Going Places!
Tour de Provençe

Tour de Provençe

von Bert Schwarz

Whether I drive around on the mountain passes, sunbathe on the beach or romp around the weekly markets, Provençe and the Côte d'Azur are sun-drenched and seductive.

I've known Provence for more than 40 years. but not really well. There are the memories of the Mistral on the beach, where we chewed the sand, or the (felt) eternally long roads over the Route Napoléon to the Gorges du Verdon, which in the end didn't really allow a short visit.

Our Tour de Provence has so far had two main objectives.

The western one is with Aix-en-Provençe in the north, Marseille in the west and Toulon in the east. Our accommodation here is at the Camping Mogador in Sanary-sur- Mer, a fishermen's village with an impressive history.

The eastern part is not so clearly defined: Actually, this area is oriented towards the newly created Pays de Grasse, the hinterland of City, if you like - a project driven more by local politics - up to the border with Italy and Monaco. The Valensole plateau also visited, because a large part of the lavender so important for the perfume industry comes from here. So really belongs this plain near the So, Gorges du Verdon is not the target area ... but I'm not petty ... ... ...

Tour de Provençe

Story, Camera, Edit : Bert Schwarz

© travel-magazine TV 2017 - 2020

Côte d'Azur & Provençe
Aix-en-Provençe
This is Aix: A handful of Parisian elegance deep in Provençe.
Antibes
Antibes has conquered the hearts of so many artists. So has ours.
Cassis
Poets raved about Cassis's small harbour and it was a favourite motif for painters.
Grasse
A couple of minutes by car from the Côte d'Azur lies Grasse, the city of perfumers.
La Ciotat
La Ciotat and the Mediterranean Sea are for more than 20 km like an old couple.
La Colle-sur-Loup
on a short walk with potential.
Le Castellet
Here everything turns around the pretty things that make life more beautiful.
Les Calanques
The rocky cliffs are interrupted here and there by small, idyllic beaches.
Marseille
For many years Marseille was the black sheep on the Provençal coast.
Mouans-Sartoux
It used to be a village with olive trees, flower and jasmine fields for the perfume industry in Grasse.
Mougins
is a real insider's tip, a gem that really deserves attention.
Sanary-sur-Mer
Sanary has been an insider tip in Provence for over 100 years.
St. Paul de Vence
an artists' village?
Toulon
If you're looking for bling-bling, you're wrong here.

Vivid History

2,000 years ago Provençe was part of Roman Gaul and the Romans left behind fabulous monuments, constructions and buildings - not to mention some of France's first vineyards.

This region is littered with Roman legacies, including an amphitheatre in Arles, a theatre in Orange, many bridges, including a very beautiful one near Bonniuex, and even entire towns near St-Rémy de Provençe and Vaison-la-Romaine. It is a big number in a collection of prehistoric sites, medieval abbeys, elegant churches and art deco houses. And so Provençe begins to feel like a living history book.

Museum der Geschichte Marseilles © Bert Schwarz

Art Galore

Not only the landscape of Provençe has attracted legendary painters, such as van Gogh, Cézanne and Picasso, with their hilly lavender fields, rustic villages on top of the hills, it was the light that made Matisse «soft and tender and yet brilliant» described. Whether you look over the sea glittering in the sun or the fiery sunssinking over the hills - a trip to this corner of France feels as if you are straight into the canvas of an impressionist go inside. And with such an extensive artistic legacy, it is not surprising that this area is home to outstanding art collections, not to mention the studios where van Gogh, Cézanne and Rénoir used to work.

Musee d'art classique de Mougins © Bert Schwarz

Landscapes to dream of

Provençe and the Côte d'Azur are made for discoverers of all ages. One of the charms of travelling to this region is to take the back roads into the hinterland and soak up the immense beauty and diversity. There are the lavender fields, old plantation with olive trees, mountain roads winding along the slopes and at the appropriate season also snow-covered mountain tops.

Lavendelfeld auf dem PLateau de Valensole © Bert Schwarz

Here is France's deepest gorge, the oldest road and some challenging mountain passes that make the dreams of a passionate motorist come true.

Lavendelfeld auf dem PLateau de Valensole © Bert Schwarz

And then there is the Mediterranean Sea: a glistening blue mirror reflecting the rugged cliffs, white beaches and endless sky.

Mittelmeer © Bert Schwarz

Pleasure in Provençe

Wherever you go in Provence, you won't starve. Food is one of the central things in a Frenchman's life, but in Provençe it becomes a cultivated passion. Dominated by the sacred ingredients of Mediterranean cuisine, olive oil, wine, tomatoes and garlic, the food in always a highlight of this region. And you don't have to search long, small and big restaurants are everywhere and I met very good and lousy ones. So it is the usual mixture, whereby the chance to get a bad/i> restaurant is quite manageable. Nevertheless I found something like that and report to other place about it.

Mittelmeer © Bert Schwarz

Something else?

Yes.

How you travel is a matter of taste.

Highly individual.

Not really negotiable.

And then it's the same in the family every year: «Where are we going?»

I'm not going to indulge in the infinite possibilities here, you know them well enough.

To make a long story short: culture, movement, nature... Not to forget culinary delights, become - already important, but nevertheless - an accessory. The essential aspect is to get to know the country and its people. The caravan is the easiest way to do this, because here I take care of myself, experience my own adventures unfiltered, directly and myself.

At the end of a journey I can then rightly say: «I know this area.» , and the people living there.

Across the region I found that, which cannot be captured and framed on canvas or in photo and film files.