When I was in my early 20s, I took a spring break from college to explore some of the magical Greek islands. Unfortunately, thousands of other curious travelers had the same idea!

So, my relaxing solo holiday was shared with a high energy cacophony of wide-eyed students and noisy families. Crammed together on aging ferries, we walked shoulder to shoulder on winding cobblestone streets.

We shuffled along side-by-side, en masse, in Santorini and queued patiently to experience a taste of the fresh seafood and Greek salad!

Yes, the sun was shining and the sea was calm and turquoise blue, but, we were packed together like sardines!

For Every Age, There is a Season

Many people have no choice but to travel when school and work holiday schedules allow. Now that I am a little older and a more experienced traveler, my travel schedule is not confined by school and work holiday schedules.

As a result, I have discovered a whole new and exciting time of year to travel – off season! In fact, this is one of the secret weapons women over 60 have in finding great travel and cruise deals!

My desire to travel exclusively solo has also shifted a little as I’ve got older. I still love the freedom of doing my own thing, but recently have started to appreciate the benefits of participating in group programs.

In fact, I recently took part in one of the Road Scholar programs in their series called Winter in Southern Europe.

This series features out-of-season programs in France, Greece, Italy, Spain and Croatia. They are offered in places that are packed during the summer and just beautiful in the “winter.” The regional highlights and temperate weather are brought to light with excellent Road Scholar “expert guides” who explain the magic of the place.

Winter in France

The Road Scholar Winter in France: Culture & Charm on the French Riviera was magnificent! The program structure and places we visited, ticked all the boxes for me.

From the Matisse and Chagall museums in Nice to the Picasso museum in Antibes, the Matisse chapel, the art was everything I hoped for.

The experience was amplified by the luxurious opulence of Monaco and the exquisite beauty of the Ephrusssi Villa and Gardens in Saint-Jean-Cap-Ferrat. The other 17 people in my group were lovely and the food and hotel accommodation was exquisite!

Come with Me to Nice, France!

I wanted to share my experiences with our Sixty and Me community in real time, so I recorded two videos outlining my adventures and hope they captured the essence of 8 amazing days!

Part 1 covers my first 3 days in Nice. We visited the old town in Nice and the Matisse and Chagall Museums. The Picasso Museum in Antibes and Russian Cathedral are also featured.

 

Part 2 video covers the next 5 days in Nice and Monaco. It includes our visit to the Maeght Foundation and extraordinary Matisse Chapel.

It follows us to Monaco and Ephrusssi Villa and Gardens with sparkling fountains, waterfalls and unusual flowers.

 

I hope you feel my excitement, passion and sense of wonder in the videos. But to summarize, here are 5 reasons why I think travelling out of season, and specifically in Southern France with Road Scholar can be a great option for curious travelers in our Sixty and Me community!

Save Money and Beat the Crowds

In a nutshell, travelling out-of-season can save simply save you money and help you avoid the summer crowds. The south of France in March was a perfect example. Winter in Southern France is mild and relatively dry. The sea was turquoise blue. The air was soft and fresh.

Spring is just around the corner and shops that have been closed for the season, start to open and there is even a fresh and welcoming attitude by shopkeepers. After all, they too get beaten down too by the nonstop pressures of hordes of summer visitors.

Every day of our 8-day program was compelling and fascinating. There is an intimacy about a place out-of-season.

Also, Road Scholar’s Winter in France program allows you to take time for yourself with the security of an established organization. It’s definitely the way to go!

Experience the Work of Artists Who Were Inspired by the Light

A primary focus of this program was to explore the charm and culture of this incredibly unique part of France. It allows you to “walk in the footsteps” of so many great artists – Chagall, Matisse and Picasso to name just a few. They were drawn to the Cote d’Azur by the light and the spring glow during my trip was magical!

The day trips we made to museums were brought to life by our amazing program leader Julian. His perspective was always unique and often very entertaining!

Having high-quality tour leaders really differentiates Road Scholar! Julian was knowledgeable and attuned to the needs of us mature travellers.

Enjoy a Pace and Space for Personal Reflection

The gardens, coastal roads and other landmarks were intense visual opportunities to reflect and renew personally. This kind of off-season program is perfect for women in their 60s who are enjoying a resurgence of creativity and redefinition themselves.

This program offered 8 days of exposure to both education and new inner shifts in my life perspectives.

Experience Group Travel – The Best of Both Worlds

So many older women are travelling alone for the first time and I genuinely think Road Scholar offers a safe and structured option for these travellers. Road Scholar provides a way to travel alone, meet up with like-minded women and to enrich your life with new discoveries. Check out their website to see their full range of travel options.

Do you ever travel out-of-season to save money and avoid the crowds? Or, do you prefer to go during the high season? Why? Let’s have a chat!

Editor’s note: this sponsored post was written by Margaret Manning.

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