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If you are planning a trip to the south of France and the Cote d’Azur, the breathtakingly beautiful Ramatuelle, on the outskirts of St Tropez, is a real hidden treasure, with heavenly views of the Mediterranean, an absolute treat to meander through this medieval town. For music lovers, August is the moment to go there to catch the Jazz Ramatuelle (16th – 20th) and Les Nuits Classiques, this year celebrating the 30th edition, also in August.
A must in Nice is the Old Town with its amazing variety of charming little restaurants. Here you get a real sense of the Italian influence in this spectacular town, with so many excellent Italian spots, some, very reasonably priced. A divine pleasure for me is a meander along the Course Saleya charming flower market, with an amazing variety of truly magnificent blooms and parfumes. Great place to while away an hour and perhaps pick up a little bargain or two. Chagall Museum -unmissable. Nothing nicer than a morning visit followed by a relaxing lunch in the charming gardens of the open-air restaurant.
If you are heading towards the west coast of France, the beautiful island of Ile de Ré (off La Rochelle) is a gem, with its pretty little villages, stunning beaches, la Conche being my absolute favourite. Do visit St Martin en Ré, with its charming port aligned with numerous superb fish restaurants, or Bois Plage, where I had a delightful meal in the casual but elegant restaurant L’Ocean (30-60 euro). Also the Island is a paradise if you like cycling or walking.
Paris is my absolute favourite European city, a Capital that one has to visit, at least once in a lifetime. One would need a century to visit and enjoy the splendour and wonders that Paris has to offer. Best advice: do not try to cover too much, give yourself time to savour the cultural and historical sites, from Notre-Dame, to the Louvre, the Champs Elysée, the many splendid gardens. One of my great pleasures is a stroll, in Les Jardins du Luxembourg.
A visit to Paris for me would not be complete without a browse in Place des Vosges, and lunch or a coffee with French friends. If of course you really wish to spoil yourself for a moment do have a coffee/hot chocolate with a macaron in the famous Ladurée.
If you need some help with your French before going on holiday, we have a selection of summer courses on offer – click here
With a diploma in public relations, Nora CALLANAN is President of Alliance Française de Cork and Director of Cork French Film Festival. Thanks to her dedication and huge contribution in the artistic and cultural life of the city, Nora was awarded Chevalier des Palmes Académiques (1993) by the French Government, for initiating a Theatre and Education Programme (TIE) with Irish companies in French second-level schools. In 2007 she was awarded Officier de l’Ordre National du Mérite (2007) by the French Government for her work and achievements in fostering Franco-Irish bonds both in the cultural and educational field.