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Hotel L’Orangeraie in La Croix-Valmer

La Rotonde in Aix en Provence

Window Decor in the village of Rougiers

Villeneuve-les-Avignon

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Les Calanques near Cassis

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The Port of Cassis

Tonight, at sunset, Dude and I took a stroll along the small beach and the port at Cassis. This village is one of our favorites to visit in the area and I have written about its charm before. It’s quite close to where I work so we are often there during the week in the evening time and can be seen window shopping and pastry shopping while enjoying the beautiful views of the Mediterranean.

Cassis is one of those towns that tourists flock to during spring and summer vacation. If you happen to visit during the tourist season you will find yourself feeling like herded cattle as you make your way around the walkway of the port. Every restaurant, shop, bars, and ice cream store in this village is full of people and you’re lucky if you can find a place to sit and relax. The main streets are crowded with tables and chairs and wide-eyed vacationers taking in the beauty of this delightful little town.

Normally during the summer months we avoid this place. After all we have the whole rest of the year to enjoy it while it is peaceful. Tonight happened to be one of those amazingly, peaceful nights. Since it is the beginning of spring, vacationers have not started to make their way to Cassis. This was the perfect night to venture there as the weather was calm and the temperature perfect for an evening stroll. There were no crowds, only a few other couples and families enjoying the warm evening.

This is the way I like to enjoy Cassis. The calm water, the warm air and the feeling like this picture perfect place is just for you and you don’t have to share it with anyone. I always comment on how wonderful it is to be able to visit whenever we want to and watch nature show off her magnificent sunset. We are so spoiled just like everyone else who lives here!

Date Night

One or two nights out of the week, Dude and I have to camp out at the office (again with the camping). I’ve done more camping in this last year in France than I’ve done all the times before in my whole life.

Now by “camping” I don’t mean in the woods, with a tent/trailer and a fire pit. I mean on the floor in a sleeping bag for the first 2 months we lived in France before our furniture arrived, now in the new house for the past month and still counting, and in the office for who knows how long. All our belongings are either in boxes at the house or in bags when we campout at the office.

For our office campout we have sleeping bags, inflatable mattresses (they bite the big one, though, and aren’t very good) and we bring our little bag of food, toiletries and clothes for the next day. It’s not too bad, we do have a bathroom (thank goodness), a fridge and a coffee maker. We also have central heating and air-conditioning so that makes up for the crappy inflatable mattresses.

The reason we do this is to save money and time on driving. The office is a good 2 hour round trip each day from our new house and it just seems better money and time wise to stay.

Most of the time I end up working till the late hours of the night any way cuz our home office is located in California. At 17H each night when I’m ready to leave here in France, our home office opens and I always have people there I need to speak to and/or email. Staying at the office means I can get that done without interruption.

Well, last night was one of our nights to stay. Lucky for us the weather here has maintained its fantasticness (is that a word?) So Dude and I decided to go out on a date (I had to look that word up in the dictionary cuz I forgot what it meant) and headed out to Cassis for dinner.

 

As I said, the weather here has been so marvelous that I feel bad for others living in areas where they’re freezing their tootsies off. It’s tough not to say, “Na Na Nana Na” to that, but I don’t want karma to come back and kick me in the butt.

Well, we managed to arrive in Cassis just as sunset was upon us and the sight of it was absolutely stunning! Before dinner we took a walk out past the marina and over by the little lighthouse. We were amazed that hardly anyone was around. What the heck is wrong with these locals, this weather isn’t going to last forever, ya know!

As it got dark we headed back over to restaurant row on the other side of the port and took a look around and read all the menus of the places to eat. We finally settled upon one that’s located way at the end of the port that looked cozy, but didn’t have too many people dinning called La Paillote. We decided to dine outside instead of inside and both of us choose the Pâtes au Basilic. It was absolutely terrific. It was so good that I even used the remains of my baguette to wipe up the sauce.

For desert I had a terrific Mousse au Chocolat and Dude had a combination tray of Glace Framboise et Chocloat. Boy, was I stuffed. The remaining time we people watched and relished in the fact that we were enjoying a beautiful night and NOT working on the house.

 

All in all we had a pretty terrific time of relaxation, which we don’t get very often, and I relearned the word “date” so not too shabby for one day!

I did snap back to reality pretty quick when we headed back to the office for the night’s campout, but oh well, c’est ma vie a la francaise!

Oh, I think I might have found my new kitchen, too. It was in a little store we passed on our way back to the car. I think it might look nice and it was really cheap. Unfortunately the picture didn’t come out too good since it was so dark. I don’t know, what you think? It’s pink and it comes in easy to clean plastic!

 

My Favorite View

They say a picture is worth a thousand words. Sometimes I think it’s worth more than that. Especially from here. The Calanques that stretch between La Ciotat and Cassis has to be one of my favorite places to be. The view is both breathtaking and inspiring. I could stay all day. One of my first outings in France was here. I packed a lunch and my colleagues and I headed out to eat at, in my opinion, one of the best places for a view and picnic. It also happens to be free and you can stay as long as you like.

I can never get enough of this magnificent scenery. The color of the water is just amazing. So much so that it’s even hard to describe when my friends in The States ask me to. I can’t seem to find exactly the right words or description. I always end up telling them they just have to see it for themselves.

When I’m here, I feel so calm and tranquil. Something I have been lacking lately in my life!

I don’t hike here. I prefer to find a nice spot to rest and eat and just stare out at the water. Dude will testify that I would never leave if I didn’t have to.

Each time I go I remind myself that people come here on vacation, movies are filmed here, this is a place that only some will ever dream about seeing and never end up making it and I LIVE here. Gosh I’m so lucky. Being in this place helps me to remember that. Especially on those days when I’m feeling terrible and like nothing is ever going to go right.

Beach Day Mistake

Today we set out to the beach and port at Cassis. This was a big mistake. Hitting the beach on the first holiday weekend of “les grands vacances” was not really well thought out. There were people everywhere. This is a tiny little seaside town that, apparently, attracts all tourists and locals alike. Originally we went to check out a local shop that sells a certain brand of shoe that Tinki has been wanting for some time now and has not been able to find them. She spotted them the night we went to Cassis to check out the fireworks and today, wanted to go back and check them out before we took a look at the beach and walked along the port.

Little did we know that the crowds had gathered throughout the day.  It is really hot here during the day so we have been venturing out later in the afternoon. Today it was 3pm and, I guess, that was plenty of time for everyone else to make it before us.

First off, there was no parking available. This was clue #1 that we were in trouble. Then when we hit the village and the streets were packed with pizza and ice cream eating tourists. Okay, clue #2.

Tinki ended up finding the store and spotted the shoes she was interested in, only to find out that they didn’t even have her size! Tant pis pour elle (remember the word of the day).

So off we went to check out the beach and this is what we saw.

There were so many people that it was quite sickening! They were EVERYWHERE! Like ants drawn to a piece of fruit, they covered the beach! I didn’t know the beach could support that many people. Given the case, we walked along the port and over to the lighthouse for some relief from the crowd and shade from the heat. Across from the lighthouse, there is a cliff in which an area juts outs and makes a small flat surface. To my surprise, that was covered with people, too! They simply find any spot they can and plunk themselves down regardless if there is space or not. They really don’t have a sense of personal space here! I was claustrophobic just looking at them and not even in the midst of all of it!

Well, our trip was short lived. The walk was nice, but with the clouds coming in and the humidity increasing, not to mention more people arriving to eat at the restaurants, we decided to take our leave for the long walk back to the car.

I have learned my lesson. No beach during tourist season unless I get there around 8pm. Then everyone should be gone and I can have it all to myself. Heck, it’s still warm out at that hour and I got nothing on the weekend nights to rush home to. I’ll let you know how my plan pans out.

 

 

La Fete Nationale 14 July

Well, it was the official “La Fete Nationale” today. Yup-the big 14th of July. We had such a great time at the pre-show last night that we thought we would venture out again tonight to see the fireworks for the ever-so-much celebrated Bastille Day. To learn more about this day go to the about page here: http://french.about.com/od/culture/a/bastille-day.htm

This time we went to the port of Cassis, and apparently, so did everyone else! It was packed so we didn’t really have a great spot. I took another video of the grand finale, but it is a little rough around the edges due to the big tree in the way and some dumb kid’s head constantly moving into the frame. That was tough to avoid.

I did get some nice colors, though, and a resounding “yaaaay” from the audience at the end.

All in all, it was pretty neat, but I wish it could have been longer. The show only lasted about 10 minutes all together. Not really long enough to be satisfied, but, oh well. I will take my 10 minutes and run with it. Don’t worry, I didn’t film that whole show so no worries. I wouldn’t make you sit through it for that long! This ain’t your momma’s home movies!!!!

Cassis Bastille Day 14 July 2011

 

 

 

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