Tuesday, November 5, 2013

The South of France in Pictures

Our group of four spent five days in the French province of Provence in the south of France. We wandered towns settled thousands of years ago, drove along modern highways, got stuck in a rush hour traffic jam, and viewed stunning landscapes. Part of the area borders the sea, and we meandered two lane roads hugging the coastline, with the blue Mediterranean on one side, affluent French Riviera towns on the other side, and high cliffs rising straight above.

A few pictorial highlights of our travels:
The Roman Coliseum in Arles, used today for bullfights.
The Church of St. Trophime, Arles, built between the 12th and 15th centuries on the remains of an earlier holy structure. Churches took decades and sometimes centuries to build because of the difficulty of the work, the need to raise building funds, expansion, the development of new building methods, and the demands of an increasing population.

We visited Greek ruins, Medieval and Renaissance churches, centuries-old towns, and the haunts of painters who lived and worked in this landscape.
A sign on the path leading to the place Cezanne spent time outdoors painting Mont Sainte-Victoire.
Paul Cezanne was born and lived in Aix-en-Provence a good part of his life. Many of his paintings depict Mont Sainte-Victoire, seen above from the place Cezanne set up his easel and painted. The picture was taken at sunset.

We visited Santo Sospir, the villa of Francine Weisswiller (she died in 2003), a close friend and patron of Jean Cocteau - painter, writer, film maker. Eric, the home's current resident, caretaker and tour guide, showed us Cocteau's artwork on the sidewalk entrance to the house, above, on the side of the house, below, and throughout the house.
Santo Sospir's walls are decorated with Cocteau's artwork.
The mural above, in the dining room, depicts the Biblical story of Judith.
Nice from my hotel room.
The gardens of the Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat, outside Nice.
Construction of the villa began in 1906 and was completed in 1912.
The villa's mistress, Beatrice Ephrussi de Rothschild, decorated with authentic 16th and 17th century furniture and artwork collected throughout her life. The villa was one of Beatrice's three major residences.
Outdoor markets are a part of a town's daily life.
This picture was taken at the flower and food market in Nice.
We drove to Monaco, next door to Nice. This is part of the royal palace complex.
It is difficult to see, but in the white house on the right a policeman stands guard.
Monaco from the mountains.
I want to thank Frank, our guide in Provence. An ex-professional ballet dancer, he currently owns, with a partner, a tour guide business based in Monaco. He was knowledgeable and extremely patient with four women who sometimes had different ideas about sightseeing than he did!
Frank, I am sorry you were (almost) late a couple of evenings picking up your daughter at day care.
And thank your wife for her help with our airport predicament.
If anyone is traveling to France and wants a great guide, let me know and I will forward his contact information.


  1. I will keep this offer of a guide in mind. I would love to see the Roman ruins in Provence, and the walled town of Carcassonne. However, having traveled to France several times, and never having been to Italy, I am leaning toward the latter, although I can't go before 2015. Time in its flight.

    I have enjoyed your travels, thank you for sharing them. Dianne

  2. That area looks delightful. Someday...

  3. The history there is just so deep. Buildings still standing from the 12th century is incredible. Your guide was a cutie and you gave him a very nice plug.

  4. Ah, it looks wonderful, and inviting. Now I have a little smile on my face, as if I'd just opened a window and breathed in the morning air in Nice. Merci.