Subject: Southern France report
Hi Ziners,

I just returned from a couple of weeks in the south of France and this is a brief report. My sister and I accompanied my brother who is planning to live in France for a year and eventually retire there for part of the year. He had arranged to view several properties in the south and, since his wife was not able to go at the last minute, we jumped at the chance when he asked us to go with him.

I would like to thank the Ziners who gave me hotel recommendations for Nice. We stayed at Hotel Marina, a 3* just off the Promenade, which was suggested by Naomi. We were there only 2 nights, but it was a great start, an oasis in the midst of the hubbub of the city and a good location. Their morning coffee is delicious.

Our trip took us from Nice on the Mediterranean coast to Vieux Boucau on the Atlantic coast, with a number of stops in between... Valbonne, Antibes, Cannes, Arles, the Camargue, St.Girons, Lourdes, St.Chinian, Beziers, Cap Negre, and back to Nice. So we did a lot of driving, from 130km/h on the autoroute to 30km/h through the villages. Nevertheless, we saw a lot of the countryside, from the beach resorts of the cote d'azur to the pine forests of the southwest, and in between, fields and fields of sunflowers, swathes of wheat fields, expanses of vineyards, medieval fortresses, castles, and churches, Roman ruins, hill towns, the Rhone, the Pyrenees, the extreme contrast between the bustling modern beach resort of La Motte and just down the road the stark isolation of the old town of Aigues Mortes, the black bulls and the white horses of the Camargue, indescribably beautiful Arles....

We found a cave in the tiny village of Babeau near St. Chinian and bought a case of their delicious wines, visited a farm for pate de fois and ate freshly made cheeses, devoured ripe peaches, apricots, and figs at roadside stalls, and savoured petite mussels in creamy curried sauces at the beach. We ate our way across France from the Mediterranean to the Atlantic, and that includes memorable meals such as Tagliatelles St. Jacques at Le Vin Sur Le Vin in Nice and numerous cafes for a glass of wine or a coffee.

We attended a concert in the old stone church in Vieux Boucau to hear the most wonderful French, Spanish and Basque songs sung acapella by a local choir, we requested Edith Piaf from the piano player in the Negresco Hotel bar in Nice, we were accompanied all the way by the constant chatter of the cicadas, And so much more!...

Thanks for letting me share.

Dolores St. John's, Newfoundland