Sitting between Cannes and Nice, Antibes is a charming resort town known for the old town enclosed by 16th century ramparts with the star-shaped Fort Carré. It’s a great place to explore, sightsee and relax. A… More
Aix-en-Provence is a town in Southern France in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region. You might know the name by the rosé wine (AIX) or the birthplace of impressionist painter Paul Cézanne. Either one, the “City of a Thousand Fountains” was a lovely town and would highly recommend visiting. We enjoyed strolling the stone streets of Old Town Aix where there are lots of quaint corners, restaurants, boulangeries and squares. During our two night stay we got a taste of Provencal life including a day trip wine tasting which we will talk about in the next post.
Boutique Hotel Cezanne:
Boutique Hotel Cezanne is located 5 minutes from Cours Mirabeau, the wide thoroughfare in town. Immediately walking through the front doors, I knew we picked the right place! The interior décor was chic, modern and clean. There was an outdoor terrace that had a bar which was lovely to sit in after a long day of walking around town. Though the bar wasn’t open (due to Covid), we were able to order wine from the front desk. The rooms were nice, but if you have a lot of luggage make sure you upgrade your room to a larger room. Typical European size rooms – small! Luckily we upgraded, but probably could have gone a room grade up. If we return back to Aix-en-Provence we will be staying at Boutique Hotel Cezanne!
This small, tree-covered square in the pedestrian zone of Aix-en-Provence is the home to one of the best food markets we have been to. The first time we walked through Place Richelme was on Saturday late afternoon when we arrived so the market was cleaned-up. The ambiance was still lovely with the market being replaced by tables and chairs, so we enjoyed a Spritz at one of the cafes surrounding the square. The next morning (Sunday) we enjoyed the morning market. The assortment of fruits and vegetables were unreal along with the fresh breads, herbs, flowers and lavender. If only we were staying for a couple more days and had a château to cook-in, we would have bought everything! We settled for some apricots and peaches. A must visit!
Au Verre Levé:
We stopped by Au Verre Levé for a snack and glass of wine on the first evening. It’s on a quiet street where you can sit outside and sip on natural and regional wines. The menu changes daily and is posted on a chalkboard in French. You know you’ve come to a local place when they don’t have an English menu option! We decided on the burrata served over pureed tomatoes. Absolutely delicious including the bread! Both of us are gluten-free back in the States, but that went out the door when we travel to Europe. No wheat belly! When we were leaving, we learned they sold some local goods including some GF flour. Knowing that it would be better than US, we purchased two kinds; one to make pasta and the other cookies. Looking forward to cooking with our French GF flour!
Le Petite Verdot:
I had booked Le Petite Verdot restaurant for dinner based on the constantly positive reviews. It’s off the beaten path and majority of the people there were locals and/or from surrounding areas. We sat outside and enjoyed the cotton candy skies during the sunset. For dinner we started with an artichoke appetizer accompanied by a glass of local white wine. The dish was unique in that it was almost like a soup. Delicious! Next course – chicory salad to clean the palate and an order of red wine! For the final course – the seven hour slow cooked lamb shank which was soooo tender. Highly recommend!
Croissant tasting in France is so fun! We started our adventure at Weibel. Weibel is located right next to Place Richelme. After the food market we grabbed a cappuccino and orange juice at L’Unic Bar and walked around the corner to Weibel. The patisserie was beautiful and it was hard to only pick one breakfast treat. Final decision – classic croissant. It was so tasty that it brough us back the next day to try the chocolate croissant and the brioche suisses. Would 100% recommend.
Le Vieux Tonneau:
On our final evening we had left our dinner reservation plans open as we had been wine tasting and exploring the countryside all day. The Euro Final Match was also playing – England vs Italy. We decided to watch the game at Le Vieux Tonneau where they set a tv up outside. We ordered wine and a cheese board. It was the perfect French dinner as we weren’t too hungry! Watching the game in a small square (near a fountain!) was memorable. Most of the guests were locals and we got to meet a mother and daughter who were the most enjoyable people to talk with! Felt like our French family! Merci!!
Merci beaucop !
After years of swooning over the Soho Farmhouse via Instagram, I (Kay) finally made it there! I had a work trip in New York and since my friend/colleague and I were practically halfway to London, we decided to jump across the pond to have some fun after a big meeting. We split the trip up into two parts – Central London + Countryside. I am going to focus this post on the countryside since it was my first time to Oxfordshire…and definitely won’t be the last!
Tokyo. Full of life, sushi, peace signs and bright lights. That’s what everyone envisions the Japanese capital to be, but we saw some different areas of Tokyo that proved those stereotypes to be 80% true. Part of the reason we ventured off the beaten path and didn’t go to the shrines, was because we spent time in Kyoto and Kobe before Tokyo. We were shrined out! So, if you are looking to do the less-touristy route for Tokyo, follow our guide. Two days of fun!
Kon’nichiwa! Kyoto used to be the capital of Japan before Tokyo took over. It’s a charming city with history and culture that makes you feel like you are in traditional Japan. Kyoto’s famous for its many classical Buddhist temples, gardens, imperial palaces, Shinto shrines and traditional wooden houses. It’s also home to geisha, female entertainers often found in the Gion district. We made Kyoto our first stop on our 1 week trip in Japan. Find out more about how we spent our two days in Kyoto!
For a couple years now, Puglia was on the top of our travel list. It wasn’t until this year we had a chance to go to this lovely region in southeast Italy. After months of research we decided on an itinerary and still feel like we just skimmed the surface of the region. Read more to find out about our 6 days in Puglia!
Lecce, also know as The Florence of the South, is a beautiful quaint town filled with Baroque buildings, windy allies, piazzas, churches, shops and restaurants. We enjoyed strolling the streets and getting lost in this city. We only had a couple hours to explore, before we went to our cooking class, but we made the most of it! Seeing Lecce at night was even more spectacular…don’t stay indoors! Continue reading “Lecce, Italy”
Upon arrival in Otranto we were welcomed by the Italian version of the “Blue Angles” Fleet Week Airshow. It was so special since Fleet Week in San Francisco is one of my favorite weekends of the year. The town was filled with spectators that continued the celebration through the night in the Old Town with live music, dancing and food. What a fun way to spend the first night!
Otranto is technically in Salento (not Puglia). It’s the most Eastern city in Italy with a beautiful Old Town, harbor and coastline. We discovered some great shops in Old Town – purchased some linens, towels and shoes. It was hard not to buy more – but we didn’t have any way of bringing it home unless we shipped. Next time, bringing an empty suitcase! Italian linens are BEAUTIFUL!
Relais Valle Dell’Idro
We stayed at Relais Valle Dell’Idro. The hotel was considered four stars and I would not 100% agree with that. The rooms were a little dated and the outside amenties were as depicted in the photographs. The hotel was clean and the breakfast was delicious. Being about a 5 minute walk from Old Town, we would have rather stayed closer to the beach. Our first choice of accommodations was B&B Lungomare, but that was already booked. Highly suggest staying here and if we end up back in Otranto we will book earlier! (Though, we also suggest staying at Masseria Muntibianchi…see below for more details)
We arrived in Oranto on a Sunday which also happened to their “Fleet Week”, so a lot of the restaurants were closed early. Luckily the restaurant we wanted to try, Blaconcino d’oriente was open! It’s a quaint restaurant outside of Old Town that is part of a B&B. We started with burrata and selected two types of pasta – orecchiette and strozzapreti with tomato sauce. The strozzapreti melted in my mouth – it was soooo fresh. The orecchiette was devine – the sauce that covered the pasta was light yet held enough flavor to coat the mini-bowl style pasta. It was such a lovely restaurant and the staff was friendly. We ended our meal with gelato – one of the best gelato we had on our trip!
We discovered Masseria Muntibianchi through our captain/owner of Tortuga boat. He had suggested it to us while on our trip and made us reservations for dinner. After looking at photos online, we feel in love and wanted to change our hotel to stay there! Unfortunately they were fully booked, so we couldn’t change. Being about a 10 minute tuk tuk drive outside of town, Masseria Muntibianchi exceeded our expectations. The property was in the middle of olive trees and was the most dreaming location for a wedding. We were seated at a table on the patio underneath twinkle lights. The ambiance was low-key and relaxing. We could hear nature….the bugs making noise (it was a peaceful sound), the olive tree branches swaying in the light wind and of course wine bottles being popped! For dinner, we started with the fried squash blossoms and then each ordered a pasta dish. Seafood pasta and the tortellini. AMAZING! The tortellini was my favorite dish. The light sauce – chunks of yellow and red tomatoes in a white wine sauce complimented the oversized cheese filled tortellini. After eating and touring the property we truly wish we were staying here….next time! BOOK EARLY! As a souvenir I purchased some olive oil that is made on the property and used by the restaurant. Very good !
Bagno Marino Archi (Santa Cesarea)
An Italian Beach Club doesn’t get any better than this! We spent the day at Bagno Marino Archi in Santa Cesarea. To get there, we hired a driver Blue Line (+39 329 565 5235) to pick us up round trip. Cost was 30 Euro total…worth it! We reserved beach chairs and an umbrella a couple weeks before going – highly suggest especially if you go on the weekend. Onsite, the beach club had a restaurant (pizza was tasty!) and beverages for purchase. We had such a relaxing day jumping in and out of the water, capturing those “Italian moments” on camera. If you are looking for a traditional Italian beach club – go to Bagno Marino Archi!
Tortuga Excursions Boat Day
Boat Days are always my favorite part of the holiday. We took Tortuga Excursions out for 3 hours on our first full day in Otranto. Fabrizio was the best ! He packed us a lovely lunch and took us to his favorite spots on the coastline. We even swam in the most eastern point of Italy! For the food – we had some typical food of the region – bread with tomato and olive oil, eggplant stuffed with tuna and some mini zucchini frittata. Or course some vino too! One of the highlights of the trip was taking the GoPro (Fabrizio let us use the one he had on the boat) and took it in the caves with us. The water was unreal and the cliffside of these coves were picturesque. Highly suggest hiring Tortuga for the day – its well worth the money!
Agli Angeli Ribelli
Otranto, you were beautiful and if the Beckhams holiday there, T.W.O. can too !! Grazie Mille.
Who wants to
play see Monopoli ?? Of course you are going to want to see Monopoli and maybe in fact you will get the chance to play Monopoly in Monopoli! Unfortunately we didn’t since we were only there for one night. Upon arrival, we were dropped off right at the walls of Old Town and we were able to walk to our B&B. The town of Monopoli is a fishing town that dates back to 500 B.C. The town was explained to us as quaint..which it was, but I would have to say it felt bigger than Polignano a Mare. Still the narrow cute streets, shutters and flowers but more people filled the streets at night. Scroll down more to find out about our 36 hours in Monopoli.
The best part of Puglia is that the region is relatively small, so day trips are very easy! We hired a driver to pick us up from Polignano a Mare and take us inland to three cities. Find our more about our day trip below!