My recent cruise afforded me visits at several French ports ranging from the coastal areas of Aix-en-Provence, Cannes, the Principality of Monaco, and the port of Ajaccio on the island of Corsica. Please enjoy my tour highlights below.
Aix-en-Provence (port of Toulon)
We took an hour-long coach trip through the French Provence countryside to arrive at historical and charming Aix-en-Provence for a walking tour through both the old and new town. Highlights included narrow lanes of cobblestone and the wide avenue where the medieval streets merge with sophisticated 18th century mansions. The Cathedral of the Holy Savior has a large baptistery with numerous architectural styles and art (due to its construction lasting several centuries dating back to the 5th) with carved pillars and slender colonnades. It served as a pre-Roman pagan temple before becoming a Roman temple, and finally a Christian Church.
Christian Church above and Bapistery below
Our cruise gave us an overnight in Monte Carlo with optional day tours to Eze and Nice, but we elected to stay both days and use the Hop On, Hop Off bus with 2-day pass which we used on day 2 for getting around town (this can be purchased in advance online). Highlights included the most famous buildings in town – the Casino and nearby Hotel de Paris, the Prince’s Palace of Monaco, the Cathedral where Princess Grace/Prince Ranier wed, and the Oceanographic Museum. We also visited several gardens/parks – the Japanese Gardens along the waterfront, Princess Grace’s Rose Garden & Fontvieille Park, and the St. Martin Gardens (from the avenue name) with a statue of Prince Albert (located between the Prince’s Palace & the Oceanographic Museum).
Cannes & Grasse on the French Riviera (port of Antibes)
After a scenic drive to begin our ship’s tour, our walk through in the oldest part of Cannes started with the Palais de Festival area showing the handprints of the rich & famous past participants in the Film Festival, where the 2019 festival actually began three days after our visit. We continued on to the marketplace, a tradition of Europeans for centuries.
Continuing on to centuries old Grasse, surrounded by Lavender, orange blossoms and other aromatic flowers we stop for a tour of the factory where they produce perfume, and other products such as soaps and cosmetics. Upon our return to Antibes, we sailed along the French Riviera where we pass Nice and other popular ports.
Our ship’s walking tour took us through the Old Town to the house (now a museum) where Napoleon Bonaparte was born in 1769 in the Imperial Town, and also past many buildings where the family’s influence is still evident. Much of the town is pedestrian-friendly. After passing the fort and visiting the Cathedral, we stopped at a palace that Napoleon’s maternal uncle had built. Now a museum, it features rooms devoted to the imperial family and the second-largest collection of Italian paintings in France including works by Botticelli and Titian.
Images by Mimi Auchter; featured photo Nice, France
Getaway Dreams Come True Travel will be happy to assist you in planning a French (European) vacation. Call to schedule your complimentary consultation where we’ll give you our suggestions after discussing the details of what you are looking to see and do and craft the lifetime memories vacation of your dreams.
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