France in focus – The other D-Day: 1944 Provence landings

This week, France in Focus heads to the southern port city of Toulon, which is home to the French Navy’s main base. It was here on August 15, 1944, that the Allied invasion of southern France began. We take a closer look at just what happened and explore the various efforts being made today, 75 years later, to ensure the memory of those events lives on.

Source: France in focus – The other D-Day: 1944 Provence landings

Calanques the Stunning Fjords of Provence

The Fjords of Provence

Just east of Marseille lays the charming coastal town of Cassis, nestled at the bottom of steep, vineyard-covered hills that come almost to the sea. It’s so adorably cute that you might think you are walking into a postcard. There’s nothing better than a stroll through town followed by a bowl of fish soup or some moules-frites at one of the many restaurants that line the docks.

The setting of Cassis is dramatic. Besides those vineyards, Cap Canaille—the highest cliff in France—towers over the town on its east side. And to the west are the beautiful and rugged calanques, the so-called mini fjords of France [ . . . ]

Continue at PERFECTLY PROVENCE: Calanques the Stunning Fjords of Provence

The Best Airbnbs in the South of France

Including Julia Child’s very own cottage (with plenty of kitchen utensils included).

We’ve said it again and again: there’s so much more to France than just a trip to Paris. Case in point? The South of France—a.k.a. the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region—is home to some of our favorite towns. There are big names like Cannes, Marseilles, and Nice in the area, but there are plenty of smaller towns to enjoy, like Menton, Grasse, and Cassis. If you want to live out your provincial French fantasy—whether it’s smack on the beach, in a historic old town apartment, a multi-acre château, or in Julia Child’s own kitchen—we’ve got some Airbnbs for you to book, spread all across the region.

As a bonus, all of the Airbnb selections are run by Superhosts, who each have a rating of 4.8 or above, a record of zero cancellations, and at least a 90 percent response rate, meaning they’ll get back to you ASAP. Read on to find the perfect Airbnb for your vacation along France’s southern coast [ . . . ]

Continue at: The Best Airbnbs in the South of France – Condé Nast Traveler

Send in the clowns – and send me, too!

By: Michael Stevenson

My wife Linda and I enjoyed such a wonderful vacation in France this past month.

We began our trip in Paris’ Butte-aux-Cailles neighborhood in the underappreciated 13th arrondissement. Butte-aux-Cailles was a pleasant surprise, with its amazing street art, local bistros, and funky bars. We had a groovy night of Afro-Pop and dancing the evening of the Fete de Musique!

Next we took a train to Avignon where we rented a car to drive to the seaside village of Cassis. This was perfect timing, as the temperatures climbed over 110 degrees. We cooled ourselves with an ocean swim and boat ride through Cassis’ beautiful calanques.

We then drove three hours north from Cassis to Vienne to attend their annual Jazz Festival. There, in the magnificent outdoor Theatre Antique, we watched a fantastic show performed by Canadian piano man Chilly Gonzales. We drove south again to our favorite village in Provence, Venasque, meeting-up with our friends Jim and Shirley, who are our neighbors back come in Rhode Island, USA.

It was in Venasque that I was fortunate to be introduced to “Compagnie Née au Vent,” in a street performance by the company’s two “clowns”/actors, Claire Néel and Alexandre Florent.

A bus crashes Cyrano and the clowns show their mercy

The two clowns, in character as “Bombyx” and “Luna”, performed scenes from the classic novel “Cyrano de Bergerac,” as well as skits from the Hollywood movies Dirty Dancing, Titanic, and (my favorite) the spaghetti scene from Disney’s Lady & the Tramp.

Walking through the winding streets of the tiny village, I loved every minute of their twilight performance.

It was hilarious, magical and unforgettable theater!

My only regret was that during the several requests for audience participation, I was too embarrassed by clumsy francaise to volunteer.

On the Compagnie Née au Vent website are these words from the beloved author Antoine de Saint-Exupéry:

“Make the dream devour your life and that life does not devour your dream”

Next summer, I promise to improve my French and to raise my hand to volunteer once invited to “send in the American clown!” C’est moi!