Chanel was four months old when I embarked on my first journey as a mother. I had made a number of trips to Europe over the last decade so it was a familiar destination for me. Except, now I was going to do it with a baby- a completely helpless and totally dependent, tiny being. I was taking my mom, as well, but she had only traveled to the continent as a girl, my French is minimal, I had never driven there (as I was always the navigator) and had only been to Provence once. But, I had been longing to return to my favourite country and could not resist…

Taking a deep breath, we hopped into our rental car and drove to our idyllic gite (French holiday rental) situated in the countryside near Vaison la Romaine in the north western corner of Provence. http://www.domaineducrestet.com/domaine-du-crestet-en.htm The quintessential provencal mas (old stone farmhouse) overlooked a vineyard, pool and rocky beds of lavender. Daily, we explored via car, foot and baby carriage the surrounding villages, markets and cobblestoned streets. We wandered the streets of Seguret, Sablet and Gigondas in the Cotes du Rhone wine region; drove down to Abbaye de Senanque and my favourite village, Gordes, in the Vaucluse; wondered at the ancient Roman theatre of Orange and spent hours at the incredible street market of Vaison la Romaine. Chanel giggled, cooed and snoozed while mom and I gorged on olives, devoured fresh baguettes and consumed a ridiculous amount of fabulous French cheese…

Once our week was over we drove down to charming Arles for a three night stay at a little hotel within the historic heart of town http://www.lecalendal.com. From there we moved on to the coast, our first stop being adorable seaside Cassis. We had a lovely stay at a serene hotel http://www.hotelmahogany.com with beautiful views over the Mediterranean Sea. We took a boat into the Calanques (steep-walled coves), enjoyed seafood on the harbour front and played on the beach. Next, to my favourite spot on the Riviera ~ St. Tropez… We booked a sleek room at a cool place http://www.hotel-b-lodge.com/en and for three days soaked up the atmosphere over morning coffee, afternoon cocktails and delightful dinners on the pastel-coloured harbour. We admired gorgeous boats, glamourous people and the chic village before reluctantly departing but promising to return one day…The last stop was Villefranche-sur-Mer, tucked between Nice and Monaco. From here we enjoyed the last bit of the Cote d’Azur, harrowing drives on the Moyenne and Grande Corniches with my precious bebe in the back seat (sorry, mom, but it was really fun!) and pain au chocolats.

It was a fabulous trip; I recall being so proud of my littlest travel companion and with myself for continuing on with one of the great passions of my life ~ travel.

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