Montmajour, the Oldest Abbey in Provence

  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

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

Vieux Port and 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)

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 boulevard, La ... 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

  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

  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

  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

Cézanne’s Mont Ste-Victoire, Provence

At sundown, I sip a glass of Provencal vin rosé entranced by this ever-changing light on Mont Ste-Victoire from the terrace of a house close to Aix en Provence. I promptly decide I must drive all the way around it tomorrow following the Route Cézanne. I want to get up close and it’s an easy day trip. The light in Provence, France, is golden, rich, and warm, and has attracted artists and ... Read Full Article

A Drive Through Provence to See Roman Ruins

  Highlights of a trip to Provence will usually include visits to wineries and ancient hilltop villages, as well as leisurely lunches – but there is another interesting side to this region of France. During a road trip through beautiful Provence, I learned that you don’t have to go to Rome to see some of the best-preserved Roman ruins. In fact, many of the most intact, ancient Roman ruins ... Read Full Article