A top-notch European road-trip requires less effort than you might think.

A sense of adventure and an open mind certainly help, as does a willingness to try new foods, wines, sights, and smells.  It should not, contrary to what most folks believe, require a tremendous amount of money.

With a little advance planning you too can be tooling around Europe, your next adventure just around the corner.

Airline Tickets:
The first rule of thumb is to try to be as flexible as possible when it comes to your travel dates.  Off-season travel will always be cheaper than in high season.

When booking flights I always start with Kayak.


Because Kayak displays sample pricing for the entire month, not just a single day.  This allows the savvy traveler to pinpoint the cheapest days of travel for any given month.  Don’t think that’s helpful?  Just try finding the cheapest travel days in the month on your own.  My guess is it will take you, oh…. about 30 to 31 separate searches.

This is as easy as it gets but most people just can’t seem to pack lightly.

What does “packing lightly” mean exactly?

Well, I checked with corporate headquarters on this one and according to the Le Stuff International Guidelines For Light Packing Continue reading

Casa Mare in Old Antibes

My wife and I recently visited our beautiful Norwegian friend, Maren, who happens to live in the best house on the best street in Antibes.  She has spent the past several years tirelessly renovating a spectacular five bedroom home, Casa Mare, in the old town’s Safranier-district.

I was eager to see the results of her hard work so I rang her up and within seconds my irresistible charm succeeded in wrangling a private tour.

Pas mal, n’est pas?

Casa Mare is situated on what must be one of the most charming streets in the south of France, the Rue du Bas Castelet. With brimming flower boxes and eager vines stretching across a narrow walkway, the pedestrian-only avenue could easily double as a movie set.

The house fits perfectly into this idyllic setting.

Each of the bedrooms is decorated, with hand-made furniture no less, in soothing neutral tones evoking a simple, effortless style.  Heavy wooden ceiling beams and original rustic floor tiles add a comfortable authenticity to contemporary Casa Mare.  All rooms are equipped with Continue reading

Sold: L’Auberge de Tourrettes

It seems one of my favorite spots in the south of France, The Auberge de Tourrettes, has been sold and is now under new management.

The news hit me like a ton of croissants.

Village view from the the back terrace

The Auberge has held the top spot on my “favorites” list for many years.
This small property on the outskirts of the village of Tourrettes sur Loup has housed my wedding guests, organized superb wine tastings, and provided me with countless delicious meals and glasses of wine.

I always looked forward to a quiet dinner on the small terrace with the ever-present aroma of fresh flowers and the sublime view of the Mediterranean across the broad Loup Valley.

Will it ever be the same?

Will the new owners continue to operate with the same attention to detail and service?

I’ll try to let you know soon….

Still No Plans For Ringing In The New Year?

For those of you completely unaffected by the recent recession (surely a very small group) and without any plans for ringing in the new year, I strongly suggest reserving your spot now at L’Abbaye, a converted tenth century abby in the small town of La Colle sur Loup in the south of France.

A comfy double room with dinner for two on New Years Eve (with breakfast the following morning) can be yours for the paltry sum of 390 Euros (details below in French).

And why, Mr. Blog Man (that’s me), should I travel so far to spend an evening at L’Abbaye? Continue reading

A weekend in Turin, Italy

Turin is one of the great underrated cities of Europe.

Elegant and sophisticated, this northern Italian town on the Po River has much to offer.  Visitors can expect delicious food, substantive wines, ample shopping, and graceful architecture.

For those considering a long weekend in “The Capital of the Alps” I have two recommendations.

Where to stay:
Grand Hotel Sitea
Centrally located with large, modern rooms, the Grand Hotel Sitea is a solid choice for a weekend stay.  Enjoy a VERY generous breakfast buffet each morning before heading out to explore the town, and at the end of the day, the hotel bar is perfect for unwinding.
Via Carlo Alberto, 35
10123 Torino, Italy
+39 011 517 0171

Where to hang out:
Cafe Florio

Founded in 1870, Cafe Florio is
the place to stop in for a drink, pastries, chocolates, cakes, tea, or anything else under the sun you might have a craving for.  The service is friendly and the atmosphere is “molto” chic.
8 Via Po
Torino, Italy 10122
Tel: +39 011 817 0612


Quick Visit: Tourrettes sur Loup, France

I recently posted a few lines about one of my favorite places in the south of France, the Auberge de Tourrettes. One of the many things that makes the Auberge so special is that it’s located at the edge of one of the most picturesque villages in the area, Tourrettes sur Loup.
Listed below are a few helpful facts.


Population: 3,921
Altitude: 400 meters

Tourrettes sur Loup is located five kilometers west of the town of Vence, and approximately forty minutes from the Nice airport.  Literally hanging off the side of a cliff, this beautiful village is well known for producing more violets than anywhere else in France.  A good place to start your tour is Continue reading

Favorite Places: L’Auberge de Tourrettes

View from the terrace

I want to tell you about one of my favorite places in the south of France.

It is a calming, simple place.
It is a small country inn with eight rooms and an excellent restaurant.
The rooms are understated, clean, and comfortable.
The bathrooms are large.
There is no air-conditioning.
It is very quiet at night.
It is the Auberge de Tourrettes.

The Hotel Rex in Nice

The Carlton it is not, but if you need a stylish, comfortable, and spotlessly clean room while in Nice, the Hotel Rex is an outstanding value.  Ideally located just steps from the recently renovated Place Massena, this tiny, 2nd floor hotel is a delight.  The beach and old town are a quick five minute walk away, Internet hook-up is available by the front desk, and the owners are very nice (they’ll be happy to make restaurant suggestions and even call in a reservation if needed).

Caveat: You have to walk through a front building and up several flights of stairs to get to the Rex, so beware if you’re carrying a lot of luggage.

Rooms from 40 Euros per night.
3 Rue Massena
06000 Nice, France