With so many of you traveling this time of year to beat the heat, humidity and lingering Covid anxieties, I thought I'd share a few photos of our family trip to the south of France. For those that love France and are planning trips for either later this year or next, you might find it somewhat comforting to know that the country seems to have the pandemic reasonably under control (though, like the US, the state of our public health continues to be of concern.) Masks were required almost everywhere indoors and a mandatory e-pass program just was introduced this week. And if you travel through Heathrow airport, you'll be met with the UK's even stricter Covid travel measures in place, which definitely makes for ton of paperwork before you go. So plan carefully... and after 9 days in the Côtes de Provence and Riviera, it's still great to be home.
The trip was a great mix of family time, introducing our two young boys to the southern French landscape, food and cultural highlights - most of which were the emphasis of this trip. We did also manage to squeeze in some wine & food oriented experiences at places like Domaine OTT's Clos Mireille - Marcel Ott's noteworthy property that he established in the 1930s, and whose vineyards virtually emerge from the blue mediterranean water directly into a picturesque landscape of cypress-lined historic vineyards - all of which under an hour from the quaint, but tourist-dominated, enclaves of the Saint-Tropez bay. Speaking of which, we were delighted with our stay in the lovely beachside town of Saint-Maxime, capped by great local faire, time with family friends in the neighboring Les Issambres and a day trip to the beautiful by-ferry-only island of Poquerolles near Hyères - which was our first family introduction to e-biking (which even with summer showers and the mistral winds, seemed to work perfectly with a glass of local Rosé). The coastal towns offer a ton for the outdoorsy, along with a true Club Med tan, but places like Marseille (France's oldest city and with incredible stories) really is a must-see outpost for any adventurous foodie.
The second portion of our journey made base in a VRBO flat just off the Promende des Anglais in Nice. Here the heavy tourist season didn't seem to be deterred by Covid and we balanced some beach time with trips to local villages like St. Paul de Vence, where you'll find the Fondation Meaght (a haven for those of you that love modern architecture and the works Alberto Giacometti and Joan Miró). Our good friend and namesake "Philippe" even managed to make the journey from the outskirts of Brittany, to join us for our best repast at Café les Oiseaux in Nice's old town. And if Monaco's glitz and dramatic landscape is luring, you might consider also a drive to the cliffside village of Èze - a brilliant medieval town just a tunnel ride away. Our Côte d'Azur tour was punctuated by our last day's visit to the very charming town of Menton - just steps from the Italian border, a perfect retirement fantasy.
Just tremendous. Now onto this weekend...