As promised, a post dedicated to the most ancient pharmaceutical workshop in the world. Santa Maria di Novella in Florence is well known for its natural products from local herbs since 1612 and for producing the first perfume worldwide for Catherine de Medici. Now their vast collection includes from soaps and perfumes to facial skincare and wax. And the list is long. Being crazy about it ever since I came across their products at at El.Marnieri gallery, I couldn’t help but paying a visit at its historical and charming building in Florence when I traveled there.
The last part of my roadtrip included a stop over at Montlucon and then the town of Annecy in the Rhône-Alpes region of France and the passage underneath Mont-Blanc mountain to Milan and Bergamo, Italy.
XXIIth century Saint-Peter’s church in Montlucon is one of the most striking Romanesque edifices I’ve ever seen, due to its authentic simplicity and those imposing round piles to support the bell tower.
The charming lake Annecy surrounded by mountains, laced with canals and flower-covered bridges.
Mont-Blanc is white indeed -its name resulted from its snow-capped mountain peaks throughout the year.
The food at 7367 restaurant in Annecy.
Alta Citta in Bergamo, an almost untouched medieval city.
The cold fish soup at Vineria Cozzi.
The yard at 10 Corso Como and the most impressive collections on display. Byredo “Bohemia” candle came home with me.
Crossing the Loir Valley with all the memorable medieval and renaissance chateaux of the area around the river, was definitely one of the best parts of my roadtrip.
The gardens and the labyrinth at Chateau de Chenonceau are competing in beauty the main building with the arches
and the lush rooms.
The black mourning bedroom of Louise of Lorraine was enchanting, decorated with feathers (from the old French word “penne”, meaning sorrow), silver tears, grave-diggers shovels, widows’ cordons and crowns of thorns after her husbands assassination.
The local methode champenoise is the best sparkling wine outside Champagne.
Cheese again and again. I think I’ve tried every type of chevre that exists out there.
The duck salad at Le pot de Lapin.
Breathtaking view from the castle of Chinon.
The painteresque medieval town of Saumur, built by the river, and its charming chateau.
The countryside and the routes alongside the Loir river is something that cannot be missed.
Τhe most remote and Western part I visited in France was this small island in Brittany, where the ocean meets the sky for ever and nothing stands between Europe and America but water. Belle-ile en Mer is a quiet paradise
for those who love nature and the wild face of the Atlantic.
The seafοod is absolutely amazing. Oysters and clams and crabs and fish. And vegetables and chevre. Everyday.
Port-Cotton: Where the sea water smashes fifty meters below your feet roaring and charging on the rocks, turning into a velvet foam that climbs to the ground. Every burden is blown away by the winds, that only herbs and seagulls can abide. Undefined nostalgia, food for the soul.
The weather: In three minutes time the summer sun may disappear and the water becomes silver while a storm straight from the atlantic is on its way.
The low tide lets you walk on the sea bed. Literally. Water recedes living boats, seaweed, clams and medusas lying on the sand.
Hydrangeas are big like trees but not as pretty as the wild flowers in the woods.
I’ve never seen anything like that night sky.
From Aix en Provence to Cahors and Bordeaux:
Aix is unexpectedly pretty. The Musee Granet hosts a magnificent permanent collection, as well as the temporary collection “Cezanne et la Modernite” in collaboration with the Pearlman Institution until October, dedicated to impressionism and post-impressionism artists.
Shopping: Intimoda boutique
Loved “L’ epicerie” restaurant at Place des trois ormeaux. I tried the fillet de boef Rossini and the lemon tart,
The area around Bordeaux is known for -what else- wines. A couple of wine tasting strolls were on my menu.
Small village Cahors is world wide known for its fine Malbec. Pilgrimage shells are found all around, showing the way.
More wine tasting at Bordeaux. Fine food e v e r y w h e r e. Fresh pasta and tons of prosciutto at “Chez Peppone”.
I felt that small at Dune du Pilat: Europe’s largest dune is located at Arcachon and it’s spectacular.