecutive Class

While planning my latest trip to France I decided to treat myself to flights in Executive Class – what a way to travel! On my return journey, meal service on the TAP Portugal flight from Lisbon to Toronto was superb, especially the hot Cream of Sweet Potato Soup and Smoked Halibut.

Meal Service in Executive Class

Previous A to Z Posts:

"X" is for Xerophyte
"X" is for X-Bones
"X" is for Aix-en-Provence

April 26, 2018

"W" is for Waterfall

The city of Nice has a man-made waterfall in a park atop Colline du Chateau, Castle Hill. The castle no longer exists but a lookout above the waterfall offers expansive views over the city and the Baie des Anges, Bay of Angels. You can get there by taking the stairs, an elevator or the tourist train.

Waterfall on Castle Hill, Nice

Previous A to Z Posts:
"W" is for White Tower
"W" is for Wishes
"W" is for Window

April 25, 2018

"V" is for Villefranche-sur-Mer

One of my favourite Cote d'Azur towns is Villefranche-sur-Mer, located between the city of Nice and the principality of Monaco, and within walking distance of the exclusive Cap Ferrat peninsula. Villefranche-sur-Mer is a popular port of call for Mediterranean cruise ships and makes an excellent home base for exploring the Riviera coast.


Previous A to Z Posts:
"V" is for Vicars' Close
"V" is for Vivaldi
"V" is for Van Gogh

April 24, 2018

"U" is for Universal Prayer

I was immediately drawn to this large figure reaching for the skies in front of the Palais des Papes, Palace of the Popes, in the Provencal city of Avignon. The piece entitled Universal Prayer by Senegal sculptor Ndary Lo was part of a 2017 exhibition of contemporary African art.

Universal Prayer, by Ndary Lo, Avignon

Previous A to Z Posts:
"U" is for University
"U" is for Unicorn
"U" is for Umbrella

April 23, 2018

"T" is for Tourist Train

Little tourist trains can be found in cities and towns all over the south of France and they're usually white; this similar, but more photogenic, red train operates in Monaco. Though not part of France the tiny principality is surrounded on three sides by its much larger neighbour and has a well-established place on the French Riviera.

Tourist Train, Monaco

Previous A to Z Posts:
"T" is for Thatch
"T" is for Taxi
"T" is for Trompe l'Oeil

April 21, 2018

"S" is for Sunflowers

Can there be a cheerier flower than the sunflower? Every summer these simple blooms can be spotted in roadside fields and village markets across Provence. Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh painted several versions of Sunflowers for his friend and fellow artist, Paul Gauguin, and they are among his most beloved works.

Sunflowers of Provence

Previous A to Z Posts:
"S" is for Seagull
"S" is for Souvenir
"S" is for La Serra Spa

April 20, 2018

"R" is for Roussillon

Roussillon is another of France's villages perchés, perched villages. The town invites visitors to stroll its cobbled lanes and admire colourful buildings in the sunset hues of ochre. The mairie, or town hall, is just one of many picture-perfect views to be found in the Luberon village of Roussillon.

Mairie, or Town Hall, of Roussillon

Previous A to Z Posts:
"R" is for Rolling Stones
"R" is for Red House
"R" is for Roman Ruins

April 19, 2018

"Q" is for Quarry

An old limestone quarry in the foothills of the Alpilles Mountains near Les Baux-de-Provence has found new life as Carrières de Lumières, a venue for high tech multi-media shows featuring the artworks of the world's greatest painters. Moving images are projected onto the floor, walls and ceiling of the quarry to the accompaniment of a musical soundtrack. The artists on display in 2018 are Picasso and the Spanish Masters.

Carrières de Lumières, Les Baux-de-Provence

Previous A to Z Posts:
"Q" is for Queen
"Q" is for Quarantine
"Q" is for Quay

April 18, 2018

"P" is for Picasso

Like many artists before him, Spanish artist Pablo Picasso spent time living and working in the south of France. In the years following WW II he established a studio at Chateau Grimaldi in Antibes, which is now a museum dedicated to his work. Here visitors can view paintings, sculptures and ceramics created in the Cubist's distinctive style.

Ceramics, Painting and Sculpture by Pablo Picasso

Previous A to Z Posts:
"P" is for Peter Pan
"P" is for Peacock
"P" is for Princess

April 17, 2018

"O" is for Ochre

Ochre is a natural earth pigment that has been used by painters since prehistoric times. Colours range from yellow and orange to red and deep rusty brown. The village of Roussillon in Provence has the world's largest known deposit of ochre.

Ochre Cliff, Roussillon

Previous A to Z Posts:
"O" is for Oxford Street
"O" is for Obelisk
"O" is for Olive

April 16, 2018

"N" is for Negresco

The luxurious Hotel Negresco on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice has played host to a number of celebrities including Princess Grace of Monaco and The Beatles. The chandelier hanging in the hotel's Royal Lounge was originally designed by Gustave Eiffel (who built the famous tower in Paris) for Tsar Nicholas II of Russia. The tsar was unable to take delivery of his chandelier when revolution broke out in 1917.

Hotel Negresco, Nice

Previous A to Z Posts:
"N" is for National Gallery
"N" is for Nightfall
"N" is for Nîmes

April 14, 2018

"M" is for Market

Whether it's the Cours Saleya in Nice, the Marché Provencal in Antibes, or any other small town market these centres of community life are a must-see for the visitor to France. And for me, the stars of any market are the colourful specimens of fresh produce like these sweet peppers and zucchini blossoms.

Stars of the French Market or Marché

Previous A to Z Posts:
"M" is for Millennium Bridge
"M" is for Majolica
"M" is for Macaron

April 13, 2018

"L" is for Luberon

This beautiful region in southeastern France was made famous by Peter Mayle's memoir A Year in Provence. And one of the Luberon's most iconic images is the lavender field in bloom. Being surrounded by the floral perfume along with chirping cicadas and the hot summer sun was a bucket list experience come true!

Luberon Lavender Field

Previous A to Z Posts:
"L" is for Leadenhall Market
"L" is for Lemon
"L" is for Lavender

April 12, 2018

"K" is for Knitwear

I've seen some interesting bicycles on my travels through Europe but this one on the street in Avignon was the first I've ever come across decked out in knitwear. The south of France was dealing with an unusual spell of hot weather at the time so it must serve a different purpose.

Any ideas?

Knitwear for the Well-Dressed Bicycle

Previous A to Z Posts:
"K" is for Knight Bus
"K" is for Krupp
"K" is for Kilogram

April 11, 2018

"J" is for Jets

The playful jets of this miroir d'eau, or water mirror, on the Pomenade du Paillon must surely bring joy to the children of Nice on a hot summer day. I was tempted to join them!

Miroir d'Eau, Water Mirror, Nice 

Previous A to Z Posts:
"J" is for Jurassic Coast
"J" is for Juliet
"J" is for Joy

April 10, 2018

"I" is for Ice Cream

I found some relief from the heat with this cup of ice cream on Place de la Grande Fontaine in the hilltop town Saint Paul-de-Vence. A scoop flavoured with violets was an easy choice after our visit to the neighbouring village of Tourrettes-sur-Loup which is known for the cultivation of violets and an annual violet festival.

Violet Ice Cream in Saint Paul-de-Vence

Previous A to Z Posts:
"I" is for Isis
"I" is for Inferno
"I" is for Island

April 09, 2018

"H" is for Hashtag

#ILoveNice - the large social media hashtag overlooking the Bay of Angels makes it easy for people like me who love this city on the Côte d'Azur to find and share photos with the rest of the world. The Nice Convention & Visitors Bureau also promotes a second hashtag: #NiceMoments.

#ILoveNice Hashtag Overlooking the Bay of Angels, Nice

Previous A to Z Posts:
"H" is for Henry VIII
"H" is for Hairpin Curve
"H" is for Harbour

April 07, 2018

"G" is for Gordes

The south of France is famed for its picturesque villages perchés, perched villages, like Gordes. The hilltop is crowned by an old chateau and Saint Firmin Church. But don't get too close to the edge of the lookout as there's no railing and it's a long way down if you fall.

The Perched Village of Gordes

Previous A to Z Posts:
"G" is for Greenwich
"G" is for Gelato
"G" is for Garden

April 06, 2018

"F" is for Fountain

A hot summer afternoon in Provence is perhaps best enjoyed with a refreshing glass of rosé on a place, or square, shaded by plane trees, especially if it's a square with a trickling fountain like this one on lovely Place des Corps Saints in the city of Avignon.

Fountain on Place des Corps Saints, Avignon

Previous A to Z Posts:
"F" is for Folly
"F" is for Forcola
"F" is for Ferrari

April 05, 2018

"E" is for Earth Goddess

The Jardin Exotique, Exotic Garden, of Eze Village is inhabited by a bevy of Earth Goddesses by Jean-Philippe Richard. The goddesses enjoy breathtaking views of the Riviera coastline and the Cap Ferrat peninsula from their lofty hilltop location among the cacti and succulents.

Earth Goddess Margot, Eze Village

Previous A to Z Posts:
"E" is for Elevator
"E" is for Eruption
"E" is for Employment

April 04, 2018

"D" is for Door

France values its historic buildings and many have retained their unique wooden doors. Some doors have elaborate carvings and others are more rustic, like this simple door in the bell tower of Eglise St. Michel, St. Michael Church, in the picturesque village of Roussillon.

Bell Tower Door, Roussillon

Previous A to Z Posts:
"D" is for Dartmoor
"D" is for Dome
"D" is for Dolphin

April 03, 2018

"C" is for Café

The first French cafés opened in Paris in the 1600's but the iconic cane chairs and round tables found on so many of the city's pavements are especially well suited to the leisurely lifestyle of southern France. This empty café in Vieux Nice, Old Nice, was surely closed.

Café in Vieux Nice

Previous A to Z Posts:
"C" is for Chihuly Chandelier
"C" is for Cicchetti
"C" is for Chair

April 02, 2018

"B" is for Bougainvillea

Everywhere you go on the Côte d'Azur you'll see bougainvillea blooming in vibrant shades of purple, magenta and pink. The vine's high salt tolerance makes it ideal for France's Mediterranean coast. This bougainvillea graces a colourful wall in Le Safranier, a neighbourhood in Old Antibes.

Bougainvillea Blooms on a Wall in Old Antibes

Previous A to Z Posts:
"B" is for Buckingham Palace
"B" is for Bell Tower
"B" is for Bridge

April 01, 2018

"A" is for Antibes

The town of Antibes on the Côte d'Azur has been an inspiration to many 19th and 20th century artists, including Claude Monet and Pablo Picasso. Replicas of their work are displayed along the seaside promenade known as The Painters' Trail.

The Painters' Trail, Antibes

Previous A to Z Posts:
England from A to Z
"A" is for Aperol
"A" is for Art