Ah, France in the springtime... is there a better time to experience this amazing part of the world!
After boarding the SS Catherine on Sunday, 26 April, first up was the city of historic proportions, Avignon. Surrounded by a medieval wall, it encases the original 'Palace of the Pope' - before the Romans took him back to Italy. The cobble-stoned paths and narrow walkways demanded my most practical walking shoes, or so I thought until I saw all the French women choosing style over comfort and wearing high heels!
Our visit to Arles, an ancient city with many Roman ruins, was such a treat as I discovered the sights that Vincent Van Gogh painted when he spent some time here. The Cafe de Nuit is still standing in the same bright yellow that he painted it, along with the famous rooftops and bridge paintings. It felt like I was truly stepping back in time as I walked in the same steps as him - but lucky for me, with 2 ears! Arles is such a beautiful little city with its cobbled streets, Mansion houses and history dating back to Julius Caesar, it's easy to see why people call this the heart of Provence.
Life on board the SS Catherine is very relaxed and casual with a great mix of ages and people. And the food - nothing short of sensational! I tried truffle mousse, frog legs and saffron sauce, with everything sourced locally and made on board. The pastries are to die for and I was forced to limit myself to one croissant a day.
The weather was extremely warm (mid-twenties) and up to 10 degrees higher than normal. I unfortunately (yes, so sad!) had to buy a few lighter clothes as the winter clothes I'd packed were simply too hot