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The "Other" South of France

We go away to the South of France almost every summer, and sometimes in the spring or fall too if we're extra lucky. I know, I can almost hear your eyes rolling. This sounds so fancy, so pretentious, so braggy....but let us show you the "other" South of France. No disrespect to Brigitte Bardot, but there is more to the Cote d'Azur than huge yachts and blingy beaches.

Stephane, Castel's owner/President/my husband, is blessed with a family house in an area called Castellaras near Cannes and Mougins. (Hence our company name!) This region of France is called the Alpes Maritimes, and you really can see the Mediterranean and the Alps from most vantage points. Fantastique!

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As typical New Yorkers, we are busy, busy, so the best part about being in France is that the pace is sloooow. In the best way. I am an adopted Francophile, and one of the best things I have learned about the French is their way of life... their manners, their customs, their style of life! Of course, the French have earned a few other reputations as well, like, they are always right. (But we will save this topic for another post.) I think the phrase, "stop and smell the roses" must have originated in the South of France. Simple pleasures abound, and the people there really celebrate the natural beauty and tastes bestowed upon them. Locals go to the beaches regularly, sip the native rosé year round, harvest fruity local olive oil and honeys, bake the best baguettes (sorry, Paris) stroll the village markets, and spend tons of time outdoors.



One of our favorite villages to visit is Gourdon. DSC00700This tiny medieval village has been around since the 9th century, and not much has changed architecturally. Perched at the top of a mountain, the panoramic views of the area are magnificent. The cobbled streets make for a great afternoon of meandering and shopping for local wares. Our IMG_2272"must stop" spot is Saint Catherine. This small corner shop is like a stone grotto filled with homemade honeys, jams, olive oils, sausage, cheese, soaps, perfumes, hand carved olive wood bowls, jars of tapendades, lavender sachets, bags of dried herbes de provence.... the list goes on and on, and our basket gets heavier and heavier! We often stock up on gifts for friends here, and too often we dip into the bounty before we have had a chance to share the wealth.


the kids enjoying their ice cream les glaces in Gourdon

Stay tuned for more off the path South of France destinations...

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