My college roommate–let’s call him James for privacy’s sake–grew up to be wealthy, famous, and good-looking. I appear to have escaped all three of these fates.
When he recently invited me to spend a few days with him at his apartment in Cannes, I readily accepted. Thus I will be spending the first week in June in the south of France, also known as Provence (click on map above).
It’s called Provence because it was the first province of Rome beyond the Alps. Indeed, some people say the best-preserved Roman ruins in the world are there. I’ve seen my share of these gorgeous ruins in Israel, Turkey, Greece, Slovenia, as well as in Rome itself (take that, James!), so I’ll let you know.
Prior to the Roman conquest, Hannibal marched the armies of Carthage through Provence on their way to Italy. I don’t expect to see any elephants, but again, I’ll let you know.
Rome eventually collapsed, as did the marauding Germanic tribes that succeeded them. After being ruled by the Counts of Provence for over 600 years, the area became part of France in 1486. Like Sicily, Catalonia, and Brooklyn, Provence has a distinct cultural and linguistic identity.
I’ll land in Marseilles, drive to Cannes, and soak up some sun. First stop after that: the hill town of Grasse, the world’s perfume capital. The factories there are older than America. After that I’ll turn west to explore towns and cathedrals built in the Middle Ages.
Thanks for joining me.