France (Part 1): The French Riviera


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Once upon a long time ago (yes, sorry folks, this article has been a bit too long in the writing), as we were trying to shortlist some destinations for a 2-week vacation with my sister-in-law’s family, she sent us a webpage that mentioned a place with beaches, nature, history, art and culture, and importantly wine and vineyards. By the middle of the page, hubby and I were completely sold. Took us all of 3 minutes to delete everything else from the shortlist and get on-board with a vacation in the South of France.

Now, a lesson in Geography. The French divide up their country into regions of which Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur (PACA) is one. This region is then split up into six departments: Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, Hautes-Alpes, Alpes-Maritimes, Var, Bouches-du-Rhône, and Vaucluse.

After some research, we decided to spend a week in Côte d’Azur in Alpes-Maritimes, and another in the Bouches-du-Rhône department. We scheduled our trip in mid-June in order to miss the peak-season in July. Not a bad time to visit, the weather was good and we didn’t have to juggle with massive crowds everywhere.


Côte d’Azur, also known as the French Riviera is the Mediterranean coastline of the south-east corner of France, also including the sovereign state of Monaco. Translated, Côte d’Azur means the azure coast, referring no doubt to the azure blue waters of the Mediterranean.

Often called an embarrassment of riches, the Riviera is well known as a playground for the rich and famous. Plenty of A-list celebrities such as Johnny Depp, Bono, Elton John, the Beckhams, Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are frequent visitors or own houses there. And as we all know, Brangelina recently tied the knot at Chateau Miraval, their sprawling estate nestled in the tiny village of Correns in the south of France, bringing even more publicity to the area (as if the Riviera needs more publicity). continue reading

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