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- Get Lost in Lacoste, France
Want to escape the crowds and get lost in one the best kept small villages in the South of France? Lacoste is a small hilltop village located in the Luberon region of Provence, France. There's a good chance you can have the wonderfully preserved village all to yourself, only because it's off the beaten path and relatively unknown compared to it's more popular sibling city Gordes. We found Lacoste as a great stop in the Luberon Villages for a hilltop hike with majestic views and endless cobblestone. Here are some of the things that make Lacoste a great destination and why you need to visit the Luberon village region! Château de Lacoste: The Château de Lacoste is a historic castle that dates back to the 11th century. It was once home to the infamous Marquis de Sade, and today, it's a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can explore the castle ruins and enjoy the stunning views of the surrounding countryside. Beautiful Scenery: Lacoste is situated in a picturesque setting, surrounded by vineyards, olive groves, and cherry orchards. The village offers stunning views of the Luberon Valley and the nearby villages. Artists' Village: Lacoste has a rich artistic history and has been a haven for artists and creatives for many years. The village is home to several art galleries and studios, and there are frequent exhibitions and events showcasing local artists. Local Cuisine: Lacoste is known for its delicious cuisine, which features local ingredients and traditional dishes. There are several restaurants in the village that offer excellent meals, such as truffle dishes, goat cheese, and Provencal cuisine. Come hungry as there is surprisingly enough open throughout the day. Festivals and Events: Lacoste hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Lacoste Festival in July, which features music, dance, and theater performances. The village also hosts a Christmas market in December, where visitors can enjoy the festive atmosphere and buy local crafts and products. Lacoste is a charming and picturesque village that offers stunning scenery, rich history, and a vibrant artistic community. While it's not as popular as Gordes, you won't find nearly as many people exploring the town, and that's sometimes the best part of the adventure. It's a great destination for anyone who wants to experience the beauty and culture of Provence without any crowds, so go get lost in Lacoste!
- Gorgeous Gordes, France
Gordes is a beautiful hilltop village located in the Luberon region of Provence, France. We loved Gordes enough to make another trip back when our family came to visit. It's truly once of the most charming and picturesque villages in all of France, and is consistently voted the most beautiful village in France. If you find yourself yearning for the South of France life, Gordes is the epitome of what France has to offer. Stop for a day trip or stay for a weekend to soak up the sunshine and Provence charm. Here are some of our favorite things to do and see in Gordes: Visit the Castle: The Château de Gordes is a historic castle located in the center of the village. It was built in the 11th century and served as a residence for the local aristocracy. Today, it houses the Pol Mara Museum, which showcases the works of the Belgian painter Pol Mara. Explore the Village: Gordes is a charming village with narrow streets, stone houses, and beautiful views of the surrounding countryside. Take a stroll through the village and admire the architecture and the views. You can do this on repeat for 3 days and it won't get old! Visit the Abbey of Sénanque: The Abbey of Sénanque is a Cistercian monastery located just outside of Gordes. It was founded in the 12th century and is still home to a community of monks. The abbey is known for its beautiful architecture and its lavender fields, which bloom in the summer. If you can time your trip in late June or August, you'll be rewarded with one of the most iconic pictures in Provence. Visit the Village des Bories: The Village des Bories is a historic site located just outside of Gordes. It consists of a collection of stone huts, called bories, that were used by shepherds and farmers in the past. The site provides a glimpse into the traditional way of life in the Luberon region. Enjoy the Local Cuisine: There are several restaurants in the village that offer delicious local, seasonal cuisine. Enjoy le petit dejeuner at Boulangerie Mamie Jane, check out L'Outsider, a small, family owned restaurant for an intimate lunch and end the day at La Trinquette for an elegant dinner with breathtaking sunset views. Tip: Sign up for "The Fork" to make reservations and find dining discounts! You will find many restaurants across Europe on here. Earn 2000 Yums (points) for your first reservation on TheFork, and you’ll get a £50 discount on your next meal for signing up! Attend a Festival or Event: Gordes hosts several festivals and events throughout the year, such as the Festival of Chamber Music and the Lavender Festival in August. These events provide a great opportunity to experience the local culture and traditions. We happened to be there for a concert where they made local bites and served pastis, not as many people spoke much English but that was part of the fun so brush up on your French P's and Q's! Gordes is a beautiful village with a rich history, stunning architecture, and breathtaking views of the surrounding countryside. It's a great destination for anyone who wants to experience the beauty and culture of Provence. We loved Grordes in the Spring through early Summer where this tiny village becomes alive with festivals and local visitors from the Provence region.
- Aix-en-Provence, the Heart of Provence
This city holds a special place in our hearts because it was our first month-long stay in France. While it was difficult to commit to an entire month stay, after careful consideration and research, I can say it was one of our best decisions. Here are a few reasons you should plan a trip to Aix! Rich cultural heritage: Aix-en-Provence is a city with a rich cultural history and is home to many beautiful landmarks, museums, and galleries. The city is famous for its stunning architecture, including the Cours Mirabeau, a tree-lined boulevard that dates back to the 17th century. Beautiful natural surroundings: Aix-en-Provence is located in the heart of Provence, surrounded by stunning natural landscapes such as the Luberon Regional Nature Park and the Verdon Gorge. Visitors can explore these areas by hiking, cycling, or taking scenic drives through the countryside. Delicious cuisine: Aix-en-Provence is known for its delicious food and wine, with many restaurants and cafes serving local specialties such as bouillabaisse, ratatouille, and rosé wine. Visitors can also enjoy shopping for local products at the city's many markets. Art and culture: Aix-en-Provence has a thriving arts scene, with many museums and galleries showcasing works by local and international artists. The city is also famous for its music and theater festivals, including the Festival d'Aix-en-Provence and the Festival International de Piano de La Roque d'Anthéron. (Beginning July 2023). Mediterranean climate: Aix-en-Provence enjoys a warm Mediterranean climate, with mild winters and hot summers. The city is bathed in sunshine for much of the year, making it an ideal destination for those looking to escape colder climates. While Aix is on the more expensive side for a major university city, it's by far one of the more upscale and well rounded cities in the South of France. Overall, Aix-en-Provence is a beautiful and culturally rich destination that offers something for everyone. Whether you're interested in history and culture, exploring the great outdoors, or simply enjoying delicious food and wine, Aix-en-Provence is a must-visit destination in France, you cannot beat the location and access to the best villages in the South of France! Keep reading for a 3-day itinerary of Aix-en-Provence! If you have three days to explore Aix-en-Provence, here is what we'd recommend that would allow you to see the city's highlights and even a fun day trip to the iconic Calanques: Day 1: Morning: Start your day by exploring the city's historic center, including the beautiful Cours Mirabeau, a tree-lined boulevard that dates back to the 17th century. Explore the fresh, seasonal produce and local items at the Provencal Market. (Check the calendar here to see the schedule of the market you're looking for). Stop at Bechard along the way to enjoy their incredible pastries. Afternoon: Visit the Granet Museum, which houses an impressive collection of European art, including works by Cézanne, Van Gogh, and Picasso. Afterward, explore the beautiful gardens at the Jas de Bouffan, which inspired many of Cézanne's paintings. Evening: Enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants in the city center. A few of our favorites are: MITCH- contemporary French dishes in a rustic-chic space L'Incontournable- Snag a spot around the beautiful fountain outside and enjoy the excellent French/Mediterranean cuisine L'Opéra- Beautifully presented French dishes served by friendly and welcoming staff Tip: Sign up for "The Fork" to make reservations and find dining discounts! You will find many restaurants across Europe on here. Earn 2000 Yums (points) for your first reservation on TheFork, and you’ll get a £50 discount on your next meal for signing up! Day 2: Morning/Afternoon: Take a day trip to the stunning Calanques, a series of rocky inlets and cliffs along the Mediterranean coast. Spend the day hiking or enjoy a boat tour around this beautiful natural wonder. Evening: Enjoy dinner at one of the many restaurants in the Mazarin district, a beautiful area of the city known for its elegant architecture Day 3: Morning: Take a trip to the nearby Luberon Regional Nature Park, where you can explore beautiful hilltop villages, such as Gordes and Roussillon. You can also hike or bike through the park's stunning landscapes. Afternoon: Visit the Pavillon de Vendôme, a beautiful 17th-century mansion that houses a museum dedicated to the history of Aix-en-Provence. After, grab a baguette and bottle of rosé at a local boulangerie and picnic at Parc Jourdan (dog+kid friendly). Evening: Enjoy a final dinner at one of the city's many restaurants, or head to a wine bar to sample some more of the region's delicious rosé wines. This itinerary will allow you to see many of the highlights of Aix-en-Provence and the surrounding region, while also giving you plenty of time to relax and enjoy the beautiful scenery and delicious food and wine. We'll dive into more of the nearby villages that are a must visit in there own right, make sure to check out our guides of the Luberon Villages! What else would you add for a long weekend in Aix??
- Lyon vs Paris: Which is Better?
You’ve probably noticed Lyon getting a lot of hype, after all it’s just a quick train from Paris and packs a Parisian punch minus the droves of tourists. So the question remains, is this lesser known city actually better than the City of Lights? First, let's see how the two cities stack up against each other. Here are some ways in which the two cities compare: Size - Paris is a much larger city than Lyon, with a population of around 2.2 million compared to Lyon's 500,000. As a result, Paris offers more diverse and numerous attractions, museums, and restaurants. Landmarks - Paris is home to some of the most iconic landmarks in the world, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum, and Notre-Dame Cathedral. While Lyon also has many historic and cultural landmarks, it doesn't quite measure up to the iconic status of Paris. Food - While Paris has a fantastic food scene, with plenty of Michelin-starred restaurants and a diverse range of international cuisine, Lyon is considered by many to be the gastronomic capital of France. Lyon is famous for its traditional Lyonnais cuisine, including dishes such as coq au vin, quenelles, and saucisson. Architecture - Both cities have a rich history and offer many examples of stunning architecture. Paris is known for its grand Haussmannian buildings, Gothic cathedrals, and Belle Époque landmarks, while Lyon boasts a mix of medieval, Renaissance, and modern architecture. Culture - Paris is a hub for art, fashion, and design, with a wide range of museums and galleries showcasing works by some of the world's most famous artists. Lyon, on the other hand, has a rich cultural heritage, with many historic museums and landmarks, as well as a lively theater and music scene. Paris is of course a must visit, but Lyon should be at the top of your list when in France, here is why: Food - Lyon is considered by many to be the gastronomic capital of France. The city is known for its bouchons, traditional Lyonnais restaurants that serve hearty, rustic dishes. Lyon is also home to many Michelin-starred restaurants, making it a food lover's paradise. You can find anything in Lyon! Size - While Paris is a large and bustling city, some people might prefer the smaller and more manageable size of Lyon. Lyon still offers many of the attractions and amenities of a big city, but with a more relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. Way less lines and traffic around town! Architecture - Lyon has a rich history and is home to many beautiful examples of architecture from different time periods. The Old Town of Lyon, for example, has many well-preserved Renaissance-era buildings, while the city's modern Confluence district is known for its cutting-edge architecture. One of my favorite workouts was running the stairs at the ancient Roman ruin amphitheater! Location - Lyon is situated in the heart of the Rhone-Alpes region, which offers many opportunities for outdoor activities such as hiking, skiing, and wine tasting. Additionally, Lyon is located just a few hours from other popular destinations in France, such as the French Alps and the Provence region. You are literally in the middle of everything, this is a great hub location! Culture - Lyon has a vibrant cultural scene, with many museums, galleries, and theaters. The city is also home to several annual festivals, including the Fête des Lumières, which celebrates the city's history and culture with light displays and fireworks. While Paris is an amazing city, for a longer stay we actually preferred the more relaxed and less touristy atmosphere of Lyon, as well as its unique cultural and culinary offerings. Lyon is really a more authentic taste of France without the crowds, make sure to add a few nights here!