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Tips and Advise for visiting France by Road to Travel Inc.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Giverny, the town of Monet and beautiful gardens

Giverny is a small village in Normandy, France, that has been a place of pilgrimage for millions of art lovers for over 100 years. The Impressionist master Claude Monet spent the last 43 years of his life here creating numerous masterpieces that put tiny Giverny on the international artistic map.

The main attractions in the village are The Monet House and Gardens. The beautiful pink house with green shutters has been restored to its former glory and is exactly the way it was when Monet lived here. Inside the house, apart from delightful colourful interiors, visitors can admire a rare collection of Japanese engravings that Monet collected. 

Although Giverny is pretty all year around, the best time to visit the Monet bloom-filled gardens is in spring and early summer when they burst with colours. When the artists set off to create a small Water Garden (Jardin d’Eau) with a its trademark lily ponds and Japanese bridge covered with wisterias, some locals were not very happy as a stream had to be shifted to supply the water. Little did they know that the garden would make the village famous across the world. Here, in the garden, blooming water lilies inspired Monet’s finest paintings from the series Les Nymphéas. 

Lily Ponds
Another garden created by the artist, Clos Normand, occupies the space in front of the pastel-coloured house. In spring daisies, daffodils, irises and tulips fill it up with a riot of colour with poppies, roses and sweet peas following them in summer.

Only a short walk from Maison de Claude Monet is the Giverny Museum of Impressionisms set up in partnership with the Musée d’Orsay where you can see works by various artists who studied and painted in Giverny.

Japanese Bridge
The old pretty church of Giverny is also worth a visit. Claude Monet and a few members of his family are buried there. After an exhausting day of artistic pilgrimage you can re-fuel at The Hôtel Baudy, where in its heyday famous artists such as Cézanne and Rodin stayed. Today it is a cosy café-restaurant serving excellent local dishes.

Photos via Flickr by: Jean Pierre Belot, Poul-Werner Dam, Joy Weese Moll.

What to see on the French Riviera

The Cote d'Azur, or as it is known in English the French Riviera, is synonymous with glitz and glamour. The stretch of the Mediterranean coastline in the southeast corner of France that also including the of sovereign state of Monaco has long attracted artists, writers, royals and jetsetters. However, you do not need to have a yacht and an off-shore bank account to enjoy the glorious sunshine, sparkling-blue sea and stunning landscapes of this picturesque part of France. Here is a brief list of places to see on the French Riviera that, we hope, will send you packing your suitcase.


The old elegant city of Nice is a great place to start your tour of the Cote d'Azur. The bustling colourful local market at the Cours Saleya, breathtaking vistas from the Castle Hill (La Colline du Château), relaxing walks on the promenades, the refined architecture of The Old Town, numerous bars and restaurants serving delicious fare will make you dizzy with happiness. And don’t forget the famous exuberant Nice Carnival that has been celebrated in the city since the 13th century.


One of the largest ports in the Mediterranean, Antibes is abuzz all year unlike many other resorts of the French Riviera. Its perfect sandy beaches, daily markets, magnificent historic ruins and excellent restaurants will keep you busy. For the culturally minded there is the Museum of History and Archaeology with Greek, Roman, and Etruscan artefacts as well as the Picasso Museum with an exceptional collection of paintings, sketches, and ceramics.

Saint Tropez
Saint Tropez

Brigitte Bardot and her husband Roger Vadim loved frolicking here and it still attracts the rich and famous in droves. A trip to Saint Tropez would not be complete without some celebrity spotting, however, should you get tired of that, check out the Musée de l’Annonciade with its superb collection of Impressionist paintings, the imposing Citadelle and, naturally, the towns excellent beaches.

Do not forget, there is more to the French Rivera than just the sea. The old villages of Èze and Grasse, hill towns of St. Paul and Vence offer an exciting break from the beaches.

Photos via Flickr by: Kurt Bauschardt, Dhinal Chheda, Jakob Montrasio

Saturday, September 19, 2015

Discovering laid-back Aix-en-Provence

The relaxed elegant city of Aix-en-Provence in the South of France is all about l'art de vivre (“the art of living”). You will not find many monuments or archaeological sites here, only spacious squares, lush gardens, many fountains, art museums and galleries.

The grandiose Cours Mirabeau, a wide avenue lined by large trees, graceful fountains and dignified buildings, separates the old historic centre from modern districts. The centre of the city’s café life, the avenue is dotted with myriads of cafes where you can sip pastis or local wine and indulge in people watching. 

City Street

Provence's finest market takes place the historic centre every Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. The ancient squares fill up with sellers of the most exquisite food in the world: cheeses, charcuterie, olive oil, fresh fruit, oysters, fish and wine, - here you will find the best produce that France is famous for. 

Cours Mirabeau

Post-Impressionist painter Paul Cézanne was born in Aix-en-Provence and there are several museums dedicated to the venerable citizen: his childhood home, Jas de Bouffan, and his last studio Atelier Cézanne. His works are also displayed at the Musée Granet, which has an excellent fine art collection that includes masterpieces by Rembrandt, Anthony van Dyck, Degas, Renoir, Gauguin, Monet, Van Gogh, Picasso and many others.


Make sure you make time for being pampered in one the city’s celebrated spas with natural hot springs built on the old Roman baths. 
In the evening join the locals for a long indulgent dinner at one of the city’s excellent restaurants to devour pan-fried foie gras, hearty veal chops or slow-cooked daube de boeuf Provençale. The elegant L'Esprit de la Violette serves exquisite thyme smoked veal and braised veal. In La Cave d'Yves you will find classic brasserie food and fine local wines. 

Aix-en-Provence is the city for a hedonistic traveller who wants to unwind and luxuriate in douceur de vie. 

Photos via Flickr by: Henrik Berger Jørgensen, Ivan Herman, Luis Montanez.