Montmajour, the Oldest Abbey in Provence

Montmajour Abbey

  Vincent Van Gogh visited Montmajour Abbey at least fifty times, he wrote, just to look at the view across the plain.  Today's visitors to Provence, France, are drawn to the abbey for the same reason and to see the impressive old ruin in stone, a French historical monument and the oldest abbey in Provence. It was a significant site from the time construction began in the tenth century, ... Read Full Article

Favorite Villages in Provence: Eygalières and Mausanne-les-Alpilles

La Maison Sucrée, a creperie in Eygaliéres, France

  Dozens of  inviting villages are scattered throughout sun-drenched Provence, in southern France. Two of my favorites, perhaps because they're lesser known and have such unpretentious charm, are Eygalières and Mausanne-les-Alpilles,  in the Bouches-de-Rhone region. Both lie near the Chaine des Alpilles, a low east-west range of limestone peaks that rise steeply from the Rhone River ... Read Full Article

Following the Footsteps of Cezanne in Aix en Provence

Paul Cézanne Mt. Ste. Victoire

  Paul Cézanne was devoted to his hometown of Aix-en-Provence, in southern France, and it's easy to see why. More than a hundred years after the great artist's time, it's still a lovely, livable city. “When you're born here,” Cézanne said, “nothing else is good enough.” He was fascinated by the light of Provence and painted the region's landscapes over and over—some 60 versions of Mt. St. ... Read Full Article

Marseille, European Capital of Culture

Fort St Jean Marseille

  Marseille is in the spotlight this year; the historic seaport on France's Mediterranean coast was chosen European Capital of Culture for 2013. A dazzling array of displays, performances, and exhibitions is underway and, happily for visitors who can't get there this year, much of it will spill into the future. The city, with government and EU assistance, has renovated museums, constructed ... Read Full Article

The Marvelous Soaps of Marseille

Savon de Marseille, sold at outdoor market stall

  Soaps made in traditional fashion and within the city limits of Marseille, France, are the only ones allowed by French law to use the coveted name: Savon de Marseille. What makes this simple, mild soap so special? Why is it favored in exclusive boutiques and salons in the U.S. and Europe? Recently I went in search of the answer in Marseille itself. On La Canabiére, the city's main ... Read Full Article

Bouillabaisse in Marseille: The Real Thing

Le Miramar waterside restaurant, Marseille

  Bouillabaisse is serious business in southern France, especially in the seaside town of Marseille . The delectable fish soup originated here, and every chef and fisherman claims to have the best recipe. The art of cooking bouillabaisse began on the Mediterranean coast centuries ago, probably by sailors thriftily turning unsold fish into a spicy stew. It soon became the signature dish for ... Read Full Article

A Star Shines in Moustiers Sainte Marie – Provence, France

Star suspended above Moustiers Sainte Marie

  Two mountain peaks tower steeply above Moustiers Sainte Marie, France; and from an iron chain stretched between the two peaks shines a golden star. The five-pointed star's origin is typically obscure and is the subject of polite dispute. It is popularly attributed to the returning Crusader Baron Blacas, miraculously freed from Saracen captivity and eager to make a permanent, dramatic, ... Read Full Article

Where to Stay in St. Tropez, France

Piscine_Hotel_Byblos_Saint_Tropez_

  Located on the French Riviera, the small and glamorous port city of St. Tropez has no shortage of places to stay. Below is a list of some of the best hotels in St. Tropez for every price-point. Each hotel recommendation comes with information on the proximity of the hotels to major sights, a general description of the hotel grounds, and descriptions of the rooms and their ... Read Full Article

Prowling Around Provence: Day-trips from Marseille

Signes_arch

  It’s not happenstance that Marseille is an ideal base for exploring Provence. We love to take day-trips from Marseille because the Romans built roads from here in all directions, which the modern-day routes often follow. My husband and I have made use of these Roman routes many times as we explored the Provencal countryside. We’ve developed a system for our expeditions: we leave ... Read Full Article

Top Five Historic Sites in Marseille, France

Interior-Notre-Dame-de-la-Garde

  Be prepared to travel back in time as you visit these top five historic sites in Marseille, France. An established seaport, Marseille boasts a unique maritime history, dating back to the ancient Greeks and Romans. The city is committed to remembering and preserving its history through a variety of historic sites and museums. Le Musée des Docks Romains Located on the site of a former ... Read Full Article