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AIX-EN-PROVENCE :: NICE :: PARIS
Founded in 123 BC, beautiful Aix is a quintessential Provencal town where aromas of fresh herbs and lavender fill the air. Here you'll discover an atmospheric city center that's a showcase of Roman architecture, colorful flower markets, and Belle Epoque brasseries serving signature Aixoise cuisine. Shaded Cours Mirabeau, one of the world's most beautiful boulevards, beckons with its rococo fountains and historic cafés once frequented by artist Cézanne. Explore the Mazarin Quarter with its opulent mansions, and the Cathedral of the Holy Savior, where Romanesque, gothic, and Merovingian architecture exist side by side…and when evening falls, immerse yourself in the city's vibrant nightlife.
Monograms provides traveler's access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Aix-en-Provence, France. Our Local Host will ensure that you feel comfortable and welcomed while on vacation and help you maximize your time so you can enjoy Aix-en-Provence. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Aix-en-Provence and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Aix-en-Provence insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Sandy, was born in Aix en Provence. She has worked in tourism for the past eight years and as a local guide specializing in beautiful and historic Provence. She loves meeting Monograms guests and sharing information about her hometown.
Ask your Local Host for a walking route to view elegant homes, bell towers, and more of Aix's splendid fountains. It's easy to get around. Stop at a café and watch the world go by, in true French style.
Aix-en-Provence has always been associated with the sign of water and boasts a tradition of cures and treatments that date back to its foundation. Since the Romans, the natural hot spring waters have been renowned for therapeutic values. These modern thermal spas are on the site of Roman Aquae Sextiae’s springs, whose excavated remains are displayed beneath glass in the spa lobby.
Musée des Tapisseries, housed in the 17th-century Palais de l'Archevêché (Archbishop's Palace), showcases a sumptuous collection of tapestries that once decorated the bishops' quarters. Stop by Musée Estienne de Saint-Jean (Museum of Old Aix) to find an eclectic assortment of local treasures, from faïence and santons (terra-cotta figurines) to ornately painted furniture. Don’t miss the Musée Granet, once the Art School that granted Cézanne a second-place prize in 1856, now showcases eight of his paintings, as well as a nice collection of his watercolors and drawings. Also hanging in the galleries are works by Bonnard, Picasso, Klee, Rubens, David, and Giacometti.
In Aix there are as many markets as days in the week. From the vegetable market to the old book market, without forgetting the flower market, these animate the town with color and sound. They are to be found in the numerous squares of the town center and in the various “quartiers” of the town. The "big" markets of Aix take place in Place des Prêcheurs, Place de la Madeleine and in the surrounding areas. Your Local Host will have more information.
Calissons are a traditional French candy consisting of candied fruit paste (often melon & orange) and ground almonds, topped with a thin layer of Royal icing. Most of the world’s supply is made in the Provence region. Stop at Confiserie Bremond to taste these delectable sweets. Your Local Host will have all the details.
Bouillabaisse, the traditional fish stew, is delicious, with its origins in Marseille. Then there's boeuf-en-daube (beef), ratatouille (Mediterranean vegetables), and tapenade (olive paste). Sample Cote-de-Provence wine, and a glass of kir (white wine with blackcurrant liquor).
From soaps, to sachets, the Provence area is famous for lavender products and other perfumed goods. Colorful Provencal cloth items make splendid gifts, and the local faience pottery is well worth considering. Aix has some splendid boutiques if you want to treat yourself to a French fashion souvenir.
Nice, capital of the Côte d'Azur, is the largest city between Genoa and Marseille-and also one of the most ancient, dating back to Greek times. This sophisticated "Queen of the Riviera" is perfect for sun lovers since it boasts an average 300 days of sunshine per year. Enjoy a stroll along the 200-year-old Promenade des Anglais, which hugs the city's Mediterranean coastline. There are also plenty of sightseeing opportunities, including the Old Town, the colorful Cours Saleya Flower Market; the Matisse Museum with its outstanding collection of the great local artist's work; the Russian Orthodox Church, the oldest church of its kind outside Russia; and the archaeology museum and ruins of the Roman amphitheatre, public baths, and streets.
Monograms provides travelers access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Nice, France. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Nice and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Nice insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Hello, my name is Virginie and I look forward to welcoming you to the beautiful French Riviera. I was born in Nice and studied Art History at the University of Nice, spending one year in New York to perfect my English. I have been a professional guide here on the Riviera for eight years, I really love helping Monograms guests get to know the local culture and to enjoy themselves in this wonderfully relaxed Mediterranean atmosphere.
The Musée Matisse is a national museum devoted to the work of French painter Henri Matisse. It gathers one of the world’s largest collections of his works, tracing his artistic beginnings and his evolution through his last works. The museum, which opened in 1963, is located in the Villa des Arènes, a 17th-century villa in the neighborhood of Cimiez.
The Musée Archeologique de Nice-Cemenelum is located right on the site of the former Cemenelum, the hub of the Roman dominion in the region. The archeological findings excavated here range from tools to jewelry and everything in between (coins, pottery, sculptures) for a clear picture of the life of the ancient inhabitants.
In 1966, Marc Chagall gave 17 large canvases from his Biblical Messages series which included 5 versions of The Song of Songsto which form the heart of the museum. A second gift in 1972 brought all the preparatory sketches, so you see the complete work from conception to finish. More items were later added, making this the largest collection of his work.
A short walk from the Old Town, Colline du Chateau,offers a maze of greenery, a lovely waterfall, and magical views over Baie des Anges, Old Nice and the Port. You can reach the top in an Art-Deco lift or take the steps (escalier Lesage).
Climb to the top of the hill to find a heavily wooded area that is a protected national park, with walking trails and extraordinary views of the city and the ocean.
Every day, except Mondays, there is a colorful food and flower market at Cours Saleya, the famous promenade in the South-West part of Vieux Nice. Food stalls are also at Place Pierre-Gautier, a square adjacent to Cours Saleya which is surrounded by cafes and impressive monumental old buildings. Enjoy the aroma of fresh fruit, vegetables, bread and all kinds of delicacies. On Mondays, the area becomes an antiques market.
Don’t miss Galeries Lafayette, a department store brimming with treasures, or the chic Rue Paradis, with many of Nice’s international designer stores. Also stop by the small boutiques displaying craftwork and Provençal fabrics in the Old City, or the jewelry shops on the Avenue de Verdun. Good buys include bags, scarves, perfumes, flower oils, soaps, colorful linens, and local pottery including the unique figurines Santons de Provence.
If you want to make the most of your sun-worshipping, it’s worth taking note of how the Baie des Anges is divided up. Much of its steep, pebbly shoreline (remember to pack some sandals) is open to the public at all times of the day, throughout the year. If you’d rather occupy a more exclusive patch of sunlight, you’ll need to pay the entrance fee on one of the private beaches.
When you’re ready for something sweet, there’s plenty of mouth-watering patisserie to tempt you. Or try crépes, with a wide variety of fillings both sweet and savory. France has over 400 varieties of cheese and remarkable wines to sample. Then there’s the Salade Nicoise, traditionally made with local olives, oil-cured tuna, and anchovies. Sip a pastis; it’s flavored with aniseed and is a specialty of southern France. Your Local Host will be pleased to assist you with more information about the local cuisine.
When it comes to Paris, words fail. No description or superlative comes close to capturing the magic of the inimitable "City of Light." It's not just the culture…or the history…or the people, architecture, or food. It's all of those things-plus, so much more. Whether it's day, night, winter, summer, spring, or autumn, in Paris, the very air feels enchanted. Certainly, few places have as many recognizable icons: Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe, Louvre and Notre Dame, which is celebrating its 850th anniversary of the cathedral. Whether you're shopping along the Champs-Élysées, cruising down the River Seine, taking in a cabaret show at the historic Moulin Rouge, strolling through the artist village of Montmartre, or simply basking in the city's je ne sais quoi at a sidewalk café, Paris will make a lasting impression on you.
Monograms provides traveler's access to a Local Host®, so you will have someone on hand to answer those vacation questions pertaining to Paris. Our Local Host will ensure that you feel comfortable and welcomed while on vacation and help you maximize your time so you can enjoy Paris. No waiting in line at the concierge desk or trying to ask your waitress at breakfast directions to the shopping district. Simply ask your Local Host® about Paris and you'll be on your way in no time. Plus, your Local Host® will share local Paris insights and share suggestions for getting off the beaten path, leaving you more time to create lasting vacation memories that are yours alone.
Hello, my name is Kenia. I am one of the Paris Monograms Hosts and really enjoy greeting Monograms' guests. I have lived in Paris for 15 years and it is a pleasure helping people to discover the city for the first time, or to enjoy a return visit. I still remember the first came I came to Paris, its stunning monuments, its elegance and its natural beauty really impressed me. There are fabulous art collections to discover, delightful restaurants, a romantic Seine cruise to admire the majesty of Paris, and the Eiffel Tower. We look forward to meeting you, we are always happy to make new friends.
Try a walking tour of the Montmartre district, where artists such as Picasso and Van Gogh worked. Visit the pristine, white-stone Sacré-Coeur Basilica which features one of the world's largest mosaics, and a massive 19-ton church bell. From the steps outside, enjoy wonderful views of the city and immerse yourself in the Parisienne joie de vivre (joy of life).
Stroll through centuries of artwork at the Musée d'Orsay, which houses an extensive collection of impressionist masterpieces by Monet, Degas, Renoir, and Cezanne. Drop by the Pompidou Center, an architectural wonder, to view the art movements represented such as Fauvism, Cubism, Surrealism and Abstract Expressionism.
Le Marais is one neighborhood that shouldn’t be missed. This area is full of charm, filled with smart and stylish boutiques, ethnic bakeries and eateries. Visitors can also explore the nearby Place des Vosges, a French National Heritage Site since 1954. Celebrated writer Victor Hugo’s home has been turned into a museum within the square.
Inspired by Boboli Gardens in Florence, the Jardin du Luxembourg contains over a hundred statues, monuments, and fountains. The gardens are featured prominently in Victor Hugo’s novel Les Misérables, and offer a variety of activities for children, such as puppets, rides, and slides.
In the Roaring 20s, this quirky bookstore on the Bohemian Left Bank was the meeting place for some of literature's greats, like Hemingway, Fitzgerald and Joyce. It continues to serve as a cultural magnet for struggling writers and visitors alike.
Find your favorite bridge, there are 37 and they are all different, from plain to gilded and from new to over 400 years old. Ask your Local Host how to reach beautiful Pont des Arts, which has become the “Lovers’ Bridge.”
Ask your Local Host how to get to the flea market for affordable objets d'art, or visit one of the food markets. See rainbows of fresh fruit and vegetables, soft palettes of bread and colossal wheels of cheese. And when you're ready for dessert, specialty stores abound -- from tarts and pastries to crêpes and pain au chocolat. Other specialties include onion soup with a fresh baguette, coq au vin (a classic chicken dish), croque-monsieur, quiche Lorraine, escargots, steak-frites and famous French wines and champagne.
Shop at haute couture boutiques on the Rue du Faubourg Saint Honoré, or on Avenue Montaigne. Use your included specially arranged discounts at the famous Galeries Lafayette, or check out the Printemps department store.
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