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Try living at the top

Provence’s villages perches or hilltop villages, are famous – though , unfortunately some have become too popular for their own good. Still, many of them remain what they have been for centuries : sanctuaries from the very fast pace of modernity. Some people will ask you ” are you lonely after the bustle of the city” and one person who owns a small cafe ( cafe des gorges) in the center of town, simply replied ” i felt lonely in the city, but never here”

Experience cafe culture

With its coffee-scented air and tables laid out beneath shaded awnings, the cafe is definitely a part of the features of Provence. Its where town people gather to gossip, talk politics and life in general, play boules, or simply drift gently in life’s slow pace. One good place to go to is the restaurant des Arcades, on a quiet square in Biot near Nice ( http://www.restaurant-les-arcades.com). A blend of bar, bistro, tobacconist and hotel together. It is in fact where the town’s most important business is transacted under the sociable gaze of the Brothier family. The reason people come here is not to make art but simply to enjoy a coffee, a glass of wine, a meal and a chat with friends. The cafe de la Lavande, at the crossroad of the very small lavender town of Lardiers ( Place de La Fontaine; http://www.bistrotdepays), a very classic bistro with wood furnishings, alfresco tables beneath a beautiful vine-laced pergola, and a broad selection of regional wines. Also the cafes along the tree-lined Cours Mirabeau in Aix,including the celebrated le Grillon at 49 Cours Mirabeau ( http://www.cafelegrillon.fr.free) as well as Les Deux Garcons, watering holes of the intelligentsia.

A place to visit is Marseille

Marseille has really experienced a Provencal renaissance. No matter what, Marseille has always been a very welcoming place, embracing nations and cultures as only a port city can do, says a Marseille resident , originally from Nimes, she fell madly in love with the city of Marseille. Everything has been restored, from neighborhoods such as Le Panier with its art galleries and artisan workshops.Also Le Corbusier’s futuristic Unite d’Habitation, now you can stay at the amazing hotel Le Corbusier ( http://www.hotellecorbusier.com) . Pay a visit to Notre Dame de La Garde, the beloved bonne mere de Marseille with its collection of Votive offerings. The street lights are new and their white lights give a sense of security as well as modernity. Marseille is connected with the TGV and it only takes 3 hours to reach Paris. Marseille‘s melting pot holds Vietnamese, Algerians, Turks and many more cultures.

Hit the road at La Provencal

Sightseeing in plain air in a motorcycle sidecar, that old-fashioned conveyance consisting of a seat attached to the side of the cycle – which combines the intensity of a motorcycle with the comfort of a car. ( http://www.motoprovencale.com) is a very local institution where sidecars gather regularly with their ringleader, a very gregarious Englishman David Griffiths, a former motorcycle  racer. From an-hour long chauffeured sidecar ride along  the bend of the Alpilles foothills to a day touring the Luberon area to multi day master motorbiking classes in the region’s other hot spots. I have to say that David Griffiths Moto Provencale reveals Provence from a whole new perspective. Give it a try!

Anne Suire

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Fall Provence Tours/ thanksgiving 2015

David Griffiths Moto Provencale.

David Griffiths Moto Provencale.

Cafe Les Grillons in Aix en Provence

Cafe Les Grillons in Aix en Provence

Hotel le Corbusier, Marseilles.

Hotel le Corbusier, Marseilles.