The South of France
Last week I wiggled my way down from Holland and my sister traversed half the world from Hawaii, and we had a reunion of epic proportions in the form of a sister trip through the South of France. There was ample eating of brie and baguettes, drinking of cheap French wine, soaking up of the sun, and smelling (and eating!) of all the lavender, which just so happened to be our spotlight ingredient. Here are some things we did and loved and ate.
Cavaillon & Gordes
Cavaillon is a quiet town on the edge of the Luberon region, home to some of the coziest towns in the south of France, to include the town of Gordes. It also happens to be home to the famous lavender fields of Provence!
Bike into Gordes: It’s hard to find an affordable place to stay in Gordes, and with only a few busses running from Cavaillon to Gordes each day (with a previous reservation required, ugh) we found that one of the best ways of getting there is by bike, electric bike that is. It’s about 18 kilometers of easy riding through orchards + 2 km of winding uphill that would, without an electric bike, be hell.
Soak up the lavender at Sénanque Abbey: Nestled in a valley north of Gordes is a small monastery surrounded by lavender fields.
Explore Gordes by foot: I could have spend days slowly exploring this sepia-toned sister of the Cinque Terre! There are innumerable dive-y restaurants and artisanal shops and it’s just adorable.
The beach town of Cannes feels very lifestyles-of-the-rich-and-famous-y. From the billboards of Hollywood stars plastered everywhere, to the trillions of dollars of yachts parked cleanly in the harbor. We didn’t do much here except nap under beach umbrellas, stroll the Rue Meynadier, and order appetizers and dessert at Le Cirque.
Nice & Monaco
Ice cream at Fenocchio: They have flavors like tomato basil, cactus, and olive. When I asked what flavor would go well with lavender, the ice cream scooper shrugged and said, “rose, jasmine…I’ll make you a whole bouquet!” You’re going to want to go here often just to try them all.
Climb Castle Hill: The climb isn’t all that awful and the view is gorgeous!
Get lost in the Old Town: With picturesque winding alleys and colorful old French buildings, don’t even try to not get lost. If you’re lucky, you may even run into Fenocchio twice!
Take a day trip to Monaco: With trains running often and at about 25 minutes away, Monaco is an easy day trip from Nice. If Cannes was for the rich and famous, then Monaco is for the ridiculously rich and famous. We managed to walk about half of the quiet country (city state? I don’t knoooow) in a day, from the ritzy casino to the Prince’s Palace.