Antibes

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 highlight of our trip was walking each morning along the water circling the entire peninsula from Juan Les Pin to Old Town.  It was a great way to burn calories, see the chateaus (or compounds!), and have lovely views of the sea.  Many people choose Cannes or Nice over Antibes, but I would suggest spending a day or two in the beautiful town! We were even there during the Jazz Festival and the Cannes Film festival! Enjoy our travels in Antibes!

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Saint-Tropez

Welcome to Saint-Tropez !! What once used to be a small fishing town is now a port filled with million dollar yachts bursting with glitz, glamour, charm and a whole lot of fun! Old town is home to quaint cobble stone streets, cafés, shops and boulangeries.  During the summer months the pastel colored buildings are accented by the flourish bougainvillea plants which makes for some great photo ops! During our stay in Saint-Tropez we got to enjoy both the town as well as the famous Plage de Pampelonne. Unfortunately we didn’t check everything off our list, which is now more reason for us to plan another trip back.  You won’t have to convince us. We hope you enjoy Saint-Tropez through this post!  

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French Countryside – Luberon

Traveling through the countryside in Provence has been in our travel vault for a couple years now and we finally were able to do it.  Timing of the trip was important as we wanted to visit the lavender fields that are in bloom for only a short period of time.   Besides the lavender fields we visited beautiful wineries, walked around villages and drove on tree-lined roads.  Aix-en-Provence was the perfect base to be able to visit some of the smaller towns in Luberon region.  If we had more time, we would have venture North to Avignon and visit some surrounding villages around the Rhone River including some tastings in the region of Chateauneuf du Pape. Next time. For now, here are some highlights from our day trip!

Private Driver (Transportation)

Since we both don’t drive stick, we typically hire drivers while traveling in foreign countries. Yes, it can be expensive, but we value paying the money so we don’t have to worry about directions, car problems, getting lost and most importantly we just want to sit back and enjoy the ride! Our hotel (Hotel Cezanne) recommended Mathieu Fasius ( tel: +330649848324, email: mathieutaxiaixois@gmail.com).  He was a fantastic local driver with a nice Mercedes sedan.  Mathieu helped come up with the perfect Itinerary for us and we much enjoyed our time with him.  We also had Mathieu drive us the following day to Saint-Tropez which was our next destination.  We stopped at a couple wineries while enroute to the beautiful seaside town.  Highly recommend Mathieu!

Chateau La Verrerie

Chateau La Verrerie was the first winery we tasted at and it didn’t disappoint. Driving up to the estate, you felt like you were in a movie.  The courtyard screamed “French Countryside” and made for a lovely welcoming into the tasting room.  The staff onsite was very friendly and we got a tour of the barrel room prior to tasting.  We explored a variety of rosés, whites and a couple reds.  Our favorites were no surprise – the rosé.   We purchased two kinds of rosé and the viognier. Typically viognier isn’t our go to order, but at Cheateau La Verrerie they do it right! Excellent winery and even better prices! Next time we are going to have to bring friends so we can purchase the magnum!  

Aureto Vignobles

Aureto was the second winery we visited that day. It was a larger operation, but that didn’t discredit the wines produced.  We bellied up to the bar and enjoyed the flight tasting with a very friendly lady who walked us through the varietals.  Very nice whites and reds!  Unfortunately due to Covid, they weren’t serving small bites with the tastings, but we managed to drink our calories to hold us over for a late lunch in Lourmarin. 

Lavender Fields in Bonnieux

A lovely drive through Bonnieux takes you to the gorgeous lavender fields.  The lavender is in bloom from mid-June to mid-July, though it can vary slightly from year to year depending on rainfall and temperature. We timed our trip perfectly as the lavender was going to be harvest the following week. Frocking through the lavender fields was one highlight from the trip.  It was breathtaking seeing the rows of lavender with the beautiful French countryside villages in the distance.  The smell of the plants were illuminating which distracted us from the bees that were flying all around.  Not too worry – nobody got stung! Instagram photos don’t disclose that part of the experience! We warned you! If you ever get a chance to frolic through lavender fields – do it. Worth the drive!

Lourmarin

Our final stop of the day was in Lourmarin for lunch and shopping.  Lourmarin is a commune in the Vaucluse department in the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region.  There are a lot of café terraces, restaurants and Provencal shops in this small quant village.  We did some shopping prior to sitting down to lunch.  Purchases included linens from  AU FIL DU LIN – La Boutique, some jewelry at Gris Piedra and a market bag at a small shop (name unknown).  We decided to eat at Café Gaby as there was a perfect table for two outside on the terrace and their niçoise salad looked tasty!  Make sure you reserve a couple hours to enjoy lunch and walk around Lourmarin – it shouldn’t be missed!

Wineries Enroute to Saint-Tropez 

As part of our transfer, we decided to stop at two wineries along our way to Saint-Tropez.  Mathieu was our driver again for the day and it was a most enjoyable experience!  Both wineries we went to were a little more touristy, but still enjoyable. We liked Domaine Peyrassol better than Saint Roseline.  Saint Roseline was gorgeous, but the wines were just okay in our option.  At Domaine Peyrassol, we enjoyed the tasting so much we didn’t get a chance to walk around the property to see the artwork.  The grounds driving up to the Domaine were an experience in itself though!

Santé !

Aix-en-Provence

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!   

Place Richelme:

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!  

Weibel Pâtisserie:

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 !

Soho Farmhouse, Oxfordshire, England

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!

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Tokyo, Japan

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!

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Kobe, Japan

Where’s the beef???  Duh –  it’s in KOBE, Japan! There were three reasons we were in Kobe: (1) work (2) the beef (3) karaoke.  And not particularly in that order!  Kobe is the sixth largest city in Japan and sits on the Osaka Bay.  Known for it’s signature marbled beef and scenic setting of mountains framing the harbor, Kobe is a fun adventurous port town with a mix of modern and tradition.  In this post you will find out how we spent the most of the work trip touring this lively city!  Well one of us worked and the other had too much fun eating gyoza in Izakayas!

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Kyoto, Japan

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!

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6 Day Puglia Itinerary

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!

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Lecce, Italy

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”