Picture this: June in Provence in the south of France. Warm sun, great wine, food and art, fascinating history. What could make for a better vacation for a history-loving ex-president and his family?
There's even a crowd of excited tourists cheering and waving their cellphones. Just like the old days in the White House!
Yes, life is good for former President Barack Obama, former first lady Michelle Obama and daughters Malia, 21, and Sasha, 18, on vacation this week in the historic town of Avignon in Provence, according to the French news agency, Agence France Press, and London's Daily Mail.
Well, it's good except maybe for the media cameras snapping their every move since they arrived by private jet in Provence on Friday.
If the Obamas thought their post-White House days would be blissfully free of scrutiny, they were mistaken. Turns out they're still news.
Not that the Obama office in Washington is willing to indulge this interest. Their spokeswoman, Kristina Schake, declined to confirm the family's vacation activities.
"We don’t comment on their private schedules these days now that they’re private citizens," she told USA TODAY in an email.
But the local media are on the case, as is the tabloid Daily Mail, which splashed a blizzard of pictures of the Obamas on Monday: Getting in and out of cars, dining at the Michelin-starred restaurant La Mirande in Avignon for a Father's Day dinner Sunday, and touring the massive medieval fortress called the Palace of the Popes, once the seat of the Catholic Church during a period of disorder in the 14th century.
On Tuesday, the Daily Mail had another feature about the former first lady, Malia and their friends who were spotted touring "a beautiful vineyard in the famed Châteauneuf-du-Pape appellation" nearby.
Surrounded by protection agents and dressed casually, the ex-POTUS was shown waving and smiling at onlookers in one picture.
The Mail ran it with another picture of a large crowd of locals and tourists, cellphones in hand, arms raised, standing in a street flanked by antique buildings, excitedly watching and snapping pictures as the president exited the restaurant on Sunday.
Besides adding up the possible cost of the "luxury vacation," the Mail also focused on the fashion. Michelle Obama was pictured in a black sun dress one day and in a rust-colored midi dress with thin straps, plus a wide-brimmed sunhat and sunglasses, on another day.
Malia was seen in a white backless jumpsuit, and later in a pair of black skinny jeans and a strapless white shirt. Sasha, who graduated from high school last week in Washington, rocked a a yellow snakeskin-patterned dress with white sneakers.
At one point, Malia showed off her legs in a pair of black short shorts, while Sasha covered up in jeans and an Army-green jacket over a white crop top, a soft hat over on her locks.
The sisters were also spotted touring the L'Isle-sur-la-Sorgue Market, famous for lush fresh produce and for a wide array of antiques.
The Mail and AFP cited local media to report that the family is staying on the other side of the Rhone river in a palatial 18th-century farmhouse, owned by an American family and for which the rental for a week is said to be about $62,000.
Naturally the Secret Service and French security did not release any information about the exact location of where the former first family have been staying.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Barack and Michelle Obama, daughters enjoy family vacation in south of France