Tourist Channel (January 2023) – Saint-Paul de Vence (also called simply, Saint Paul) lies near Nice, between Cagnes-sur-Mer and Vence. St-Paul is a medieval village, and today it is a real mecca for artists, who have been coming here since 1920. Among others, Picasso, Dufy, Matisse, and Marc Chagall have stayed here and created their works. Chagall lived in St-Paul for 19 years and is buried in the local cemetery (on the right after entering the cemetery).
The village has also hosted world cinema stars, including Greta Garbo, Sophia Loren, and Catherine Deneuve. The artists usually spent the night in a hotel and restaurant called the Colombe d’Or, which is located in front of the walls of the old town. Apparently, the most famous of them paid for their stay in kind, leaving their works for the owner.
Tourist Channel (November 2022) – Riquewihr is a town located on the Alsace wine route, in eastern France. Its cobbled streets are dotted with half-timbered winemaker’s shops and tasting rooms. Winegrower’s tools and a restored kitchen are on display in the Maison de Vigneron, dating from the 16th century. The Dolder Tower from 1291 houses the Dolder Museum and centuries-old weapons.
The Tower of Thieves is a former prison from the 14th century where instruments of torture are kept. Between the Crêtes des Vosges and the plain of Alsace, Riquewihr is a medieval city, located in the heart of the Alsatian vineyard, classified among the “Most Beautiful Villages of France”.
Still Wanderer | Italy in 4k – Grottammare is a town on Italy’s Adriatic coast, in the province of Ascoli Piceno, Marche region. It receives over 500,000 tourists a year. The ‘Pearl of the Adriatic” in Marche, Grottammare is a medieval village beloved by Franz Liszt . In fact, every year around the second half of August, the Festival Liszt brings together pianists from all over the world
Saignon has the most distinctive outline of any Luberon village, with its rock squared off by nature as if to look from afar like an impregnable castle. It acts as a signpost high above the town of Apt, hence perhaps the name Saignon, which comes from signum, Latin for ‘sign’.
Saignon was like a look-out for danger riding along the valley towards Apt, and the church bells were the alarm. Because of this important role this was a privileged village and no fewer than three castles sprung up within its confines, built by three different lords, which when you look at the size of Saignon is truly remarkable. The wealth of the village 800 years ago can be seen in the architecture that still stands, and it is a lovely village to stroll around, with its winding narrow streets and fountains.
In the heart of Italy’s mountainous region of Abruzzo rests the small, ancient village of Calascio. Its picturesque streets with arched passages and stone houses convey its traditional Apennine setting while its centuries-old anchor, the fortification of La Rocca, adds historical significance to its location. Bathed by the Mediterranean sun in summer and blanketed by snow in the winter, Calascio is a welcoming tourist destination anytime of the year.
Opposite the village of Bonnieux, Lacoste is set on one of the Luberon’s most impressive sites. Perched on the northern slopes of the Petit Luberon Mountain, this charming village of 420 residents offers spectacular views over the Calavon Valley and the Mountains of Vaucluse. The walls of the towering ruined castle standing above Lacoste appear to protect the authentic Provençal village.
Corippo is a mountain village in the Verzasca valley some 12 kilometers (7.5 mi) from Locarno, at the north end of the artificial Lake Vogorno and 20 km (12 mi) from the border with Italy. The houses are built from the local Ticino granite with slate roofs and have changed little for several hundred years, leading the Italian writer Piero Bianconi to describe Corippo as “Verzasca’s gentlest village”.
Its early 17th century Church of the Blessed Virgin Annunciata (later the Blessed Virgin Carmine) was extended in the late eighteenth century. Corippo’s architectural value has caused the entire village centre to be placed under a conservation order, and in 1975 the European Architectural Heritage Congress named the village as an “exemplary model” for historical preservation. Corippo was originally part of the larger parish and commune of Vogorno (though maintaining a certain degree of autonomy), before becoming a fully independent municipality in 1822. The village first became connected to the wider world in 1883 when a road was built linking it to the Verzasca valley road.
Brienz is a village on the northeast shore of Lake Brienz, in Switzerland’s Bernese Oberland region. The village’s 18th-century wooden chalets and the sculptures dotted throughout the village are testimonials to a woodcarving tradition. North, a steam train runs up Brienzer Rothorn Mountain, with views of the lake and surrounding Alps. East of Brienz, the Ballenberg Open Air Museum offers glimpses of rural life.
The most romantic part of Brienz is the Brunngasse which, having once been awarded the title «most beautiful street in Europe», is well-known abroad. Most of the houses in the street date from the 18th century and are decorated with wood carvings. Brienz, which is well-known as the “village of carving” has a long tradition in wood processing and to this day has a school for carving and violin-making.
Manarola is the second-smallest of the five towns of the Cinque Terre (after Corniglia), and the second town (after Riomaggiore) that you’ll encounter if you’re coming up the coast from the south. The colorful houses of Manarola seem to tumble down to its small harbor on the bright blue Ligurian Sea, making it one of the most photographed of the Cinque Terre’s picturesque villages.
Likely founded by the Romans, Manarola was built along a freshwater creek—its name is thought to refer to an ancient, large waterwheel (magna rota in Latin), a reproduction of which stands in the town. The current town dates to the 1300s, making it arguably the oldest of the Cinque Terre towns. Once part of the powerful Republic of Genoa, Manarola was once home to a castle and watchtower built to protect against marauding pirates. Historically and today, Manarola is known for Sciacchetrà, a sweet, highly-coveted dessert wine.