Folks who know how much we travel, often ask us which are our favorite destinations, what are the most memorable hotels we’ve stayed in and where did we have the most wonderful meals during our travels. The answers change from time to time as we garner yet more memories and because of the old phenomenon my Grandma characterized with the expression—“When I’m not near the one I love, I love the one I’m near.” (Granny was a pistol.)
All that said, there are some places that stand out most clearly in our memories and always rise to the top when we answer. Why these places are our favorites has a lot to do with what we value most in general. Here’s the list:
We love water—not necessarily beaches upon which to sunbathe, etc. but water to look at, to see boats floating in, to support a harbor, etc. Coincidentally, we love small fishing villages with colorful boats, salty characters and rustic surroundings.
We like beautiful flowers and gardens and places with oodles of charm and coziness, e.g. though I’d never have them in my modern home, I love the infinite variety of lace curtains that adorn the windows of so many countryside homes in Normandy and Brittany.
We love food and wine and sitting in cafes after walking for hours—or at least for a half hour since our last stop during our walk.
We enjoy architecture and buildings whether old (Val’s preference) or new (mine) but we prefer exteriors to interiors.
We like small, charming hotels or very trendy, modern ones in the new stripped down, minimalist style.
We aren’t big museum fans (though we’ve been to many memorable ones) and we certainly aren’t keen on spending hours visiting the interior of a famous old building to learn the origin of every piece of furniture in the place. We aren’t super active, go, go, go folks and we don’t look for active sporty things to do. And we’re certainly not shoppers. If we’re strolling by a market or a shop window and spot something interesting we might stop and look and maybe even enter and buy, but we aren’t big-time shoppers who shop for the shear joy of shopping.
With that in mind, here are our favorite places. We’ll follow with more posts about each of them explaining why they made the list.
Honfleur on the Normandy coast,
Cassis where the Riviera meets Provence,
Positano on the Amalfi Coast, (did I mention that we like water?),
Barcelona, the Costa Brava and Northern Spain,
and the Northern Italian Lakes.
For Hotels:, we are especially partial to:
Hotel Parc St. Severin in Paris,
and the Palace Hotel in Bucaco, Portugal, (for which I unfortunately cannot find a picture)
and for Restaurants and food:
Corte Sconta in Venice,
the Bouchons of Lyon and Bistros of Paris with old-fahsioned classics like Saucisson Chaude with lentils,
and piles and piles of seafood in Brittany.
The lists and the pictures could go on and on. And they will because the impending series of posts is designed to provide you an introduction to our favorite places from which we intend to build as we travel, dine and post some more. I hope it whets your appetite for our posts and our pictures.