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Marilyn McFarlane

Marilyn McFarlane, a long-time world traveler, freelance writer, editor and author, has written several guidebooks and many articles for print and online media.

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

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 …

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Following the Footsteps of Cezanne in Aix en Provence

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 …

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Five Places to Stay in Aix-en-Provence

  In charming, lively Aix-en-Provence, lodgings abound for every taste and budget. This civilized, cultured, fountain-filled city in southern France has been a popular tourist destination  for a very long time. Here are five hospitable choices in the historic center, close to the famous main boulevard, Cours Mirabeau: Hotel Cezanne 4-Star Hotel Cezanne,  named for Aix’s …

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The Marvelous Soaps of Marseille (Savon de Marseille)

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 …

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Budget Savers When Traveling in Europe

Even with the value of the dollar approaching that of the euro, Americans traveling in Europe on a budget still need to be creative and mindful. The following suggestions can help any traveler, but especially those who prefer traveling independently. Airfare Finding the lowest airfares to Europe can be incredibly time-consuming. I turn to a reputable travel …

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Bouillabaisse in Marseille: The Real Thing

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 …

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Montmartre, Paris: A Walk With The Artists

The first time I saw Paris, many years ago, my friends and I headed for Montmartre. We’d seen the movies and heard the stories, and we weren’t about to miss this famous neighborhood. It seemed a bit tawdry, but we didn’t care.  We went straight to the Moulin Rouge where we watched women in skimpy outfits dance onstage, while we tasted champagne. …

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Seeking out the Best in Turkish Pottery

  Some of the finest, most exquisite pottery in the world comes from the Cappadocia region of Turkey, where artisans have been crafting pots for millennia. Many potters and artists have studios open to visitors, and one of the best is Chez Galip near the village of Avanos. Galip Korukcu, considered one of the top  craftsmen …

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