Lavender fields, hilltop villages and spectacular rocky fjords, rosé wine and bouillabaisse, Cézanne and Van Gogh, cutting edge rap and hip-hop music, Jean de Florette and Manon des Sources, pétanque, scuba diving and Olympique de Marseille: Provence is a vibrant mix of romantic tradition and surprising, fast-changing modernity. This is an insider's guide to the best of it, from a professional journalist living there.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
An Extraordinary Trip Round the Bay
I love September in Provence. Well, I love Provence at most times of the year, but right now the dog days of August and its sweltering heat are over, the weather is mild, the tourists are gone (mostly) and there's a ton of exciting things to do. Septembre en Mer (September by the Sea) is a case in point: this festival (which actually sprawls over a good six weeks from late August to early October) encompasses hundreds of marine-related events, from an introduction to scuba diving to a gastronomic fish barbecue overseen by a top local chef or a visit to a lighthouse or shipyard. Yesterday I opted for a boat trip to the Riou Archipelago, a cluster of islands off the coast near Marseille's calanques. This nature reserve is an amazing lunar landscape and eco-system that's normally closed to visitors throughout the year except for four days in September. Click here to see my photo gallery on Facebook.