February 28, 2020
Absolutelé Fabulous in the South of France Part Trois
On our third annual sojourn to the land of rosé we experienced something we have not encountered yet: a rainy day. A rare occurrence in the south of France, this was actually good news for the grapes and therefore good for us. After the unexpected rain delay, we were off to work, taste, and explore. As usual, Provence did not disappoint. Here are our top spots from the trip.
We finally had the chance to stay at Le Pigonnet in Aix-en Provence, a hotel in an 18th-century mansion with a wildly romantic courtyard and floral garden. Located within walking distance to the museum and shopping-filled University town of Aix, you get the best of all worlds here with a countryside feel and vibrant nearby city.
Lunch in the quaint garden at Les Sarments in Puyloubier, a delightful little village at the foothills of the Saint Victoire mountain that’s surrounded by vineyards, is an experience that will make you think, “this is a mighté fine day.” The restaurant offers everything you want out of a 3+ course lunch in Provence: seasonal ingredients, creative flavor combinations, and an elevated rustic presentation. Pro tip: do the cheese course. We took a stroll after to check out the charming little squares and fountains in Puyloubier and fell in love with all of the bright Provence-blue shutters.
Somewhere between Saint Victoire and Aix is a roadside fruit stand that we had to pull a u-turn to stop in. Typical in Provence, we found gorgeous produce (and a gorgeous proprietor) and picked up fresh fruit inspired by the tasting notes of our still wine. We learned to always stop the car when we see a cute fruit stand.
After a few days in the countryside, we moved east for a quick visit to Antibes on the French Riviera. We walked along the cobblestone streets of the Old Town and indulged in Pissaladière (pizza with onions, anchovies, and pizza that originated in Nice) from Boulangerie Veziano before cruising around glamorous Port Vauban harbor, where mega-yachts of the rich and famous are lined up and the sleekest Ferris wheel ever can be found. We took in sunset with Yes Way Rosé on a little rocky beach we stumbled upon and enjoyed dinner at the truly divine L’Arazur.
During our two nights in Antibes, we stayed at Hotel Imperial Garoupe at Cap d’Antibes, a rather fancy Mediterranean villa-style hotel next to Garoupe Beach where speedos on older gentlemen are plentiful. The pool and gardens, particularly on the walk to the beach, are breathtaking. The hotel calls to mind a fabulous time in the south of France from the 1920s-60s that’s captured in the must-read The Riviera Set: Glitz, Glamour, and the Hidden World of High Society by Mary S. Lowell.
Photos by Sara Kerens.