Prehistoric Cave Paintings in Marseille

In 1991, Henri Cosquer made a remarkable discovery: he found a grotto filled with prehistoric paintings. Even more remarkable is that the cave is only accessible via an underwater passageway.

Cosquer was a professional diver, leading underwater tours near Marseille. He also dove for pleasure, exploring the nooks and crannies of the rugged coastline.

One day, Cosquer noticed a narrow underwater passageway. Intrigued, he followed it and found himself in a labyrinth of tunnels going here and there. Over multiple dives, he followed these tunnels until, one day, he surfaced inside a cave filled with prehistoric paintings.

This has now been recreated so you can visit it (no swimming required, thankfully.) The French are brilliant at this, having previously recreated the caves at Lascaux and Chauvet. It’s a must-see sight in Marseille, and is an easy walk from the Old Port area.

Read all about it in Perfectly Provence!

Part-Time Living Abroad

Have you ever dreamed of living abroad, sipping a glass of wine in a charming café, or maybe on a sandy beach?

It sounds appealing, but it’s hard to pick up stakes and move to a foreign land. Who wants to leave their friends and family behind? And what about doctors and dentists and all that?

One way to have the best of both worlds is to live abroad just part of the time, becoming a part-time expat. That’s what Val and I do, and recently International Living Magazine convened a panel of part-time expats to discuss their experiences.

I was honored to be one of the panelists, along with others who make their overseas homes in Mexico, Panama, and Costa Rica. If you’d like to hear what we had to say, just follow this link.

Happy dreaming!

Secrets of St-Rémy #1: The Must-See Sights

Val and I live part of the year in St-Rèmy-de-Provence, a charming town between Marseille and Avignon. I’ve written a guidebook about the area, An Insider’s Guide to Provence, where I share some of our favorite things to see and do. Now I’ve put together a series of articles I call Secrets of St-Rémy, based on that book.

I think the best part of St-Rémy is just wandering its winding streets, but there are three sights I recommend that every visitor see—the outdoor market; the asylum where Vincent van Gogh was treated, combined with the van Gogh walk; and the Roman sites of Glanum and les Antiques.

Let me tell you more about them in My French Life!

The Underground Wonders of Bruoux

What has 40 kilometers of underground corridors, orange walls, and used to grow mushrooms? If you guessed the ochre mines of Bruoux, you win!

The Luberon Valley in Provence is famous for its ochre. It was mined here for centuries and a walk through the brilliantly-colored quarries of Roussillon or Rustrel is like walking through a rainbow. At Bruoux, rather than carving out the side of a mountain, the miners dug straight in, creating tall corridors hundreds of meters long.

You can take a guided tour of the mines that is about an hour long and just fascinating.

Read all about it in The Good Life France!

10 Favorites of St-Rémy

Val and I live part of the year in St-Rémy-de-Provence, and we’ve explored lots of the town’s nooks and crannies. I was asked to write about my ten favorite things to see and do here, which is hard because there are a lot more than ten! But I did my best and came up with ten favorites. If you ever have the chance to visit St-Rémy, they might become yours as well!

Read all about it in Frenchly!

Roman Provence–Where to Begin?

Way back around 50 B.C., Julius Caesar conquered Gaul (now France), and the area remained part of the Roman Empire for centuries. As a result, Roman ruins are all over France, but the best ones are in and around Provence. In fact, ‘Provence’ comes from the Latin ‘Provincia Romana,’ the name of the large Roman province along the Mediterranean coast.

For history buffs or anyone who would like to see some amazing sights, Provence is a wonderland. It has Roman arenas and amphitheatres, aqueducts and bridges, and ruins galore.

With all this to visit, where do you start?

If you have a limited appetite for Roman history, you might want to visit just Nîmes or Arles, as they each have plenty of Roman highlights. But don’t visit both, as their major sights are similar. I’ve written a comparison of the two cities, so you can decide with one is best for you.

Read all about it in Perfectly Provence!

 

My New Book!

Val and I live part of the year in the charming village of St-Rémy-de-Provence. It’s in a delightful spot at the foot of the Alpilles Mountains, between Avignon and Arles. There are lots of great things to see and do in the area.

I’ve just had a new guidebook published, An Insider’s Guide to St-Rémy-de-Provence and the Surrounding Area. It’s the first guidebook dedicated just to this part of Provence, so I think it fills a need.

If you have friends who will be coming this way, please let them know about my book! It’s available on Amazon.

An Easy Biking Route in the Luberon Valley

Val and I love to bike in Provence, but we’re not fanatics or anything. Flat routes are just fine with us, and one of our favorites is in the Luberon Valley.

It’s what is known as a voie verte, or greenway, and is built where there used to be railroad tracks, so it is nice and flat.

There is a lot to see along the way, besides the stunning natural beauty. You pass a cute little train station (no longer in use), and just beyond it is a Neolithic burial chamber you can explore. Further on is a 2,000 year old Roman bridge that was still used by cars until a few years ago! It’s a great spot for a picnic.

If you are feeling ambitious, you can go off the voie verte and puff up a hill to one of our favorite cafés, with fabulous views across the valley.

Read all about it in Perfectly Provence!