Up in the Mountains of the Cote d’Azur

The ancient fortress town of Gourdon, in the mountains of France’s Cote d’Azur

It was late spring on my first journey to the French Riviera, and adventure beckoned. 

Fortunately, adventure also brought along a mini-van. 

Climbing aboard and taking a private, small-group spin around the romantic mountain towns and glittering coastline of France’s Côte d’Azur with Kensington Tours proved to be just the experience I’d hoped for:

Simply magnifique. [Read more…]

What News of Genoa? It’s Delightful

Piazza de Ferrari in Genoa, Italy

“What news of Genoa?” — a line from Shakespeare’s The Merchant of Venice — is the most famous theatrical reference to Genoa, a large port city on Italy’s Ligurian Coast.

To my ears, the question begs the following answer:

“Pesto, gorgeous churches, narrow, cobbled streets and harbor views — a surprisingly wonderful city to explore.” [Read more…]

Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik: Croatian Modern

Back view of the Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik from our hotel room

In the late spring, I finally saw Croatia for the first time; I’d been wanting to visit the country for most of a decade.

The first stop was seaside Dubrovnik, the most visited city in Croatia, and my and Adam’s home base for three nights was the streamlined Valamar Lacroma Dubrovnik Hotel.

Much like Old Town Dubrovnik itself, the Lacroma is a glamorous fortress by the Mediterranean. Only one, though, has a swimming pool…as well as kittens in the parking lot.

[Read more…]

Tuscany by the Sea: Principe di Piemonte

The Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte’s beach club, by Tuscany’s Tyrrhenian Sea

Researching my springtime trip to Italy, I was amazed to find I’d never heard of the Tyrrhenian Sea.

How had I missed a whole sea…and in Tuscany, no less?

Happily, my geographic oversight has since been amended in person, after my stay at the luxurious Grand Hotel Principe di Piemonte in the beach city of Viareggio. Here, the blue-green Tyrrhenian is the main attraction — and time seems to stand still. [Read more…]

The Simple Charms of L’Isle sur la Sorgue

The Provençal town of L’Isle sur la Sorgue

Before I stayed in the world’s most idyllic country farmhouse/villa, Le Petit Hôpital, I’d never even heard of the Provençal town of L’Isle sur la Sorgue. But since the house was a mere five minutes down the road from the center of town, it wasn’t long before I discovered this small, watery city’s many delights.

[Read more…]