• Carmen Holley

Meet Me in Monaco


2019 Goals

As I reflect over the months of 2018, I am making a list of goals for 2019. As a travel agent, I want to become certified with certain travel companies, become certified in Scuba, continue flying lessons, endorse luggage on Sweet Magnolia Travel’s website…; none of which I am sure qualifies for New Year Goals for the reason that they do not make me a better person, only more a more skilled person. But Ralph did say, "Make the most of yourself, for that is all there is of you." -Ralph Waldo Emerson. The only thing that might make me a better person is to give up wine and coffee, and I don’t see that happening.


Adventures make me happy. I think about where I want to travel; where to start?! I have decided on a tour of Paris 6/23- 6/30/2019; Beaune - Pont Du Gard - Avignon - Aix - En -Provence- birthplace of Cézanne, Versailles, Aix - En -Provence and Monaco. An 8 day trip for $4587 with roundtrip flight from Columbia, SC to Nice, France; meals and other means of transport included. Come with me! The more people going, the more the trip fare is reduced.


Fascinating to me is The Pont du Gard, a Roman aqueduct, which is the first foreign conquest as ancient Rome set about building its vast empire; an impressive example of engineering in their first province built around 19 BC. It is one of the most remarkable surviving Roman ruins anywhere; the structure is built with perfectly cut stones fitted together without mortar so that water could flow effortlessly into the city of Nimes; about nine million gallons of water per day! Anyone appreciate a drink of water that doesn’t have to be carried into the house from the stream in a bucket as much as me?


Avignon charms visitors with its ancient streets, restored medieval ramparts and the immense Gothic architecture of the Palais des Papes or the Palace of the Popes, established in the 14th century. The Carthusian monastery, founded in 1356, is an important landmark found in Avignon, along with Pont Saint-Benezet, another symbol of the city; the first bridge across the Rhone River was built in 1185. The Little Palace museum boasts Renaissance paintings. Perhaps the most vibrant place in the Papal City – Place de l’Horloge – is also worthy of a visit. Here one will find an attraction called Manège Pour Enfants, the gorgeous opera house Opéra Grand d’Avignon. Another popular square in the Papal City, “Place Pie”, which attracts everyone who loves creativity. It is here that creative young people gather and make music. The annual Festival d'Avignon, a major arts festival, attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors for theater, dance, film and street performances.


Well-known as the city of art and lights, Aix or Aix-en-Provence, is known for its thermal hot springs, art schools and universities. Paul Cézanne, a French painter, attended art school here. He is ascribed to post-impressionism and considered a fundamental influence for 20th and 21st-century art. Born in the city of Aix-en-Provence, France, on January 19, 1839, he died in the same city on October 22, 1906. During his life, Paul Cézanne did not receive much recognition. In his last decades, he developed asocial tendencies and preferred to isolate himself to paint. His work was later praised by the expressionist movement. Paul Cézanne is credited with the phrase:

“When I judge art, I take my picture and put it next to an object that is the work of God, like a tree or a flower. If out of tune, it is not art.”

One of my favorite Cézannepaintings is “Still Life with Compotier”, in which he paints in degrees of materiality: the opaque, the transparent, as well as the atmospheric, with values of directional brushstrokes that make the fantasy more provocative than the live version of the still life. I am sure it to be inspired by and in tune with the work of God.


We’ll take a short drive from Aix to Versailles, where a guided visit to the impressive Palace and Gardens will be included. The original residence was primarily a hunting lodge and private retreat for Louis XIII, 1610–1643, with his family.


We will continue along the Route du Soleil and enjoy views of chateaux before entering the Burgundy vineyards. The Bourgogne vineyards extend 140 miles from north to south, from Auxerre to Macon, and offer a large diversity of wines, which are among the most famous in the world. The individual areas of vineyard are called Climats.


Next, we will arrive in Beaune, wine capital of the region, and enjoy a wine tasting at the renowned Marché aux Vins wine cellar. We’ll have time to stroll around in this pretty town. We’ll see the Notre Dame Baslica and visit the famous HÔTEL-DIEU, which was originally built as a hospital for the poor. The Hôtel-Dieu de Paris founded by Saint Landry in 651 AD is the oldest hospital in the city of Paris, France. It still resides on the bank of the Ile dela Cite, next to Notre-Dame, connected to the "Rive Gauche" by the pont au Double. Although the facility had been ravaged by disastrous fires on several occasions, the two buildings of the facility were originally built in the 7th and 17th centuries. It was built as a symbol of charity and hospitality. It was the only hospital in Paris until the Renaissance.


Monaco's name comes from the nearby 6th-century BC Greek colony. Its name bears the sense of a people either settled in a "single habitation" or of "living apart" from others. According to an ancient myth, Hercules passed through the Monaco area and turned away from previous gods. As a result, a temple was constructed there, the temple of Hercules Monoikos and known as the "House" of Hercules. It ended up in the hands of the Holy Roman Empire, which gave it to the Genoese. An ousted branch of a Genoese family, the Grimaldi, contested it for a hundred years before actually gaining control. Though the Republic of Genoa would last until the 19th century, they allowed the Grimaldi family to keep Monaco, who still reigns to this day.

It is interesting that because Monaco is situated between the French Riviera and Italy, each within a 16 mile radius, we can have breakfast in France, lunch in Monoco and dinner in Italy, all within the same day!

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