Lucca Summer Festival in July!

The Lucca Summer Festival is a special annual event in Tuscany, which takes place in the Piazza Napoleone, right in the historical center of Lucca. It attracts some of the most influential international artists in the music industry, including, this year, Mark Knopfler, Neil Young and Crazy Horse, Bryan Adams, Leonard Cohen and The Killers.  The festival runs from 6th – 27th July.

Encompassed by its impressive 16th century walls, Lucca is one of Italy’s finest medieval treasures and, with many of its narrow cobbled streets pedestrianised, easily manageable on foot. Within a relatively small area there are numerous palazzi, towers, piazzas and splendid churches to discover, as well as the famous Luccan landmark, the Torre Guinigi. A climb right to the top, with its distinctive oak tree terrace, will give you wonderful views over the city.

One of the best ways to see Lucca is to hire a bicycle for a few hours, and there are a couple of hire shops in Piazza Santa Maria on the north side of the town. One of the most enjoyable experiences in Lucca is to cycle around the ramparts of the walls. Visitors and locals alike can be seen every day enjoying a walk, jog or cycle along the wide, peaceful road running along the top of the wall. Shaded by plane and chestnut trees, there are views down into the old town on one side, and to the beautiful Luccan hills on the other, covered in olive groves and vineyards.

Where to Stay

Apartment Via Giunigi

A beautiful apartment in central Lucca, with  a fabulous view of the Giunigi Tower, and just steps away from the main shopping shopping area with a great selection of boutiques, restaurants and cafés.  The décor is modern, combined with some traditional Tuscan elements, as the restoration was done in such a way as to preserve the elegance and charm of the original architecture. The apartment is ideal for couples wanting a traditional Tuscan experience in one of Italy’s most charming cities.

Bordeaux River Festival 24th May – 2nd June 2013

Bordeaux, the acknowledged capital of great wines and fine cuisine in south-west France, is a great destination to escape for a city break.  A UNESCO World Heritage city, visitors will be enchanted by the quaint, narrow streets and unique architecture in the old quarter.  The riverfront, revitalised relatively recently as part of its urban development scheme, is also a delight to stroll along with its pedestrian friendly, tree-lined promenades and old warehouses converted into shops and restaurants. The riverfront is definitely a Bordeaux highlight, with twenty cruise ships a year sailing all the way up the river to dock right near the city centre.

From 24th May – 2nd June, the city will be the setting for the Bordeaux River Festival which alternates years with the Bordeaux Wine Festival.  The Garonne river becomes the focal point of the various festivities, so well worth a stroll around the quays to experience the atmosphere, with bands, street entertainers, food and wine stalls, dance lessons, open air film screenings and a swimming race from one side of the river to the other –Bordeaux fête le Fleuve  (“Bordeaux celebrates the river”) is a major celebration in this city!

This year Bordeaux will also be hosting the starting point of the prestigious single-handed yacht race, the “Solitaire du Figaro” within the setting of the “Bordeaux River Festival”. The move to choose Bordeaux as the start of the 44th yacht race was the organizer’s response to the Mayor of Bordeaux, Alain Juppe’s effort to encourage events around the Garonne River, as an effort to celebrate Bordeaux and its former glory as a port. There will be very much a nautical bias to the festivities this year, including over a kilometre of exhibits focused on the sailing and boat building industry, and visitors will also have the opportunity to explore the Solitaire du Figaro village and meet the skippers, organizers, sponsors, and firms involved in the race.

Where to stay in Bordeaux …..

Rue Charles Monselet

 A beautiful, traditional 19th century ‘hotel particulier’, Rue Charles Monselet is located in the historic Saint Seurin area in the heart of Bordeaux, a short walk (less than 10 minutes) from the city centre.  With four bedrooms (and sleeping 8 – 12 people), the accommodation is on three floors; a ground floor with high moulded ceilings and luxurious proportions, plus two further floors, including a basement recently renovated in a modern style, with a ‘bar room’, equipped with a traditional French brasserie counter, a projector and a wide screen home cinema. The house also has a large terrace with an outdoor seating  and dining area.

The 66th Cannes Film Festival 15 – 26 May 2013

This great annual event kicks off next week and, for anyone interested in film, it is such an exciting and inspirational time to be in Cannes, with a tempting selection of nominated films including Steven Soderbergh’s ‘Behind the Candelabra’, the Coen brothers ‘Inside Llewyn Davis’, Paolo Sorrentino’s ‘The Great Beauty’ and Roman Polanski’s ‘Venus in Fur’. This year, Steven Spielberg is president of the Palme d’Or Jury with jury members comprising Nicole Kidman, Ang Lee, Lynne Ramsay, Christoph Walz, Daniel Auteil, Cristian Mungui, Naomi Kawase and Vidya Balan.  The opening film will be Baz Lurhmann’s ‘The Great Gatsby’ and the closing film will be Jerome Salles’ ‘Zulu’, starring Orlando Bloom.  French actress Audrey Tautou  will host the opening and closing ceremonies.

Even if you are not an official guest at the actual Film Festival, it is still possible to watch a great selection of films free of charge, either at the Plage Mace or the Cannes Cinephile, or take a tour to see the 15 film murals which have been created on various buildings.  Alternatively, May is a perfect time of year to just enjoy soaking up the sun and the general celeb-packed atmosphere.

The Plage Mace, with deckchair seating, is an open-air cinema, showing classic films every evening during the festival.  Films will include Hitchcock’s The Birds, Luc Besson’s The Big Blue and Jacques Tati’s Jour de Fête.  Also free of charge, is the Cannes  Cinephiles, showing films at four Cannes’ cinemas.

Looking for somewhere to stay?

We can recommend our La Croisette apartments – in a great location close to all the action, and with fabulous sea views!