Monthly Archives: August 2011

Sounds of summer

Our summer 2011 soundtrack sounds something like this…

and this…


Filed under About Italy

A sizzlefest in Rome


No words. Except I’m so happy we have AC now.

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And we ended up in Nice

This is funny, maybe. I had no idea that Nice was a beach town. I thought it was another ancient, walled city in France. It’s not. It’s sort of like Monaco. Fancy. Beachy. Blingy. We fit right in.

Actually, we didn’t do a lot in Nice. We arrived in the afternoon and took a stroll on the beach. Tried to find an open restaurant for an early dinner, to no avail. But then Paul’s dream came true when we ordered room service. Sadly, I was just beat. Beat, I say. I took about two bites of my 30 euro burger and called it quits. It was a lame way to end a nice trip but a girl like me needs to sleep at night and after 6 months of not doing that, I was reaching my limit. Even in France. Next time I’ll be more well rested. Next stop, home!

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Lavender fields

One of Paul’s only requests during our week in Provence was to see a lavender field. The other was to sit by the pool.

We found one at Senanque Abbey near the hilltop town of Gordes, which is totally beautiful and full of spa hotels, just as a note.

It was a great day for taking pictures.

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Saturday market in Provence

There was a beautiful little market in the town where we stayed. Open only on Saturdays we set out on a particularly wet one…but had a great time shopping, ducking for cover and of course doing it all with croissants in hand.

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Countryside here we come

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Day trip to Arles

Out and about for the second time with Barbra and crew we visited Arles, the town from where Van Gough painted some of his most famous artwork: Starry Night, Sunflowers and more.

I thought it was only okay.

Possibly tired out from traveling, more likely not sleeping for several months, I just couldn’t find a groove in this place. There was a giant outdoor arena, bearing a close resemblance to Rome’s own Colosseum. Only this one is the scene of bull fights, which continue to this day. We checked out the space, not the bull fights.

There were pastries, coffees and some souvenirs but it was hot. Phoebe and Estelle were doing fine but the whole thing seemed like a lot of effort for little enjoyment. Discouraged, I suggested we head back to the car and maybe make one more stop on the way.

I’m so glad we did. After a refreshing cone of gelato (really, it was Italian gelato) Phoebe discovered carousels. She may never be the same.

As it turns out, my French is worse than my Italian which led to a misunderstanding at the ticket booth. I bought double the amount we needed so Phoebe and I stayed on for a second time. Then Phoebe misunderstood. Apparently we’d just keep riding this magical machine all day long? No. It was time for two naps plus the adults wanted to get home. She protested valiently but her next ride came via car seat where we started a new game called Good Bye. As we rolled away through the streets of Arles, we said good bye to everything we could see. There’s something particularly sweet about a little voice from the backseat saying, “Good bye trees. Good bye bench. See you next time!”


Filed under Trips

Our pool in Provence

It’s safe to say that the villa’s pool was one of the highlights of our trip. With temperatures in the 80s Phoebe and Paul swam every day, usually twice. Having our own pool was one of the stipulations when seeking a rental, and it paid off for sure. Proximity and privacy were just what we needed. That’s because our usual vacation routine goes like this: get up around 6:30am for breakfast, fresh diapers and clean clothes — not always in that order. See a sight. Eat lunch on the road or rush back home. NAP. Wake up from nap groggy and (usually cranky); swim or play around the house/hotel/villa. Dinner is served early, around 6pm. Bath. Books. Bedtime at 7pm. Followed by wine.


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Les Baux

My friend Barbra came down to Provence from Paris for a couple of days. On our first morning together we headed out to Les Baux, a landmark described in our villa’s suggestions book as “Don’t Miss It!”

What we found was an amazingly ancient village atop a hill overlooking southern France. Rocky cliffs, walls of an abandoned castle and its towers plus various weapons of war. Apparently people had been living at this site as early as 6000 BC. Around 2 BC it was the Celts who made it their home. In the Middle Ages the Lords of Baux claimed the territory. By the 12th century the family was deposed and the court ultimately “extinguished in the 15th century with the last princess of Baux, Alice of Baux”. Today the town is under Princess Caroline of Monaco’s rule, even though it’s part of proper France.

Today what remains is a beautiful town full of shops, restaurants and inspiring views.

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Estelle’s 6 month update

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Filed under LTB