Welcome to a magical little island on the French Atlantic coast. My perfect place to just be! I have visited many times so why do I keep going back. From the colourful La Rochelle it is reached by a great arching bridge to tranquility, a stylish and perfect French experience along with the refreshing Atlantic sea breeze. Dotted about this little island are ten stunning villages all with something different to offer. If you want buzz then it’s St Martin or La Flotte, if you want beach then it’s Le Bois Plage or La Couarde or the smaller pretty … Read More
The approach to the town never fails to stir. As you descend into the gentle valley in which this ancient regional capital lies, you sense that something special awaits, the sentinel presence of Mont St Victoire, which looms up over one edge of the town, providing a clue.
I lived in Aix-en-Provence for a year; a dream come true for my family and I. It never disappointed! I’m passionate about France but Provence is where I know best and Aix encapsulates so much that I crave from the region in one truly magical town. Complete with a rich history and … Read More
It takes only forty minutes from Aix en Provence to transport yourself to the soft and sandy beach of Cassis near the enchanting little port. It’s a delight anytime of the year – winter with a warm blanket and a windbreaker and summer with well – not much apart from an ice-cream from Amorino. This little gem, 20km from Marseilles, has been an important fishing village for centuries sitting snugly between the rugged beauty of Cap Canaille toward La Ciotat and the dramatic calangues towards Marseille.
A perfect present to give friends or family – a day or longer … Read More
A recent trip to this dreamy part of France was wonderful. This irrepressibly charming land lies south of the Dordogne and, for me at least, it is more beautiful and gentler dotted by sunflowers, medieval castles, vineyards and orchards. I have spent many a summer here kitted out as a wench or a queen whilst attending a local medieval festival (Monflaquin) in baking 90 degree heat. This land has a beauty that calms the spirit and is stuffed full of markets, foie gras, rivers, pigeonniers, charming villages and great wine. A very good friend lives here and I’m so glass … Read More
It’s little streets sparkle and inspire. ‘One of the most beautiful villages in Provence’ is a mere 40 minutes drive from Aix en Provence. It lives up to it’s reputation. The minute I found out that Peter Mayle had chosen it as his place to re-settle after a number of years in America, I had to visit. I’m a fan to put it mildly! A year in Provence, Toujours Provence and Hotel Pastis are my favourite books in travel writing. He sums it up so simply and beautifully.
At the foot of the Luberon Massif surrounded by olive groves … Read More
It’s just too tempting….. I’ve tried to say no but life is short …… always! Everyone needs to be naughty from time to time and I figure that an hour or two wandering the alleyways and picking my top spots for a sweet and sugary fix is allowed on the naughty list . How can we know how good we are being if we are never naughty? So here are my top three patisserie choices for you to indulge a little in Aix en Provence.
A little while ago I enjoyed a glass or two of local wine with Sarah Pernot, a fellow Brit and founder of Discover Provence; a tour company offering authentic trips around the region. Sarah suggested I come on one of her newer trips, a Provencal cooking experience, to the home of Marie-Hélène tucked away in a pine forest just outside Aix en Provence.
A few days later I was picked up and driven to her home with two visiting Americans. It was an unusually cool, rainy day so we were all happy to be indoors away from the cold … Read More
Ten minutes drive from the centre of Aix and we are in the countryside. All around this town there are little villages where daily life seems a whole lot slower and simpler than its larger neighbour. The stunning ‘travel book’ villages are further away and if you need a slice of postcard Provence you need to travel 45 minutes towards the Luberon to the villages of Loumarin, Bonnieux and further afield to St Remy de Provence.
For a closer village fix head to Eguilles, Rognes or St Cannat or my absolute favourite, Puyricard. It’s home to the French artisan chocolate … Read More
Aix en Provence is in a fabulous location. It’s accessible to many places. Avignon, Paris, Nimes, Montpellier, St Tropez and Nice are so easy to get to and are all interesting in their own right. But sometimes its tempting to search further a field into Spain or Italy.
Barcelona is only four hours away by car and it’s a place I have certainly wanted to explore for a long time now. Oh so tempting to go as it’s so close……. and it doesn’t disappoint. What a city! Hot, cool, passionate, wild and edgy, it has a beat all of its … Read More