Biodynamic and sustainable agriculture in Provence.
Most of the wines in Provence have been summer wines but they have improved greatly in quality well over the past decade. Not only has the quality of the Rose improved, but there are now more and more interesting reds being made. Indeed , the best wines of Provence are the reds. These are being made from a blend from a southern French varieties, such as Carignan, Mourvedre, and Syrah with the addition of some Cabernet Sauvignon. The whites are not that exciting. There are vineyards throughout Provence but they are scattered because of the hilly and more fragmented landscape not like in Languedoc, the South west part of France. Most of the vineyards of Provence lie along the valleys of the rivers.
Cotes de Provence.
The village from which the name of this appellation derives also gave its name to Bauxite, the mineral ore used to produce aluminum. This is an area where organic vineyards develop naturally harmonious wines without the use of any man made fertilizer. Once part of AC Coteaux d’Aix, Les Baux-de-Provence was given its own appellation in 1995 for reds and Rose, under stricter production regulation than of Coteaux d’Aix. Although only a small appellation, the level of quality is high. Because of the extreme rigidities of French wine law, the region’s top estate. Domaine de Trevallon, no longer uses the appellation , but is labeled as un vin de Pays. The Village of Les Baux is a must see sight and is extremely busy during the high Tourist season.
Coteaux d’Aix en Provence
The reputation of the Coteau d’Aix en Provence, became an appelation controlee in 1985, has been growing very steadily. Vines have been grown in the area since Roman Times. A number of growers have built the names of their properties by planting better grape varieties, usually a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, along with more typical varieties such as Syrah, Grenache and Mourvedre. Also in addition growers have increased their investment in the vinyeards and vinification, and have taken greater care in aging their wines.
A limited amount of white is made from Sauvignon and Semillon, blended with local varieties such as Grenache Blanc and Vermentino. One of the best known properties is Chateau Calissanne, located south Salon de Provence , close to the Etand de Berre. Calissane is a very large and historic property of 1,000 hectares ( 2,420 acres), with 107 hectares ( 264 acres) of vines. The top red is the Clos Victoire, a blend of Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon is aged for at least a year in new oak barrels.
Another well-known estate is Chateau de Fonscolombe , a 170 -hectare ( over 400 acres) estate on chalky clay soil on the south bank of the river La Durance, north Aix. There are 144 hectares of vines planted. The imposing Chateau was built in 1720.
An enclave within the area of the Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence is a small appellation of Palette. With just 42 hectares ( 104 acres). The chalky soil gives fuller-bodied wines ( red, white, and rose are made) than the rest of the region.
This appellation lies between the Coteaux d’Aix- en- Provence and cotes de Provence in the Var department. there are just over 2,000 hectares ( 4,942 acres) of vines, with Brignoles as the main town The wines come in three colors, and are generally drunk young.
Next article will be reserved to vineyards addresses.
Antibes, Chagall, Chateau Grimaldi, Claude Monet, french Riviera, Juan les Pins, La Colombe d'or, Matisse, Monet, Mougins, Musee Picasso, Nice, Picasso, Renoir, Saint-Paul-de-Vence, travel, Vallauris, Vence
Whether it’s the quality of the light or the blue of the Mediterranean sea or the clarity of the air, Provence & the Cote d’Azur have always long attracted the world’s most renowned artists. Impressionists Claude Monet and Pierre -Auguste Renoir were the first painters to Make the French Riviera their base. Other artists caught word of the region’s unique, vibrant light , soon followed Henri Matisse who then divided his time between Nice & Vence in 1917 for the next 35 years. Pablo Picasso, smitten by the coast after visiting in the 1930’s spent the next four decades in Golfe Juan, Vallauris, Antibes and Mougins. The Painter Marc Chagall moved to Provence in the 1940’s, eventually settling down in St-Paul-de-Vence with his wife; the village is now a shrine to modern art. Today the Riviera continues to boast one of the most prolific outpourings of creativity in the world.
Step away from the tourist crowds for an hour of peaceful contemplation in Matisse’s Chapelle du Rosaire in Vence.
Browse the galleries in and around Vieux-Nice‘s winding pedestrianized streets.
Visit Antibes’ Chateau Grimaldi, Picasso’s former studio, and now home to the Musee Picasso.
Shop for exclusive ceramics in the village of Vallauris ( Galerie Madoura).
Lunch in the Gardens of the famed La Colombe d’Or , the restaurant also has their private art collection.
Some options for a day trip.
Those who want a taste of times past can pay a visit to very popular Antibes, while artists seeking inspiration would spend the morning in Mougins.
Saint-Paul-de-Vence is located on a hilltop and ringed by ramparts, Saint -Paul-de-Vence has been a magnet for artists and visitors to the French Riviera. Marc Chagall is buried in a cemetery . Just west of town, Fondation Maeght ( open daily) was set up by art dealers Marguerite and Aime Maeght in 1964. It includes works by Pierre Bonnard, Alberto Giacometti, and a garden labyrinth by Jon Miro.
Antibes. Claude Monet, was the first resident in 1888. Nearly 60 years later, in 1946, Pablo Picasso set up studio in the nearby Chateau Grimaldi. Now the Musee Picasso is home to a collection of the artist’s paintings, drawings and ceramics.
Vallauris. Is very famous for artisan pottery. Its ceramic industry was revitalized in the early 1950’s primarily due to Picasso’s passion. Galerie Madoura ( open Mon-Fri) where Picasso created lots of his ceramics, has pieces for sale as well as photographs of Picasso and Chagall working side by side. L’homme au Mouton is a bronze done by Picasso that stands on Place Paul Isnard. Musee National Picasso La Guerre & La Paix. Picasso’s last major political artwork is installed in the Chateau’s 12th-century Romanesque chapel.
Mougins. This very picturesque medieval village offers sweeping views over Cannes and the Mediterranean below. Stop at the Musee de La photographie Andre Villers. Viller’s black and white photos of Picasso chronicle the last 15 years of the artist’s life, which he spent in Mougins.
Another idea for a day trip Option.
Spend the day in the Medieval and picturesque village of Mougins and make a stop at the Musee de La Photographie, Andre Villers as well as the town’s incredible views of the Mediterranean sea. Pack your paints – Both Mougins and Cannes offer plenty of inspiration to artists.
Antibes and the Cap.
Juan-Les-Pins, nearby Antibes hosts Europe’s oldest Jazz Festival every July- Charlie Mingus,Miles Davis, Ray Charles, Herbie Hancock have all performed there.
Some ideas that may help you enjoy your vacation.Through a child’s eyes , the castles and fortified hilltowns of Provence and the Riviera could have come straight from a Disney movie which really attract kids of all ages. The outdoor is amazing and it provides children a host of activities, both on land and on sea. the region is also known for its spectacular wild life and flora, this gives children the amazing opportunity to learn about nature and have fun at the same time.
Just outside of Antibes, Marineland is an adventure park devoted to the ocean. Live dolphin, killer whales and sea lions give the animals a chance to show off their flips and turns. The Tropical Aquarium Gallery has a very interesting display of starfish, shrimp and shoe crabs. There is a touch pool and very curious children can caress skates and rays as they swim through the water. Also if you remember to take your swimming make a stop at Aquasplash, the Riviera‘s biggest waterside park, with 13 giant toboggans. The Adventure Golf is a Jurrassic– themed golf course with giant dinosaurs. http://www.marineland.fr
Frejus .has beautiful beaches, a Roman Amphitheateran d a 20 hectares ( 50- acre) safari style. Parc Zoologique; http://www.zoo-frejus.com. The park is very interesting and more than 150 different species from 5 continents roam the park, wild cats, wolves and reptlles and more. The park has a breeding program to help maintain its many endangered animals. You maybe lucky to see new borns, especially lions and tigers.
Aqualand . http://www.aqualand.fr ;a great outdoor of fast- flowing water slides for everyone including grownups and younger kids.The Mini Park provides tamer slides and a shallow pool for younger children.
Ile de Porquerolles. Children always love the boat trip to the island where they will discover beaches, forests and cycle paths. Porquerolles is the largest of the iles d’Hyeres ( off the shores off Hyeres), land of rocky capes, pine forests twisted by the Mistral ( strong wind in the south of France) and sun-drenched vineyards. The north has sandy beaches bordered by pine trees, also excellent spots to have a family picnic. The best way to explore the island is by bike, several companies rent them. Le Cycle Porquerollais http://www.cycle-porquerollais.com, pretty inexpensive to rent a bike. Outside the village, cycle paths can be very bumpy, but extremely well- marked and lots of fun for the kids.
Between Marseille & Avignon, La Barben more than 600 animals live together harmoniously under the watch of a medieval Chateau watches over. visitors who go get to experience get to experience giraffes, elephants, leopards in habitat; there is also a small farm for younger ones. There is a reptile house within the humid warmth of a restored 12-century sheephold. http://www.zoolabarben.com
Le Parc Regional du Luberon. The Camargue where French cowboys ride the range, is also inhabited by wild horses, black bulls, pink flamingos , lagoons, salt marshes and wetlands. If you go bring a pair of binoculars, and head out for the area around Gines, a small hamlet, ( 3 miles of the Camargue‘s capital), Stes-Maries de la Mer.A great way to explore is on the back of a Camarguais horse, which will take you to inaccessible places ( by car or by foot). You will find a lot of stables on the road from Arles to Stes-Maries-de la Mer. You can expect to pay around 95 Euros a day or maybe less ; if you are worried about wearing an helmet ask for one before hand. http://www.parc-camargue.fr
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