Canal du Midi

We took an advantage of the beautiful indian summer and decided to make a little excursion. We drove south-west with a goal to follow the Canal du Midi. 15 years ago we spent a week on the boat going from Castelnaudary via Carcassone and ended up our journey near Séte. This was a funny trip 4 adults with 3 youngsters onboard. It was time to check whether the Canal was still maintained and whether the boats still run on it. We started our trip in Séte and followed then the Canal upstream. The beaches around Séte were empty in spite of the sunny whether. We could have our pick-nick totally alone, just watching kids and surfers from a distance. There are some interesting cities along the canal as Carcassonne with its medieval La Cité. We noted that the whole area was pretty poor, simple houses and particularly a total absence of luxury hotels. In Luberon you have 4stars (= eu 5stars) in every corner. During the days we walked along the canal, in the afternoons we visited historical city and monuments and in the evenings we warmed up with local dishes like cassoulet and duck confit. Last night we found accommodation in ancient Abbey school, which was so cold and our thoughts went to all those boys who spent years in this interesting but very unfriendly building.

Road Trip Tarn, Lot, Dordogne-DAY 6

Our magic journey is approaching the end. It feels a little bit sad to leave this beautiful place. We decided to drive home in two parts and to stay an additional night before returning home. The road in France are pretty dangerous and you need to pay much attention to the traffic, which is tiresome. The decision about the route was simple, we were both attracted by the beauty of our first day- the Gorge du Tarn so we decided to take the same route home. Our first stop was Rocamadour. This historical abbey has attracted visitors for its setting in a gorge above the river Dordogne but also for its historical monuments and its sanctuary. This is the second time we visited this place and I have never been disappointed. The setting is amazing. Later on we passed by other beautiful chateaux and natural scenary before we again stopped at the Chateau de la Caze and found one room still free. We took it and recognize that it was the same room as first time.

Road Trip Tarn, Lot, Dordogne-DAY 4&5

Eating fois gras each night, drinking wine and particularly eating dinner late has some disadvantages. After these 3 days my body was longing for something light like soup, salad or just yoghurt or fruits. But I know that in France is this not an option, dinner here is an event. We checked out from Le Vieux Logis and on the parking place we met two Americans who were on the same route to Brantome and to the same hotel so we said "A bientot". Brantome is called The Venice du Perigord" located on a small river called Dronne. We arrived to our hotel The Moulin d'Abbey early afternoon, checked in and strolled around. We found a beautiful village grounded around an ancient Abbey, also the Moulin served in the past for the purpose of the Abbey. We took again a boat ride in order to get an understanding of the water system and also to learn about the main attractions. Dinner we enjoyed outside on the hotel terrace together with other 2 couples. The majority of guests preferred the cozy and warm interior of the restaurant, but we claimed our Viking origin and stayed outside in the chilly night. Next morning we both caught a cold....
Next day after the breakfast we drove to Limouges and its porcelain factory. To me the name has always awoken memories of fine dining. You remember Meryl Streep's and Robert Redford's first meeting in Karin Blixen Out of limouges... is she worried for when traveling by train to her new home and husband through Africa. The factory was established 1797 and is still private owned and runs by 6th generation of the family. I entered the factory shop empty handed and left it with a pile of plates labeled Royal Limouges. From Limoge we drove to a small village Marreil when my husband had some project many years ago. Back home, we went to a simple bistro for a fish meal. The bistro was located near the river and very soon we had company of ducks and a baby otter who also wanted to share out meal.

Road Trip Tarn, Lot, Dordogne-DAY 3

We left Chateau Mercuès after a substantial breakfast and drove to Cahors. We wanted to see the bridge Pont Valentrè from 13th century. Then it was time to say good bye to the river Lot and drive towards the river Dordogne. We stopped in La Roque Gageac, a beautiful village located on a stunning position on the north bank of the Dordogne River, and backed by a steep hill / cliffs. Beautiful sceneries, houses perched over the river and the river Dordogne itself, so clean, so magic. We took a boat ride and listened to the guide about the history of this region. The Dordogne valley has always witnessed a succession of mythical people, scholars, merchants, Lords and religious people. The river represented an important link between Bordeaux and the Atlantic ocean. Before our trip I red about The Gardens of Marqueyssac which are listed as a National Historical Monument. Designed for walking the garden overlooks the entire Dordogne valley.
Happy, tired and hungry we drove to the village of Tremolat where I booked an accomodation at Vieux Logis. This was a cute and cozy hotel with a beautiful garden, flowers, apple trees, but particularly a big lawn with boxbom bushes cut into balls. We took a glass of champagne in the garden before we were seated in the restaurant. I can say that Champagne and fois gras were our signum during the whole trip. I knew that we would compensate it with a healthy lifestyle as soon as we arrived home.....

Road Trip Tarn, Lot, Dordogne-DAY 2

After the breakfast and a short walk along the river Tarn we left the Château de la Caze. At this point we didn't know that we will stay here once again on our way home, but about this later. Today's target was the river Lot and the Château Mercuès in Cahors. 20 years ago we made a similar trip along the river Lot and discovered this beautiful hotel Château Mercuès and their wines. It was in a hot summer and we still have memories from our dinner outside in the Château's courtyard. We followed the beautiful river Lot and stayed several time for picnic or just enjoying the surroundings. It was a long trip and when we finally navigated through Cahors and arrived to this peaceful hotel, we learnt that the restaurant was closed on Mondays. There were no other alternatives in the vicinity and we were adviced to drive 20 min to another good restaurant. We decided to drive to the near supermarket and to buy cheese and pate and spent the evening in our beautiful and expensive room. The view from the windows was remarkable as the chateau is located high over the river Lot. Again, the silence, only interrupted by the sound of rushing water of river Lot was the last thing I thought about before I fell in a deep sleep.
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This was the courtyard we had our dinner 20 years ago. It is still the same but Mondays are unfortunately closed.
We visited their wine cellar and also bought some bottles of wine. Older than Bordeaux and with a reputation for darkness and strength it is the only French red wine based on the Malbec grape. If you like deep red wine, ask for Cahors wine next time you make shopping. There are extraordinary.

Road Trip Tarn, Lot, Dordogne-DAY 1

France is like a beautiful garden. Wherever you go you will not be disappointed. This time we decided to drive to the valley of river Tarn, Lot and Dordogne. We have driven 2000 km mostly on small roads , through chestnut-forests and discovered another beautiful Coin de France. There are two famous gorges around the river Tarn, Gorge du Tarn and Gorge du Jonte, both offer breathtaking views and dizzy feeling of vertiginous heights. I was jumping in and out of the car using my camera frequently. I am one of those who assume hotels as important part of any journey and therefore I carefully selected our accommodation. However, first night we changed our booking as we passed by a beautiful Chateau de la Caze which we couldn't resist. Built in 14th century as a wedding gift to a young girl it serves today as a luxury hotel. The ambiance is something very special. We arrived late in the afternoon, tired and hungry. They had only one room left and we took it immediately. In France you can only have dinner after 19:30, not earlier. This I still have difficult to adopt in spite of living in France for 2 years. However, at 19.30 we were in the restaurant having a glass of champagne. We were approaching the fois gras region and therefore we chosen this fat and delicate goose liver as the starter, followed by a fish dish, which was my best meal ever. We fell asleep that night surrounded by complete darkn ess and stillness only interrupted by a rushing sound of the river Tarn.

Road trip to Switzerland

Here come some pictures from our road trip through France to Switzerland. We always pack a picnic for the first day of traveling and then enjoy it when we find a nice and cozy place. We drove through very high mountains and the weather varied but we saw amazing sceneries and natural beauty. Finally, we reached our destination of our first day the Auberge Letraz at the lake Annecy.

Beau Rivage Lausanne

We just returned from a short trip to Lac Leman in order to meet my daughter who is in Geneva, Lausanne to enjoy two weddings of her friends. This was my first trip to Switzerland after I resigned from IBM and moved to Provence. My daughter spent 6 years in Lausanne before she moved back to Sweden. So this was an emotional trip and we celebrated it with 3 nights at Beau Rivage hotel. This was our third stay at this creme de la creme hotel. The hotel is a destination itself, opened in 1869 and still privately owned. You soon recognize that the pace of change is slower than at other hotels, which are driven by profit rather than by value to preserve it for next generations. The service is discrete and impeccable. The location at the Lac Leman with view over the lake and the Alps is out of this world. There is a friendly atmosphere at the hotel and you feel that you are part of a world which you normally not belong least for 3 nights:))

Winter vacation @ Baros

It is difficult to imagine the winters dark and chilly days when today outside is 30+°C but better to be prepared. I secured today, what I believe, will be a trip of our lifetime. We are both frequent travelers but none of us has yet discovered the "Robinson Crusoe" island. Next year my husband celebrates a major milestone and therefore it will be a special trip. Baros here we come...
Photo: Baros Maldives

Mont Ventoux

Today it was time for an excursion again. We went to Mont Ventoux which is the highest point in Vaucluse with altitude 1912m. It is a popular spot for biking and along the roads there are many men and women in all ages trying to reach this top. On the way down we drove 70km/h and we were passed by several cyclists. This is no without danger and each year there are unfortunately many accidents. However, this is a natural beauty for all senses....

Lavender time

Not only the sky but also the fields are now blue. It has been our tradition to drive the" Route de lavande" and enjoy the scenery of Provencal summer. The route starts in the village of Sault, you can either drive or walk it. The fields are located about 700m above the sea, which is the precondition for cultivating the real lavender. The one which many of us have in the garden is lavendin and doesn't posses the strong smell. After having arrived to Sault we started to search for local boulangerie where we could buy croissants. It is a custom in France that you can bring your croissants to the cafe where you only order a coffee and eat your own croissants. Sault is a lovely village, very quite but very touristic during the lavender time. A wonderful day again.

It doesn't get more Swedish than this...

We are back home after almost two weeks in Sweden. After some time in the country side I really appreciate the city life again. Just strolling around, shopping, drinking coffee at one of all those cozy cafes. We spent the Midsummer in the Stockholm's archipelago which is one of the MUST BEFORE YOU DIE, more swedish it couldn't be. Then I enjoyed my time in Stockholm, visiting Jessica, my hairdresser, making a facial treatment, manicure and pedicure. This time I tried a manicure wit UV-treatment which make the polish more resistant and they promise it should keep up to 4 weeks...really wonderful. So here are some moments from this wonderful time.
...and back in Stockholm city


We just arrived from a two days trip to Camargue. My brother should fly home from Nimes and therefore we decided to take this trip and come closer to the airport so we did not need get up so very early. The Camargue is a large national park with a lot of lagoons and therefore many birds. We traveled through this marshland, following the river Rhone which ends its journey in the Mediterranean sea. It is a special place and the beauty and purity of the nature  touched my heart. After having left my brother on the airport we continued to our favorite place Pont du Gard. This 2000 years old beauty is a viaduc constructed by the Romans for the purpose of getting water from Uzes to Nimes. 20 years ago we could climb up on the top but today it is a protected monument and classified as a world heritage so we respected its age (and ours) and just walked on the pedestrian road. On the way home we also stopped in Chateauneuf du pape for lunch a for some wine to our cave. Here are some moments from the trip.

Little Sunday Excursion

It is not green in our garden only but in the whole Vaucluse. Today, after the rain we decided to make a little excursion to see the river Sorgue at its source in Fontaine de Vaucluse. We also stopped in Isle sur la Sorgue, the city where Sorgue plays pretty dominant role. On Sunday there is also a big market so we enjoyed the day strolling around. After we have purchased grilled chicken and baguette we enjoyed the picnic on the river bank.

Villefranche sur Mer

After the breakfast we decided to walk the Sentier du Litoral or coastal path from Nice to Villefranche sur Mer. It winds its way up, down and along creeks, cliffs and pebbled beaches. Unfortunately it doesn't go the whole way so partly we needed to walk along the road. Villefranche sur Mer is a lovely small village compared to Nice and the life is very much slowed down there. We enjoyed a lunch in the harbor and returned home by bus. For tonight I bought tickets to a baroque concert.


Today we took the train from Nice to Menton. We wanted to discover the city of Menton which is famous for their lemons' cultivation. As all cities along the Côte d'Azur also Menton is a tourist city. However the old centrum is still authentic. Menton is situated only few kilometers from the Italian border and the city has a strong Italian flavor. We strolled around, lay on the beach and returned back to Nice exhausted but happy....and wondering what will we do tomorrow?

Lunch sandwich with parma ham, mozzarella and basil simple and so delicious!

Cap Ferrat-Villa Ephrussi de Rothchild

Villa Ephrussi de Rothschild is a French seaside palazzo constructed between 1905 and 1912 at Cap Ferrat. We spent 2 wonderful hours visiting the house and the unbelievable gardens. It helped that the day was beautiful also we could enjoy the views in all directions. Today we travelled first time the bus along the coast and we found it as a very efficient public transportation...and it costs only 1€.

On the beach

My sister has a pain in her knee so we decided to take it easy today. The HI Beach, a popular place for the younger generation :), became our home for the whole day. The restaurant there serves international and modern food which I appreciate more than the traditional French dishes. So I enjoyed sashimi with soba salad and my sister vegetarian pasta....and one glass of rose wine diluted with a lot of ice...:)) My sister and I don't see each other very often therefore we have so much to talk about. Such a wonderful day with a lot of chat and laugh.

First day in Nice

In spite of several delays I am finally in Nice. I have also collected my sister from the airport and we have enjoyed the dinner on a restaurants closed to our apartment. And guess what...seafood again. Now we are back in our flat, drinking tea and planing the next day.

Luberon Villages: GORDES

Few days ago I passed by our neighbor village GORDES and I couldn't avoid to take some pictures. In the early Spring it is something special about  this "village perché". In the summer season the village is crowded by tourists so we "local" try to avoid it but it is a truly beauty...isn't it?

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