Ambling Among Antiquities

After a hectic week marking three hundred odd copies, I had a strong desire to prendre l’air and escape the city for a few hours. I didn’t fancy travelling far and after debating the various merits of a few nearby towns I settled on Vienne, which many moons ago was a hub of the Roman Empire under Julius Caesar. The lively town centre is filled with winding streets, squares bordered with cafés and traces of the Roman era.

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Back in the Big Smoke

As things turned out, I found myself back in the UK rather sooner than expected – for an assessment centre, the part of recruitment processes that us millennials all love to hate. (As far as these things go it was an enjoyable day, though I did feel rather brain-drained afterwards!) Since I had to reschedule things in order to attend, I found myself with a day in London to fill beforehand and promptly arranged to meet up with my mum (during the day) and Laurence (once he’d finished work).

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Châteaux and Chemins

Ambérieu-en-Bugey is a sleepy commune some fifty kilometres north-east of Lyon. Bound by the Rhône to the south and the Jura to the north, the Bugey is a region steeped in history – and the castles perched on the hilltops around Ambérieu-en-Bugey are no exception. In late November, Olivier spontaneously suggested a walk in the Bugey to see some of the region’s castles and the autumnal colours (which, for the most part, had unfortunately been and gone) and I was only too happy to swap the city for the countryside for a day!

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Marseille, Mon Amour

All too soon, our time in Marseille was drawing to a close and it was time to bid farewell to the merveilles of Marseille. (How is it that time always speeds up when you’re on holiday?) After packing up our belongings and making the obligatory stop at a nearby boulangerie to pick up breakfast essentials (and some extra supplies for Laurence’s flight), we set off on foot to explore Marseille’s street art scene.

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Under the Provençal Sun

On All Saint’s Day – known in France as La Toussaint – we ventured out of Marseille once again, this time to Aix-en-Provence. It’s the epitome of classy, understated chic: leafy boulevards studded with fountains, sunshine-hued buildings with wrought iron balconies and an undeniable Belle Époque aura.

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Les Calanques Me Manquent

More often than not, the mention of the French Riviera conjures up images of the famous faces of yesteryear sunning themselves in Saint Tropez, the world-renowned Festival de Cannes (Cannes Film Festival) and Mr Moneybags’ playground, Monaco. Glitzy goings-on aside, the Mediterranean coast is home to a wealth of impressive natural landscapes. Stretching from Marseille, France’s second city, to Cassis, a scenic fishing port, the Parc National des Calanques is one of the most beautiful stretches of coastline I have ever set eyes on.

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Misleading Martigues

Knowing that Sundays in France are on par with bank holidays – in the sense that they’re hardly a hive of activity – we decided to take a little jaunt along the coast to Martigues. Nicknamed ‘The Venice of Provence’, the accolades were stacked high in Martigues’ favour and we felt an urge to see it for ourselves.

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