We’ve travelled to over 30 countries, and each one had something special, unforgettable and memorable. But upon careful review, do we have any travel regrets? Have we travelled to any places that we wish we had not gone to? There are a few that stand out above others as the best with no regrets whatsoever, like Tonga, New Zealand, Uruguay and Venice, but then there was also China, and Ireland… oh, and Croatia, and Scotland… and France and Mexico and Hungary… there are so many incredible memories, and so many fantastic places! So… ummm… let me … More… →
The Cote d’Azur is beautiful, but touristy and we were not so interested in these things, so when we discovered a little-known gem along the Cote D’Azur, we were delighted to spend a little time there. While it is still a bit touristy, it was small enough to have just a few families on the beach, enjoying the sunny day on the Mediterranean. This is Bandol, just past Cassis, France. Shhhh… don’t tell anyone. Really a lovely relaxing place, quieter than many of the towns on the Cote d’Azur… Dreamhost Rebate
So what is the difference between the Cote d’Azur, the French Riviera and Provence? It was confusing, but eventually we sorted it out. The Cote d’Azur in English is The French Riviera. Provence is the short form of the entire region, Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur. There are still all kinds of regions, districts, departments and sub-divisions, all of which seem to overlap. At any rate, the Cote d’Azur is that area between Cassis and the Italian border (see map below), literally translated as ‘the blue coast’ of the Mediterranean Sea. The history of the Cote d’Azur goes back forever, and there is extensive … More… →
Aix is an elegant city with extremely well-dressed people, cobblestone streets, book stores, parks, gardens, and it has the beautiful Fountain la Rotunde at the end of the Cours Mirabeau, often compared to the Champs-Elysees street in Paris. There is a cultural air in Aix, and a hint of snobbishness. So we sat at a restaurant at the Fountain la Rotunde, sipped cool drinks, and people-watched. Here’s what we saw: I love the way French women dress. It is always a casual yet polished look. The most obvious difference was that they often wore long scarves wrapped loosely around the … More… →
Provence is full of quaint French villages and towns, and gorgeous landscapes. If you’re wandering around Southern France, do just that – wander. Wander… meander…. stray… stroll… sit on a bench…. stop for lunch… have a coffee… get lost… this is the best part of travelling in France. Allow enough time to spend half a day in a town or village that you find especially charming, and don’t be in a rush to get to the next town. This was our biggest mistake, and we know better. Our excuse was that we had a house sit in France … More… →
One day, from our House Sit, we went out to a 4 star Michelin Chef restaurant that had raving reviews on Trip Adviser, and was also highly recommended by a neighbor. The host/owner offered impeccable service and the menu looked absolutely scrumptious: We liked the soup a lot – a thick mushroom soup, in a tiny bowl. I was truly excited about this meal… The asparagus/scallop appetizer was what I looked forward to the most because I love scallops. We could not see or taste a scallop, and the dish was a cold mouse/gel aspic, with … More… →
We decided to take a day trip out to the Cote D’Argent on the West coast of France, to a place I had read few people know about – Arcachon Bay, known for it’s sand dunes, and huge waves. The Bordeaux area we drove through was full of huge wineries, with broad expanses of grape fields and winery mansions in the distance. Later we entered a thick forest that went right to the water’s edge. It was an easy drive once we got on the main highway with a speed limit 130 Km per hour, but it … More… →
Today we cleaned out the chicken coop at our house sit in Clairac, France. Yup! Easy Peasy. Only problem was that fat Old Momma Chicken would not move. She’s nesting again! So we had to work around “Ms. Precious”. The other 3 chickens had already been let out in the early morning… Pitchfork, rake, and wheelbarrow in hand we cleaned out the straw (covered in chicken crap) into the wheelbarrow, and tossed in some fresh straw, spreading it nicely around. T is raking; I’m holding the wheelbarrow. For city folk, I think we did a pretty … More… →
Our third visit to a Bastille town was to Sarlat-la-Caneda, a Bastille village dating back to the 9th Century, North of Toulouse, in the Dordogne region. With Romanesque and Renaissance architectural buildings looming high overhead, it is a maze of narrow lanes, picturesque alleys and shady squares… The streets were so narrow we had to be careful not to scrape the rear-view mirrors of the car on the sides of the buildings…. The region is famous for Foie Gras, Truffles and Chocolate. We wanted to try Foie Gras, but when we saw the prices of even a … More… →
This time the waiter at the restaurant spoke English. He was actually from Ireland, travelled all over the world, and ended up in Southern France. He was very helpful when we asked what we could see that was close by, and suggested Vieux Village (Old Town), though most of Marignane and Vitrolles, he said, are industrial areas. He also mentioned a path behind our hotel leading down to the marsh where there are flamingoes and a beach. We ordered coffee. Lesson One – coffee is a tiny cup of very strong espresso. They add water if you say Coffee … More… →
In a few days we will be landing in Marseilles, France. It’s a little surreal that you can be on the French Riviera in Europe on the other side of the world in just one day, your whole environment completely changed in a few hours. We are house sitting near Toulouse for a few weeks (4 dogs and 4 chickens), then driving down the picturesque coast of Southern France, then taking the train to magical Venice, Italy. Next we’ll drive through Slovenia and Croatia to the 16 cascading lakes at Plitvice Falls and back up the Croatian coast of … More… →
Are you totally bored with typical canned packaged same-old holidays? Longing for something a little different? Are you tired of walking half a mile down corridors, waiting for elevators, then walking another half mile of paved walks to get to an over-stuffed pool or a crowded beach with people lined-up like dominoes? Are you sick of having to race down to the pool to put a towel on a chair to save it? Or worse yet, paying for a chair? Are you tired of lining-up to book a restaurant table days before you even know what kind … More… →
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