" Aix "
Aix (or Aix-en-Provence) is a southern French city built on hot springs. It was founded in 123 BC by the Romans.
" Vence "
Vence is a commune town set in the hills of the Alps-Maritimes department. Vence has famous springs, a medieval walled village and a chapel featuring a Chagall mosaic, dating from 1911.
" Antibes "
Antibes is a resort town on the Côte d'Azur (French Riviera). From the mid-19th century it became wildly popular with the wintering wealthy. Pablo Picasso was invited to stay in the city's castle in 1946, where he spent time working on his art. The castle is now the Picasso Museum.
" Austro-Sardinian hordes were on the march, pillaging and torching, just as in 1746 "
This is a reference to the War of Austrian Succession which involved nearly all European powers of the time. It ended with the signing of the Treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.
" inhospitable mountains of the Tanneron "
Tanneron is a commune in the Var Department. The surrounding area is vertiginous, and before roads were built into the hillsides it was treacherous.