Just as there’s a delta where Louisiana meets
the Gulf of Mexico, so too is there a rich delta where the two arms
of the Rhone River of France reaches the Mediterranean. It is
technically reclaimed land that creates a nature reserve where white
horses run free and black bulls are bred to run through the streets
or to fight in an arena. At the edge of the great Roman city of
Arles the flat, marshy marsh is the stage of salt flats, flamingos,
black bulls, white wild horses and a colorful population.
|South East of Montpellier through the new modern
We arrived at the
walled city of Aigues Mortes which is the place from where many
crusaders sailed to meet the foe in the Middle East. This ancient
city with a perfectly perpendicular design boasts a Tourist office
with a great deal of information, great restaurants and a wide
variety of souvenirs. Walking along the great wall is like walking
into history. While the city was once a port, it is now a fair
distant from the sea.
From there, our destination was Arles, that great Roman
outpost and a city connected with Van Gogh. But it was on the way to Arles
that we drove through the great salt flat delta called the Camargue.
The area which is the Delta of the Rhone is a wide expanse
of marshland. Beside the rice patties and salt flats, the horizon is dotted
with wild white horses that roam the marshy grasslands and the herds of
black fighting bulls. This is a cowhand’s dream and many of the ranchers are
gypsies who round up the animals as the wild flamingoes scatter.
It’s a visual masterpiece and a place to relax. Once you
get to Arles, life changes. Here the legacy of ancient Rome includes a
magnificent Coliseum and many other ruins. I suggest a stay here for a few
days, just to get a feel for the area. From there I headed east towards
Avignon, another gem for tourists with time on their hands.
ON TO NICE…The Big Olive
A major city on the Cote d’Azure with modern hotels, a new
airport built out over the sea, and that southern feeling of hospitality is
Nice. The city has grown in my lifetime but while it’s often crowded, it is
a city with a charm of its own, a style, a history and a Mecca for lovers of
While the city does boast a Museum of Modern art, the two
smaller museums, dedicated to Matisse and Chagall’s Biblical works are what
I’ve been there in summer when it’s warm but doable and
during the winter when it’s more comfortable than I imagined. Then, as the
winter wanes, the local population puts on one of the most elaborate
flowered float parades I have ever seen. Its Mardi Gras, French style. You
will long remember this event.
I was very surprised at the wonderful dining room setting
at Flo just behind the Galleries Lafayette. This one time movie theatre was
converted into a restaurant where the kitchen was built on the stage so the
patrons can watch the hustling chefs from what used to be the main theatre
seating sections. The gold leaf and paintings create a novel and
sophisticated eating place with a four star rating.
Nice has still remnant of the Russian heritage when the
feet was moored at nearby Villefranche and the inhabitants built a great
Russian Orthodox Cathedral, now open to the public.
Along the water there are sandy beaches and a boardwalk
called the Promenade Des Anglais. There are other sites not to be missed.
Chagall’s Biblical Art has a building of its own with paintings that are
alive. Matisse also is featured in Nice’s northern superb.
There are many good hotels but for an experience of a
lifetime I recommend the great Negresco Hotel, expensive but worth the cost.
For more information, the Tourist Office is located at the
train station. Ask about the villages above Nice and about the many spots to
visit on Cap Ferat, just on the opposite side of the harbor. Eat at a harbor
restaurant and visit the Jean Cocteau church on the bay. But don’t leave
before you visit the Rothschild Mansion on Cap Ferat. It’s a reminder of a
long lost age.
From Montpelier to Villefranche is a perfect holiday
Even if you stop to see the sights it’s a perfect two week
holiday unless you want more time on the beach.
You can Contact Professor Arnie Greenberg at:
Over the past few years, Professor
Greenberg has traveled with groups to France, Italy, Spain, Greece,
Budapest, Vienna, Salzburg, Prague and both Sorrento and the Bay of
Naples plus most of Sicily. His tours traveled to the far reaches of the
globe including Italy and most of
China (Beijing -Hong Kong) and to Russia where his group cruised the waters
from St.Petersburg to Moscow.
"He took a group to Greece and another to northern
Russia. In Nov 07 he took a tour group to much of India and ended his tour
groups by revisiting France. He now travels with his wife and friends. They
winter in Argentina or San Miguel Mexico. His newly found spare time
is taken up with his painting and writing. "I must write every day." His
current work is a cautionary manual for would-be tour leaders.. "So
You Want To Be A Tour Leader."
Arnie now travels with friends. He continues writing
Travel articles about unusual places but often concentrates on novel
writing. Two books based on French Art will be published this year.
Keep reading his web for travel ideas. His next
novel HELLSTORM'S Folly,
will be available this fall. He now
lives in British Columbia.
www.top-travel-ideas.com or contact him directly at
(More about the writer.)