Fontvieille in Provence

Our friends had already booked the hotel, so we followed suit and arrived early to take a look around the lovely setting at Hotel Val Majour in Fontvieille.  I hadn’t heard of this small town in Provence, but it certainly seemed centrally located to all the major sites – one of our friends was born in Cadenet, knew the area well, and so, did the booking.  The three-star hotel and pool settings were tranquil and beautiful, the staff was very friendly, the breakfast buffet top notch, and the bar service excellent.

Val Majour Hotel

 

Hotel map

signFor dinner, the receptionist recommended a couple restaurants (with one in particular) situated in the town’s main square, about a 10 minute walk from the hotel.  So, off we went and found the #1 recommendation, “La Cuisine au Planet,” with its inviting terrace.  We luckily got the last tables for our group, as they started telling arriving customers to come back around 9:30p.m.

IMG_0045

And boy, did we get lucky!!  The meal was fantastic, service was impeccable and friendly, and the prices were reasonable – we ate, drank, chatted and laughed throughout the evening – happy to have to walk back to the hotel, since we were so full from the three-course menu – what a lovely, delicious evening!

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

Les Baux de Provence: Jaguars, Picnic, & Mines – Oh My!

During my recent short trip with friends to the Luberon, it was planned that we stay in Fontvieille and stop nearby to have a picnic before going to the “Carrières de Lumières” multi-media show in Les Baux, featuring works by Klimt.

IMG_0031KlimtPhoto: Official brochure

It sounded good to me, especially since they were bringing the food (read: I didn’t have to cook).   My 14-old car was left at the hotel, bien sûr, as we all rode in style in my friends’ cars to a small, open area of a nearby forest.

Jaguars

As we approached the area, we noticed and pulled off the road and parked just before an ominous sign:

“Accès Interdit Tir des Mines – Danger” (Do not enter – land mines)

 

Tir de Mines

 

As we carefully set up our ‘table’ and the put out the delicious spread, I thought that this picnic would be a blast (figuratively speaking only).  We ate, laughed, fought off a few ants that liked the food as well, and enjoyed comraderie in a setting of nature and calm (thankfully).  Merci to our friends for a great day’s outing!

IMG_0029

Les Baux de Provence:

 

 

 

 

Vaux-le-Vicomte (Part 2 of 3): Journée Grand Siecle

With train and hotel reservations already confirmed, I had been watching the forecast for weeks before this picnic-in-the-garden, en costume of the 17th/18th centuries event, as it is held outdoors and can be cancelled up to the day before – the event had reportedly been postponed twice the year before due to inclement weather.  The forecast for THE day called for rain, then cloudy, then sun, then light rain, then cloudy, and so on.  Quelle chance!  It turned out to be a warm, mostly sunny day, and I even avoided getting sunburned by having a parasol (vs. an umbrella) in hand.

A lot of visitors and families with children rented costumes from the on-site vendor, Autour d’un Soir, located in Cannes and from whom we had previously reserved ours.  There were attendees who had uniquely hand-made their costume – an amazing site to take in all the colors, luscious fabrics, and designs.  We enjoyed riding in une caleche (horsedrawn carriage), watching a baroque dance presentation, and our eating our petit pique-nique in the garden. Photos were being taken in paparazzi fashion, as costumed participants strolled through the château gardens – a luxurious day to be swept back in time – through the surroundings, the baroque ambiance, and royal pomp & circumstance! (video below)

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Vaux-le-Vicomte (Part 1 of 3): Le Chateau & Visite aux Chandelles

It was an overcast day, with threats of rain in the dark clouds, during our first afternoon at Vaux-le-Vicomte.  My spirits were not dampened, however, as I visited the carriage annexe, followed by visiting the chateau, while eagerly awaiting le crépuscule (dusk) for the evening’s main event:  “visite aux chandelles” & “feu d’artifice” (fireworks). This once-a-month event is beautifully highlighted by 2,000 candles being placed and lit throughout the gardens and in the chateau’s interior.  Quelle ambiance majestueuse – fit for a King (& Queen)!

 

chateau

 

gate & chateau

statue

steps candle] chateau candle

 

candles gardens

candles chateau

 

Chateau photos:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Carriages:

 

 

 

Nice to Paris & Le Train Bleu

Nice’s train statio’s renovation has begun, having eliminated the traffic and parking congestion, and now has a large open space in place, giving it a cleaner/sleeker look.  Bravo to Mayor Estrosi!

Proposed Project:

Arriving at the Gare de Lyon in Paris in time for a late lunch, I noticed the train announcement board is now modernized/digital – a sign of the times, I suppose (pardon the pun!) I missed hearing the sound of the flip-style announcement board, so, I decided to “go back in time” and eat at the famous brasserie, Le Train Bleu, with its ornate decoration, luxurious ambiance, and fine dining.

view onto stationView from restaurant onto the train station

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 Une coupe de champagne to celebrate our arrival, not to mention being à propos to our surroundings, was de rigeur!  As expected, the service was excellent and elegant, as well as a vestiare for luggage.  There was a three-course menu (entrée, plat, dessert) that included wine, so I decided to splurge.  I also noted that they offer a vegetarian choice: une assiette de legumes, priced at 18 Euros on the à la carte menu.

menu (wine included)

 

I ordered the “Royale de fois gras,” followed by the “Paleron de boeuf” and dessert as “La suggestion du pâtissier” with a glass of crisp, white wine.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I couldn’t manage to finish my dessert, even with knowing I would work it off by lugging luggage up and down steps in the Metro.

Some photo op pics:

resto sign restaurant sign

Notre Dame

A “killer” tote bag

During my recent trip to the Washington DC area, I was browsing in a hair salon waiting area. A shelf full of colorful, alligator-type textured hand clutches caught my eye.

IMG_0009

In looking closer, I was shocked at the tag displayed with the bags and really couldn’t believe my eyes!

IMG_0008

Why in the world would something like this be on the market & who, in their right mind, would buy one?   Anyone have any thoughts?

Wintery Weather

Cold, ice, & snow – oh my!

Sure, it gets cold in winter months on the French Riviera, but ice and snowy conditions are very rare.  During my recent visit to the Washington D.C. area, there was a winter storm affecting the East coast, and sure enough, I experienced an ice storm, followed by snow accumulations of about 10-12 inches.  Nice to look at, but definitely not the nice/NICE weather I’m used to. Beautiful to look at, but happy to be back home to warmer temps!

(6 photos)

This slideshow requires JavaScript.