Monthly Archives: February 2019

L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue & Aix, France ~ September 2018

L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue was on my radar to visit as I had read they had antique shops, and a big monthly antique market. We weren’t going to be there during the big antique market weekend, but I wanted to visit anyway. The weather was looking nasty, but we decided to head out instead of sitting in the apartment for the day. We caught their regular weekly market as it was closing up, and wandered around town in the rain. It’s also known for their streams and many water wheels around town, and it added to the charm of this small town.

Some local pretties…

We were so hungry and many of the restaurants had filled up when it started raining. We finally found a table under an umbrella with another couple from Belgium outside of Cafe de France. It dripped and dropped, but after ordering drinks and our meal, the day improved greatly! It was soooo good! https://cafedefrance-cafe.business.site/

After lunch, the weather started to improve, and Monica spied a sweets shop with enormous globs of something sweet she had to try. Not sure what they were and they didn’t suit my tastes, but they were fun!

Finally.. Blue skies and sunshine, and we found the water wheels. So pretty!

Check out the Volkswagen “Thing” we found parked next to the stream.

La Boutique La Francine had an assortment of antiques and amazing textiles and fabrics, and Denise bought a bunch of material for future projects such as making pillow covers.  http://www.laboutiquedefrancine.fr/  There were several great little shops along the way back towards town.

The girls found the “Antique Village”, and we enjoyed browsing their great selection. Denise bought a cool vintage jacket she wore later in the trip. There were so many things we loved, but way too big to fit in our suitcases. I loved the garden things, the leather club chairs, the chandeliers, the olive jars, farm collectibles… ohh, just everything! And they even had a little bar/cafe where we could rest a bit, and have a drink and let Wally decompress from the shopping. http://www.levillagedesantiquairesdelagare.com/

http://www.oti-delasorgue.co.uk/en-ot-delasorgue/art-antiques/antique-dealers-lisle-sur-la-sorgue

On our way back to the car, we realized we needed more liquor. It’s just amazing how cheap really good local wine and champagne is! Some Chateauneuf du Pape, Rose, and Champagne got loaded into our bags.

The sun was shining when we made it back to our apartment at Aix, and I decided I was going for a photo walk around the historic district. What a lovely town! We would definitely return to Aix! It’s so pretty and lively! It was late afternoon, so the university students were out in full force for their afternoon apertif, but the restaurants hadn’t started filling up yet.

Back in our awesome apartment, we people watched from the windows and enjoyed our evening.

Just another day in Provence!

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Arles (Antique Market Day) & Avignon, France ~ September 2018

ARLES, FRANCE

Our destination for the day was Arles and Avignon, about 45 minutes to an hour from Aix. I had scheduled our days by the antique and market days in each town, and today was the antique market in Arles.

Crossing the Rhone River into Arles

We parked in a public lot and made our way across the street to the antique market set up along the sidewalk in the shade. Monica was on the hunt for some French china, and she found the perfect little set of tea cups. I love the old linens and bought several. Things weren’t cheap, but they weren’t expensive either. So many interesting things!

After shopping, we walked around town a little while, seeing the Roman buildings and ruins before making our way to Cafe Van Gogh for lunch. It was made famous by the painting “Café Terrace at Night”, an 1888 oil painting by the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh. http://www.restaurant-cafe-van-gogh.com/

The perfect lunch for the day – history, delicious food, and local rose wine. Onward to the Place de la Republique and the St Trophime Church. So much beauty and history! Here’s a great link to learn about the history: https://www.myprovence.fr/en/travel-guide/entertainment/cultural-places/arles/38238-place-de-la-republique

AVIGNON

Our next major stop for the day after Arles was to see Avignon and you have to tour the Palace of the Popes or “Palais des Papes” to see and learn the history of the town. It took us about an hour for the tour and the lookout point over the river was beautiful. Here’s their website to learn more: http://www.palais-des-papes.com/en

By the time we finished the tour we were exhausted, and it was time to drive back to Aix and wind down. We walked around town a bit later, and marveled at how many young people gather in the long piazza near the university each evening!

All done for us for the night.  Tomorrow is our day trip to L’Isle-Sur-La-Sorgue.

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Aix en Provence, September 2018 ~ Around Town & Market Day

We arrived in Aix en Provence for our 5 nights of touring around Provence. I found a fabulous apartment right in the middle of the historic district on Airbandb – Kari’s “Splendid Flat”. She has a parking spot when available a bit of a walk away from the apartment as there are no residental cars allowed in that part of town. Below is a peek at our street and a bit of the apartment.  https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/5611479?eal_exp=1521044057&eal_sig=d204ff0584feeb27c418d78158f1e09613d83171e4d9e7288b12325fb5ab32f8&eal_uid=38773163&eluid=2&euid=b3e3352e-8ed1-308c-060a-7ea09e60d8b2

The apartment has a wonderful open layout ,and was so comfortable and cozy with a great kitchen, appointed with everything a cook might need.

We unpacked and settled into the apartment, and then went out to explore.

What a lovely town! I couldn’t resist seeing what was in this crazy looking shop La Taverne Platon. So many interesting things! https://latavernedeplaton.com/

It was time for our afternoon cocktails, and we chose one of the cafes on Cours Mirabeau for drinks and appetizers. I loved the architectural elements, and especially these guys on the Tribunal de Commerce building on Cours Mirabeau. This is the happening “Main Street” in Aix for dining, Market Day and more.

Later in the evening we walked down our street to La Place des Augustins, a charming little plaza surrounded by cafes and restaurants that is packed at night. We chose Chez Jo for dinner, and it was delicious and what fun! We realized there were very few tourists, which was great. It’s fun to mingle with the locals!

After dinner, we walked around a bit to see the town at dark. The chandeliers at Deux Garcons are amazing!

The next morning, Wally came back from his walk to tell us the market was set up – up and out we went to shop! We bought spices and herb mixes from the spice lady, and then hurried through the market to the food section of the market to start there. Cheese, sausages, fresh produce, bread and more filled our bags. On our way back through the market we had skipped, dealers were taking down their tents and packing up. OHHHH NOOOO!!! I had missed it! Can you say “madder than a wet hen??” Later on, I realized they would be back later in the week, so was relieved I could shop then.

We made lunch with our market buys, and there’s nothing better! There is also a grocery just down the block, so everything was so convenient from our apartment.

Next up, day trip to the antique market at Arles, and the town of Avignon.

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Saint Paul de Vence, France ~ Sept 2018

We left Nice and Saint Paul de Vence, a medieval village perched atop a hill just a short drive from Nice, was our lunch stop. This village has been home to many famous artists, past and present. We were on our way to Aix en Provence, our destination for the next phase of the trip. We found a parking spot in a garage a short walk from the village gate. Learn more about this town at: https://www.saint-pauldevence.com/en/IMG_3920We were hungry, and the Le Cafe de la Place looked inviting just before you entered the village. People were playing boules next to the cafe, and it was fun to sit and watch. We had great service, and the sandwiches and light fare we ordered were perfect.

We talked to the couple sitting next to us a bit, as he was sitting and sketching. He showed us his artwork for the day, and it was really good!

Fed and happy, it was time to do a speedy walk through town. I wish we’d had more time, but we got a late start that morning at the Nice Antique Monday Market. As you walked up the winding, hilly main “street” through the village, the windows were filled with fabulous art of all kinds and charming boutiques. I could have spent the day!

This couple was having fun! They were so cute!

I loved this shop! The chandelier was gorgeous!

Onward and upward… And the views… IMG_3977IMG_3975IMG_3974If you love art, I would recommend you set aside several hours or more to browse the galleries and shops at St. Paul. Talk to the artists as they work, and slow down and relax in this charming French town!

Bye Bye St. Paul de Vence ~ On to Aix!

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Monaco & St.- Jean-Cap-Ferrat, Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild, Sept 2018

From Nice, we took an Uber to Monaco to check out the famous Monte Carlo Casino and yachts at the marina. And WOW at the cars parked around the casino! You can Uber into Monaco, but have to take a taxi or train out. https://www.montecarlosbm.com/en/casino-monaco

 

We walked around the grounds and the yacht club, and we were so glad it was a beautiful day for our visit!

 

Amazing to think about how much money was gathered in that tiny little area! We found a great little open air bistro right next to the yachts, and settled in for lunch. We sampled different cocktails, and our delicious dishes had huge portions, and what a view! http://le-pattaya-monaco.com/

 

Back up the hill to the Casino, and we dropped a small bit of money in the slot machines to say we had and quickly departed. Their casino area for the public is quite small, but the building is gorgeous!

 

We walked up the hill a ways and lucked upon the tourist office to ask about a ride. A family was asking about getting their passports stamped, and we were delighted we had ours with us to get them stamped in “Monaco” too! The workers were very nice, and called us a taxi to take us to our next destination, St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat and Villa Ephrussi. Our taxi driver was so fun and friendly, telling us about the little villages along the way, before dropping us at the top of the hill at the villa.

 

I had read how lovely the Villa & Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild were perched at the top of the peninsula in St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, and had it on our “must see” list. https://www.villa-ephrussi.com/en/home. We enjoyed the history, beauty of the villa and gardens and they were setting up for a wedding which made the grounds even more special. We wandered about for about an hour, watching the fountains and reading the captions describing the contents.

 

The gardens periodically come alive when the music started, and the fountains began their water dance along the pools. The views from all sides of the villa were just amazing!

 

The floral designers were hard at work, quickly creating a magic backdrop for the upcoming wedding. We took advantage of several to take pictures.

 

 

We walked down the hill into town where we had a few drinks and enjoyed the quiet little village setting before calling an Uber to go back to Nice to pack up.

 

We only had two nights in Nice on the Cote d’Azur, and we will definitely return in the future. It was such a nice blend of French and Italian cultures by the Mediterranean Sea – what a heavenly destination! We are headed to Aix en Provence next…

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Nice, France & Monday Antique Market ~ August 2018

It was up and out early from our London apartment, and we Ubered to Gatwick Airport for the next leg of our journey. This was our first time flying Easy Jet, and we were startled to learn you HAVE to check in online as they don’t have ticket check-in counters when your arrive. Luckily I did that as we were in route! Also they mean their weight limit, which is not very much, so weigh your luggage before you get there! We ended up having to pull out a smaller suitcase and check it, so good thing we got there early. Another lesson we learned is that the taxi drivers do NOT accept credit cards, and it was costly as we had not gotten Euros yet. I had to ride around the block with the driver to find an ATM while on his clock.

Enough of that… we’re here! The French Riviera! Our wonderful little apartment was located several floors above the Les Jardins du Capitole Restaurant, and we had a great view of the sea and Promenade des Anglais. A bottle of champagne was in order while we waited for our contact to check in.

Bright and sunny and what a view! I found this apartment on Airbandb:

https://www.airbnb.com/rooms/2614427? eal_exp=1521230452&eal_sig=babaf44b05401af6ec48342fb7fbe1aad0ab1899261ccb381ea31e9 6c7c8a98b&eal_uid=38773163&eluid=2&euid=0e5e55ff-4d9d-ce35-1a0f-1cae5127da8f

We unpacked and settled in and unfortunately, so did the rain. Hungry and thirsty, we braved the rain, and started walking towards Old Nice to explore.

One of the French restaurants was ready for a wedding party to arrive, and it was so beautiful! Monica happily snapped tons of photos before the servers chased her off.

Hangry, wet and tired, we ended up in a Spanish restaurant that was much fancier than we were expecting. Beware when ordering in France – we ordered what we thought was one order of Paella, and he brought TWO huge servings. This restaurant required a certain number of dishes be ordered per person as well, so our feast grew. It was delicious, but oh la la, it was pricey! After dinner, we walked past famous landmarks such as Le Negresco Hotel, which was just a few blocks from our apartment.

We awoke to sunshine, and I set off to explore and find some French croissants and pastries for breakfast while the others slept. I ended up at Boulangerie-Patisserie Jeannot, and it wasn’t long until a line formed behind me. Ahhh… nothing like the smell of fresh baked yumminess! http://boulangeriejeannot.com/

Every Monday is the Nice Antique Monday Market that starts at 7:30 a.m. until 6 p.m. on the Cours Saleya, and it was a fabulous market!! I bought some antique kitchen linens, and took loads of photos to show everyone their offerings.

Here’s a video I shot around the antique market to give you some flavor.

Next up, Monaco and St.-Jean-Cap-Ferrat!

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