Savor Southern France at the Sofitel

Through Sept. 5, the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower takes Le Bar guests on a swing through southern France thanks to its "Soleil" series of events. The first stop was celebrity film favorite Cannes on the French Riviera.

Travel to cultural gems like Antibes, Aix-en-Provence and Bordeaux – all without setting foot in O’Hare

I don’t know about you, but I’m one of those people who after returning home from vacation wants to find ways to relive it over and over. Earlier this month, my dad and I were enjoying life on the French Riviera – from the vantage point of two sun-drenched balconies overlooking the Mediterranean Sea, no less. Not surprisingly, it was tough boarding that airplane in Nice when our short stay was over. And while Chicago’s positively lovely in the summertime, there’s nowhere on earth like the South of France.

I’ve been fortunate to travel to this amazing part of the world several times, and each time I return home I’ve wished for a way to bottle the experience. Looks like I’m in luck – and so are all of us who either live in the area or who are traveling here, thanks to the Sofitel Chicago Water Tower.

Through Sept. 5, Le Bar at this four-star Gold Coast hotel is hosting “Soleil,” a series of Thursday evening events offering a “journey through the South of France through food, wine, cocktails and music.” And speaking of…a live DJ spins from 5-9PM, aurally transporting you to the South of France through French house music.

Le Bar appropriately kicked things off in May by traveling (virtually) to Cannes, famed for the annual Film Festival held during that month. Since then, the series has taken guests to the colorful and historic port city of Marseille; chic celebrity haunt St. Tropez; the stunning coastal town of Antibes; the cultural hub (and university student favorite) known as Aix-en-Provence. Best of all, there’s no cover charge – food and drink specials are a la carte. And guests can order them all evening long.

This southern France tour swings way west for its next outing on Aug. 8: the Atlantic Ocean destination of Biarritz. A former celebrity resort favorite, it’s now known for casinos, surfing and beaches. I’ve never traveled to this part of La France – so how cool would it be to visit there by way of the Sofitel? The same’s true for Soleil’s Aug.22 ‘stop’ in Italian-inspired Menton. And the summer series wraps up Sept. 5 in Bordeaux (how appropriate for Le Bar, c’est ne pas?). I can’t think of a more deliciously stylish way for the Sofitel – a French-based luxury hotel brand– to offer Francophiles an affordable getaway, no passport needed.


About Maureen Jenkins

Maureen Jenkins is a food/travel writer and communications professional who's visited nearly 35 countries and territories, lived in Florence, Italy, and recently spent a year living in a charming village near Paris, France. The self-proclaimed 'urban travel girl' talks travel, food and wine – abroad and in Chicago – in "TCW Travel Connection.” Read more of her thoughts on living globally at