For as long as I can remember, I have wanted to visit the South of France – in particular, the regions of Provence and the French Riviera. It evokes so many images – fields of lavender, the Mediterranean sea, and stone pathways through ancient cities lined with bougainvillea. The cities are iconic – St. Tropez, Cannes, Arles, Aix-en-Provence, and Nice. The magic of the SOF will delight anyone no matter what your interest: if you’re an art lover you can walk in the steps of Cezanne, Van Gogh and Picasso; if you love French food (and who doesn’t, really?), then you will find the land of mussels and fries, salad Nicoise, and lots of pastries; if you love the outdoors, there are beaches, bike paths, and mountains.
With my upcoming 40th birthday, I decided that my dream of visiting the South of France was going to happen. But, how do you plan a trip of a lifetime? Where do you start? Since I wasn’t going to have an unlimited amount of time to spend there (a few months would have been great, right?), it was going to take some careful planning. Of course, the first thing that we had to decide was how long we were going to spend on the trip and when were we going to go. After some discussion, we decided to take two weeks, inclusive of travel days, and go at the end of May. We decided on May for several reasons: first, we didn’t want to go in the middle of the summer because that is THE busiest time of year to visit this region even though we would be giving up seeing the lavender in bloom (imagine taking two hours to travel 10 miles . . . tres mal); second, it was late enough in the year that the weather would be warm; and lastly, it fell over the holiday weekend so it would work better with our work schedules.
Now that we had our trip schedule, we could start to look at the specifics of where we were going to go. I’ll cover that in my next post on “So you want to go to the south of France?”