These cities are the first places that pop in my mind to show off when I have friends visiting so if you ever find yourself coming to see me, there is more than a little chance that you would get to see some of these places as well.]
The first time I laid my eyes on Aix, it was love at first sight. Sure it’s beautiful, but lots of other cities are beautiful (especially in Provence), and clean, and has lots of gorgeous shops and charming sidewalk cafes, but there is something else, something that I cannot put my finger on, a certain, je ne sais quoi, if you will. Whatever it is, I love it. It is a city I will return to again and again and whether I’m strolling the elegant Cours Mirabeau, winding through the back streets counting all of the fountains I come across, or sipping Rosé in a shaded spot, there is a 100% chance I’m enjoying myself purely because I’m in Aix.
There is a certain sultriness to Arles, something about it that feels slightly more Spanish, than French. Maybe it’s the heat, or maybe it’s the bullfights, either way, Arles makes me feel like grabbing castenets and stomping my feet. I’d stomp my way all across the city along Van Gogh’s path until I stomped myself right out.
The only city in France that I’ve been to as much as Aix, is Avignon. Whereas Aix holds my heart, Avignon holds my soul, it grabbed me the first time I drove through the gate of the storied wall and sucked me in. The city palpitates with it’s history beating with every step I take. Next weekend I’m going to a 3D light show inside Le Palais des Papes that tells the history of the city and I’m practically piddling in anticipation.
Ahhhh…. Cassis, my future Euromillions home. The sun, the sea, the views, the wine, the seafood… it’s pure summer relaxation. In fact, I cannot let a summer (or late spring or early fall) pass without at least one trip to it’s alluring shores. And bonus, one of my absolute favorite restaurants is there.
As a wine lover like me, moving to France was like hitting pay dirt, and living only an hour and a half away from Châteauneuf-du-Pape was like flat out striking gold. I get to walk around this gorgeous place, stopping for a ‘rest’ in a quaint shop and given bits of delicious saucisson sec to nibble on and wine to try for FREE?! If I was ever going to be a hobo, I would be a Châteauneuf-du-Pape hobo.
While being completely authentic, there is something faux about Les Baux. It’s so pristine, so perfect, that it’s almost too perfect. It’s as if it’s; Provence, brought to you by the Walt Disney Corporaton. That said, I still love it. It’s impossible not to. With the exception of the brightly colored shop fronts, it is a village frozen in time, and walking along it’s rocky, windy paths, it is easy to feel as if you’ve stepped back nine hundred years or so minus the plagues and the ickiness of course.
Lyon to me, is all about food. Of course there is massive amounts of history to learn about while visiting as well (this is France of course, you can’t escape the history, we’re practically drowning in the stuff), but for me, it’s purely about the food. When I go there I basically just stuff my face and drink wine so that probably explains why I love it so much.
There is something cool about Saint-Rémy, something posh, but not in an intimidating way, in a subtle serene kind of way. If Saint-Rémy had a soundtrack, it would be jazz and I like jazz.
There are a couple things to note about this one; 1) Monaco isn’t a city, it’s a country, so I should be saying Monte Carlo but I have a habit of always saying Monaco even if I mean Monte Carlo and old habits are hard to break so Monaco/ Monte Carlo, n’importe quoi, and 2) Monaco isn’t in France, since it’s it’s own Principality but as it’s so darn close, and everyone there speaks French, I include. Got it? Good. All I have to say about Monaco is this because it’s the one reason I go back time and again; sitting outside the casino in Monte Carlo, people watching over a glass of Rosé is my happy place. And that’s that.
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