Ladyhattan has never attempted to hide a passionate love affair with France. Even my husband knows about it. Having spent two summers of my younger years living in Paris (one summer studying french and another working at an investment bank), I always knew that I would keep coming back for more, and more. Talking in french with a New York accent, I take deep pride in the fact that I can get by perfectly fine throughout the country and even manage to humor the locals with some American charm. I also find joy in the fact that France is probably the only place in the world where it is socially acceptable to survive on a simple diet of wine, cheese and cigarettes. C’est la vie.
Last week, I snapped some magnificent photographs at stops along the French Riviera up to the mountains of Provence, visiting over 20 small villages by car, bike and foot. Today on Ladyhattan, I have compiled my favorite 10 photographs from the trip; these photographs capture the essence of travel in France, hopefully inspiring your future travel plans and dreams!
1. Brut Champagne
The Champagne just tastes… better. And it looks glorious too. What better way to kick off your first day of travel with a cold glass of bubbly in the land where it is made?
2. Picturesque Countryside
Even the presence of a storm makes for a beautiful and scenic pool day in the countryside of Provence. The contrast of blues and greens are vibrant at all hours of the day, no wonder Picasso and Van Gogh became artistic geniuses here. Everywhere you look, a masterpiece can be discovered in the backdrop of the land.
3. The Best Place to Get lost
Getting lost while cruising along the French Riveria will always lead you to new seaside villages worth exploring. Go ahead and take a wrong left turn, who cares, you will probably end up in some spectacular place with a buzzing cafe or breathtaking scenery.
4. The traditional French market “le marché”
There is no better (or fresher) place to shop for jams, gifts, wines, fruits and everything else you could possibly imagine! These pop-up markets are hosted in specified villages at specified times.
5. No cars needed
Who needs to drive to and through the vineyard for a taste of wine when you can bike? Experience firsthand the traitorous hills and turns biked the elite athletes in the Tour de France! It’s quite a challenging route, but makes the wine even more deserving at the end of your bike ride. Alternatively, if you would like to truly indulge and skip strenuous activity, hop on a luxury river cruise down the Rhone where you can experience the best of France without the stress of cars or driving. Read more on that here.
6. Boutique Shopping
Clever Boutique owners find creative ways to allure you into finding their secret shops. Here in a 12th century village, a boutique owner made a path of stylish shoes to lead you down to her small clothing boutique. Let’s be honest, ladies – this type of shopping experience does not happen in New York City!
7. Historic villages on Hilltops
Cities built up on the mountaintop? Yes, seriously. The stone buildings appear like they are going to break off from the cliff at any given moment, but in fact they have been standing there for over hundreds of years strong.
8. Le Fromage
No other country can compete with the French when it comes to le fromage! Have you ever seen a cheese board so spectacular? Caution, Vegan friends, this plate is X-RATED when it comes to dairy products. Paired with figs and jams, the assortment of cheeses served as dessert in France is mind-blowing.
9. A Coast for All
A dynamic and diverse coast of upscale beach club scenes to quiet fishing communities, Côte d’Azur has it all. You can go gamble in the casinos, shop till you drop at Hermes or just take in the view for free with a glass of local wine.
10. A Reason to be Fashionably French
Grab your finest frock, romper and purse – fashionistas flock to France for all the right reasons. And even if you are not familiar with the french language, it’s always fun to give the accent and words a try! Waiters always love a lady who shows appreciation for their great culture by attempting to order the snails in her best attempt to speak french – even if the end result makes no sense in any language. My sister and I (photographed below), had a blast speaking to locals everywhere we ventured.
Stay tuned for specific travel tips on Provence and the South of France featuring the best of hotels, restaurants and activity ideas all for a LADY coming soon!