Friday, May 17, 2013


 Anita at Castles, Crowns and Cottages is hosting another fabulous linky party from France. Previously we’ve all met in Paris to tour the “City of Light,” enjoying museums, shopping and of course experiencing the French brasseries and sidewalk cafes. This year we are traveling throughout all of France and meeting along the way in quaint medieval villages to the small towns and villages of Provence. I hope you will come along  for the ride and enjoy the scenery!

Your Tour Guide Today ~ Emily

Jim and I planned our trip to Paris and upon returning home we both knew it wouldn’t be our last. Little did we know it would be the first of many trips to Europe and the UK. The travel bug bit in a big way! We both love to travel and love an adventure, so no tour groups for us. We travel to explore, experience cultural differences and feel the magic of new found places. Love of history is the draw for Jim while I love art and together we plan and research our destinations to come up with the perfect trip itinerary. 
Today I am touring the Côte d’ A’zur, better know to Americans as The French Riviera. We flew into Marseille and picked up our sporty sedan to travel to the cities and countryside in the south of France.  

We drove to Avignon which is a great town to “home-base”. From there we made day trips to Aix-en-Provence, Arles, Orange, Pont du Gard, Saint-Remy-de-Provence and everything between. For us, daytime requires comfortable clothes and backpacks and evenings find us dressing for dinner and maybe a Church concert or opera. 


We love to stay in historical town centers. This town is surrounded by medieval walls but offers modern sophistication. Cobblestones, street cafes and shops full of sun-drenched Souleo pottery. Here you will find the Palais des Papes and Pont d’ Avignon (Saint-Bénezet) bridge, that once spanned the Rhône River. French children know it best from a song. 

The Bridge

School children on a field trip learning the history of the bridge

The Rhône River

The Town

Palais des Papes

A little shopping for material

Roman Theater

Pont du Gard

Gnarled and twisted, this spanish olive tree was planted in 908, making it over a thousand years old!



Roman and Greek settlements


Our hotel

With a view of Promenade des Anglais

Famous Hotel Negresco with it’s pink dome, our view from our side balcony, yes we had two. Don’t be shy when checking into your hotel, if they have nicer rooms available they will usually upgrade your room if you ask. Before we left Nice we walked across to the Hotel Negresco. Every bit as beautiful as you would dream!

Flea Market
Once a month a flea market replaces the weekly flower market. I found a beautiful old Moustiers faience platter, I practically stole it! It was late in the day and the seller didn’t want to pack it up and return home with it. He made me an offer and I countered with a very low offer. He accepted if I could pay cash! Yes, it is displayed along with my faience treasures. The best bargain ever.

Jim and me taking a little break at a sidewalk cafe

With the day coming to an end it was time to unwind


While in Nice we took the train to Monaco for the day. Driving the scenic route would have been fine but once in Monaco the driving would be ugly! We walked from the train station to the town and on to the Monte Carlo casino. We had lunch at an outside cafe across from the casino, which provided a beautiful view. We don’t gamble but just for fun I wanted to this trip. We went inside and I put a few coins in the slot machine and walked out with fifty Euro! I still have my money in my travel wallet.

Monte Carlo Casino

Beautiful views everywhere

Quaint villages and the French Countryside

We took a scenic drive from Cannes, driving along the Mediterranean through quaint fishing villages and passing yacht clubs with luxurious yachts and sail boats. 
Leaving Nice we drove through perched villages, St Paul de Venice, Vence and Cagnes-sur-Mer where we visited Renoir’s Home.  

Renoir’s Home

The large window is his studio. His home was left intact, just as it was when he finished his last paintings. We saw his wheelchair and the paint brush he used for his disabled hand (arthritis). All of his last paintings were standing along the floor and hanging on the wall. The studio was full of his unfinished work.

The Barn
Now used for a gift shop

Basilica Saint-Maximin

Where a small staircase leads to a marble sarcophagus that is believed to hold the skull of Mary Magdalene. Yes, I did go down to view it!

Just like going to get gas only filling up your wine bottle!

This was one of my favorite trips we’ve made to France. We enjoyed it so much we may plan a return visit someday.
I know, this was a little long so if you are still here thank you for touring with me. Hope you will leave a comment, it’s the only way I know you stopped by. 


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  1. I AM SO EXCITED ABOUT THIS! Emily ma belle, you have taken me through a part of France where I lived, played, learned, toured with my husband and fell in love with the French life. Avignon was a playground for us, the time in Nice, you have captured it all for me. THANK YOU for participating and I am making my way through the links this morning as I take the entire day to visit you all. Many thanks for your hard work to compose a beautiful tour. Please visit the other links when you can and ENJOY!!!!!! Anita

  2. Emily, you know I am giddy with excitement with each one of these gorgeous images. We've spent several vacations in this area. I would go back in an instant. What a beautiful post! Thank you for taking the time to put this together so we could all spend a bit of time on the Cote D'Azure. Merci! ~ Sarah

  3. What a dream vacay, Emily, your photos are so gorgeous. Love the one with you and your handsome hubby! Beautiful couple. xo

  4. Great tour, Emily! LOVED it!! I love Provence. It's been so long since I've been to France. What a cute idea for a blog party! I'll have to see what everyone else is up to......

    LOVE the photo of you and Jim at the sidewalk cafe.


  5. Wow...what a lovely tour or Provence and the Cote D' is one of my dream trips! Thanks for bringing it to life this Friday afternoon! I am now following your blog and am looking forward to past and future posts! Have a lovely weekend!

  6. So many wonderful places to visit in Provence and your photos remind me why it is my favorite region of France. We just returned from the Loire Valley which is also lovely in a different way.

  7. Emily, I must say you are the perfect tour guild. Your pictures are just to fabulous.And you are charming.
    I have a CD with Dream a little Dream in French.Very beautiful.
    PS Your Grandson is darling.
    It was a pleasure,
    Marie Antionette

  8. Oh Emily, thank you for taking me along on your tour! Our son and DIL are in France and then onto Italy right now. I can't wait to see their pictures and hear all about it.

  9. Emily, I am exhausted, but in a happy were a wonderful tour guide!

  10. Hello lovely Emily. How very delightful to have you as a tour guide. My, what perfect photographs. Makes me want to book a tour this second. You look beautiful in every single shot. Thank you for sharing, mon amie.

  11. Emily, you have featured one of my favorite areas of France. Seeing your photos brought back fond memories of being in those places with friends and family.

    I am following along with you since we share a love of France.


  12. Emily,
    Aaaaahhhh, a familiar place for me here. These pictures are amazing, dear. A few of my favorites are the charming streets and all the people, the Carousel, and the Greek settlements, as I am part Greek hehehe. Jess went to Nice and had the most wonderful time. You have really captured the beauty in France with all your pictures. Thank you for sharing them. It's as if I am there myself.


  13. GORGEOUS! This makes me want to book the next flight:) Have been to many of the places you so beautifully highlighted but never to Monaco or Renoirs home (both high on my list). Avignon and Provence will forever be etched in my mind as one of the most magical places on earth. SO much to love about France!!!!!

  14. So glad I found your post at Beverly's Pink Saturday. So many great pictures! Love the details you provide too.

  15. Wow...this post is FULL of "WONDERFUL" !! :)
    How blessed you are to be able to travel like this.
    Thanks for taking so many lovely photos and sharing them with us.
    Just beautiful !!

  16. Dear Emily,
    Your photos are breathtaking! Thank you for sharing with us.

  17. What a great long post !!....Welcome in France...nice to see you to do this together...Anita is such a good friend to all of us...enjoy the weekend love

  18. Beautiful photos. I've been to Nice and Monaco, but Avignon is still to come. Thanks for the virtual tour.

  19. Thank you for the tour. It brings back memories because I have been to many of those places. I remember a lot of it. Have a nice weekend

  20. Thank you Emily!
    So happy you enjoyed Bebe.
    Enjoy your travels

  21. Emily,
    I just noticed the song that was playing, "Dream a little dream." I LOVE THAT SONG! My favorite version is sung by 'The Mamas and the Papas.' You should listen to it sometime. Just stopping by again and dreaming of France through your pictures.



    How wonderful to see your post again; I just noticed that you came by and left your comment on my older post! My goodness, France is stunning through all of your photos, Emily, and isn't it great to share it with EACH OTHER?

    I hope to do this again but with ENGLAND next time...we shall see. But linking together is a thrill!!!!! HAVE FUN! Anita

  23. Oh Emily, I am so happy you share you trip to France with you especially since I have never traveled there. Your images are so gorgeous, I am sure it was a fabulous trip.

  24. Emily, your photos are lovely and I could never tire looking at them. Memories are so special and i can see such joy. I may have to go back and take it all in again.

  25. What a wonderful trip, and thank you so much for sharing it with us!! This took a long time to put together and I really appreciate it. A very long time ago I also toured France and you brought back such wonderful memories.....beautiful pics, you really captured the essence.....

  26. Hello Emily. So pleased you stopped by to say hello through the lovely Anita. I have enjoyed your post so much that I visited twice, poking my nose in and around all your vacation lovely destinations. You really did plan such a beautiful trip. I am hoping we can squeeze in a trip to Monaco very soon. Bon weekend.

  27. What an amazing trip! Thank you for sharing your photos and memories!

    ~ Violet

  28. I've never been to the Côte d'azur. Your pictures are just lovely.

  29. Merci pour cette superbe balade provençale ...

  30. Emily, your post was great. I 've been working my way down the list from Anita's party. So much fun but it takes time. Everyone has different interesting pics and I enjoy learning new things.

    I liked seeing and reading about filling up your wine bottle. So cute and funny because it is different. I loved traveling with you and seeing the pictures of you and your husband because I love visualizing people. I've been to St Rèmy, Avignon, Pont de Gard, Arles, Orange, Aix-en-Provence , Isle Sur la Sorgue, Rousillon,Gorges,Bonnieux, and Les Baux. I would love to visit the other points you visited in the Cote d'Ajur. Your photos are so mesmerizing. It was fun seeing your pics of some of the places we had been.

    Happy you found a great faience piece.

    Have you been to Italy? We want to go in September and I know I need to get to work planning.

  31. Emily I enjoyed your tour so very much!! Beautiful images and I can see what a great time you had with your husband!

    Come with me on my adventure in France.
    life, possibilities, grace
    a beautiful dream...

    Art by Karena

  32. Ah Emily, your wonderful photos bring back very happy memories for me... My family ignited a travel bug in me from an early age and I love exploring different parts of the world. Thank you for this wonderful tour!

  33. What a trip!!! You captured some amazing photos. Looks like you had the time of your lives!

    Heidi @ hi-d's place

  34. Thank you so much for this wonderful journey, bringing back so many memories! We spent holidays in this unique region, but still there is so much to discover. My husband and I would start tomorrow, if possible! We never went there at this time of year, but for sightseeing it seems to be exactly the right time. In July/August it is so overcrowdede, no pleasure at all. But September is lovely.

    Thanks again,

  35. GREAT tour! I am overwhelmed by the beauty of your photos! I SO wish I could have been there too!

  36. You have brought us on such a wonderful trip this year. I remember your tour from last year, you have such a wonderful insight.

  37. Beautiful! This is more fun than I ever expected! Love being a part of the party.

    St. Simons Island, GA

  38. Absolutely drop dead beautiful post! You look gorgeous in your sunnies. Loved my visit to your beautiful blog.

  39. Breathtaking pictures, Emily! Your photos bring back great memories. I love the driving thought the coast of Nice. We went to that market too but it was a flower and fruit market when we went, would have preferred the flea, but I bought me a doll from one of the stores around.......Christine

  40. Had such a great time visiting with you I was surprised to look around and find myself still at home! Fabulous post!

  41. Oh gosh, Emily, I am almost in tears seeing your gorgeous photographs of France! I think you and Jim have the right idea about traveling and "doing your own thing" and not being in a travel group. Those buildings/aqueducts/arches are just too beautiful. That restaurant with the yellow tablecloths was one of my favorite photos...I could almost imagine myself being there. About my only trip to Europe was a trip to Monte Carlo and staying at the Hotel de Paris next door to the casino...I have seldom been on a more fabulous trip.

  42. Thank you for taking me with you, if only virtually, to France. Your photos make me want to go all the more!!! It is on my bucket list. Hopefully next Spring!
    Looks like you had the "Grand Tour"!

  43. Oh my word, thanks for the tour. Such a fabulous trip. Thanks also for joining Inspire Me. Hugs, Marty

  44. Emily!
    You are the best tour guide!
    What am amazing journey! I have bookmarked this post to feed my dreams!

    (This journey via Anita has enlightened me so!)

    Visiting your blog is a gift to behold for many visits ahead!

    Thank you for the anniversary wishes!

  45. A delightful journey! Nimes reminded me so much of Rome, I had to double check to see if you'd jumped borders! Love the photo of the restaurant with warm yellow walls and turquoise trim, very inviting. Nice to meet you through Anita's party! Anne

  46. Hi Emily,

    Lovely to tag along on your coat tails and see the fabulous places you visited. Thank you for sharing your amazing photos and makes me want to start planning another trip there.


  47. Emily, you and your husband are a handsome coupe (you are beautiful). What a delightful tour of The French Riveria. Thanks for letting me tag along,Olive

  48. A wonderful tour of France enhanced with music - the only thing better would to be there in person.

    Thank you.

  49. Oh Emily Sweetie...
    Merci, merci for sharing with me today. I SO enjoyed my visit. You took me to places I have always dreamed of. The architecture is exquisite. I loved the countryside, and the views oh my. Now those outside cafe's look like so much fun. You can hear the bustle, conversations, laughter and smell the aroma of so many things. I hope you don't mind I took a couple of rides on the carousel. The music and laughter just took over.

    Love the idea of the markets, and you even found a bargain at the flea market. What a deal. Can't wait to see that platter. Knowing you, it is exquisite.

    France is beautiful, I never thought I would get to go. Thank you so much for the detailed tour. I have scrolled through several times and dreamt along the way. Your eye behind the camera lens is beautiful.

    Have a glorious day sweet friend. Many hugs and much love, Sherry

  50. Hi Emily, What a fabulous trip. This part of France is on my bucket list.

  51. There's little that is more fun than pointing a car down the road and seeing where it takes you... with a few planned stops along the way I could drive around for years in France. I think the most amazing image though was that ancient olive tree. How it could remain after 1000 years of wars and fires is a little bit of a miracle. Thanks to Anita for bringing everyone together.

  52. Oh Emily, thanks for the amazing tour of France! Gorgeous, so enjoyed this!
    Thanks so much for sharing on Amaze Me Monday!!!

  53. Beautiful photos! I was lucky enough to stay with a Dutch family for a week on the Cote D'azur when I was in college and then years later going back for a week. So many wonderful places to explore. I really like Monte Carlo and Menton. Thanks for bringing back some great memories. Love the last picture of you...just great!Wonderful tour! I have been totally missing out on this fun! I'll have catch up this summer!

  54. Emily, Your post was wonderful. Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos. I love traveling, unfortunately, France isn't one of the places I've ever visited, so I love seeing it through your eyes. :)
    Hope you have a great Memorial Day.

  55. Good morning beautiful Emily! You have some of the richest photos I have ever seen of France. Your contribution to the party has been WONDERFUL! THANK YOU so much for having participated and I will be back in Blogland soon....enjoy your summer and think about France for next year! LOVE! Anita

  56. I too love anything French! To the point I bought a little apartment in the Loire
    It doesn't matter how many times you go to France you will have a different and wonderful holiday.
    I went to Nice, Monte Carlo and Cannes last year and managed to score the Film Festival and Grand Prix by accident! But your photos added another layer to what we could have seen.
    Come visit the chateaux of the Loire, the kings loved the region and so will you!

  57. I thought I would come back and take a second look.Your pics are all so gorgeous and worth more than a second look.Also I had to visit so many that I wrote you down...LOL.So I could take my time.It was worth the wait.Thank you for making your tour so wonderful,
    XXOO Marie Antoinette

  58. Oh my how fun, thanks for the tour, I loved it. Hugs, Marty

  59. Thanks so much for sharing your wonderful tour. That is probably the only way I will ever get to France. Every thing is so pretty I can see why you and your husband loved the tour.

  60. Thanks so much for sharing all the images. I had a friend who was stationed in Nice for Texas Instruments that I visited in 1990, and this brought back so many memories! I loved St.Paul de Vence, Antibes, and a trip to Grasse to the perfumeries Fragonard should be on your list some day. It's fascinating to me how different the south of France is from Paris and the other regions. Decades later in Paris I was searching for those colorful Provençal fabrics and herbes de Provence olive wood grinders and had the hardest time! I would love to travel to Moustiers and Luneville so covetous of yours!

  61. Nice shots and place,
    Greeting from Belgium.

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