© Coquillade Luberon Leblogcashpistache

Following Cash Pistache in Provence‑Alpes‑Côte d'Azur

From Nice to the Luberon Natural Regional Park and Antibes and Marseille, discover the gems of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, following in the footsteps of Vanessa from the Cash Pistache travel, nature and hiking blog. From spots which are absolute musts to others which are more unexpected and from the coast to the back-country, this trip will fulfil all your dreams: Modern and contemporary art, bike rides, discovering savoir-faire and even a plunge into the natural areas of the South of France.

Published on 4 January 2022
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Contemporary and Street Art on the Côte d’Azur

Nice

Just like Vanessa from Cash Pistache, let’s start by discovering Hôtel Windsor, a Jungle Art hotel in downtown Nice. Its lobby is a temporary exhibition area, the rooms have been designed by artists, and a meal on the terrace with its jungle atmosphere is a real must if you’re there in the summer months. You’ll leave full of inspiration and a headful of colours 🤩. It’s lunchtime, sit yourself down in the restaurant Le Galet just opposite the Albert 1er gardens and close to Place Masséna, to enjoy Italian specialities and a lovely view of the town. Then you can end your art circuit and dedicate your afternoon to (re)discovering the Musée MAMAC (Museum of Modern Art and Contemporary Art) in Nice, which houses astonishing collections of works of art, some of them with a worldwide reputation.

Antibes

Antibes, under an hour from Nice, will surprise you. Its town-centre,  hidden away in its fortifications, will take you to an atmosphere where both antiquity (aqueducts, amphitheatre and even its baths) and street art are present. For street art, keep your eyes skinned as you wander around and you’ll discover the artistic aspect of Antibes. We can help you and we’ll be waiting for you at the crossroads of Rue Vauban and Rue Doumer. If, like Cash Pistache, you’re feeling a bit peckish after this urban walk, take a lunch break at the restaurant of the Royal Beach Hotel in Antibes and enjoy fresh fish with a view over the sea (best to book before).

Photo Profil Vanessa Martin LeblogcashpistachePhoto Profil Vanessa Martin Leblogcashpistache

“Between Art and sun, between ecotourism and a gentle lifestyle, I set off to discover some of the less known wonders of my PACA Southern region. The encounters I had with the locals each brought something new and were full of values and implications, like the Street Art artists who have tamed the old town of Antibes with their discreet sculptures. And of course, the vineyard which plays an important role in the preservation and valorisation of the magnificent Sainte Baume mountain. The Southern region is a particular love story between men and the heritage.”

Responsible Tourism on the Château de l’Escarelle wine-growing estate

Take a break on the wine-growing estate of Château de l’Escarelle and stay in the Villa Cinsault. The estate is a lovely example of a responsible and committed approach. In the heart of the Sainte-Baume Natural Regional Park, Château de l’Escarelle can boast of having obtained the “high environmental quality” label which is the highest of three levels. The estate has naturally converted to organic farming and has dedicated part of its territory to the protection of butterflies by creating the butterfly garden. After a few days here with a menu of walks (horse-rides soon to come) on the estate, discovering wine and olive oil produced on the spot in an exceptional, relaxing setting, you’ll leave with your head full of butterflies.

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Marseille, from pétanque to contemporary art

Head for the PACA Sud region and Marseille, following Vanessa to the iconic Panier quarter and the Maison de la Boule Bleue which has been here since 1904. And what a surprise inside: a boules ground! Not really that surprising because the savoir-faire of this hundred-year-old  family enterprise, which was granted an Entreprise du Patrimoine Vivant (Living Heritage Company) label, is making pétanque boules – it’s almost as old as the game itself. What’s your thing? Pointing or shooting the boule? Now we’re off to the sea front to breathe in sea air at the Mucem. There’s as much to discover outside as there is inside the building with its modern architecture – open onto the Mediterranean – and its collections of objects which tell the story of European civilisations and the Mediterranean area. In the evening, there’s more “modern art with a sea view” for a night in Hôtel Nhow Marseille on the Corniche.

Marseille Leblogcashpistache (2)

Savonnerie Marius Fabre soap-making factory: the art of making Savon de Marseille soap

The next day, we leave Marseille without really leaving it…  Vanessa takes us to Salon-de-Provence to visit the Savonnerie Marius Fabre. Discover the unique and traditional savoir-faire of soapmakers and the different stages in making a real Savon de Marseille soap, including a most symbolic one: stamping. There’s a warm, family atmosphere and it’ll feel “like home”. Don’t forget to take your soap home with you!

La Coquillade and bike-rides in Provence

And now we plunge into the Provencal back-country with a stop at La Coquillade. The 5-star hotel in Gargas, which used to be a Provencal hamlet in the Luberon Natural Regional Park, guarantees a real “Provencal experience”. Among its vines, olive trees and lavender fields, you can test its local cuisine (and it’s very local – all the products are from the hotel’s vegetable garden) while you make the most of the view of the Monts du Vaucluse. The hotel, which is in a protected area, follows the principles of eco-responsibility.

And now it’s time for some exercise! Set off at dawn admiring the sunrise over the cliffs of Lioux, a little-known spot, where you may feel alone in the world. This imposing fault reveals a magnificent plateau that’s a pure delight for walking. Then head for Apt to book a bike at Bee’s bike station and cycle off to Céreste. Whether you’re with the family, as a couple or on your own, on this section which is in the Luberon Natural Regional Park, you’ll be taking 3 great biking itineraries :

Photo Profil Vanessa Martin LeblogcashpistachePhoto Profil Vanessa Martin Leblogcashpistache
Vanessa, the Cash Pistache blog

Vanessa was born in Aix-en-Provence, and lives between the Verdon and the Montagne Sainte Victoire. She’s a travel photographer and she shares stories and practical advice for scouring the world on her blog. If you’re looking for the authentic, follow her adventures in France which are close to the terroir and always filled with poetry and nature.

Vanessa
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