Blog Archives

Visions of Architectural Beauty and Nature

Chateau de la Barben

Bougainvillea in Bandol

The “eglise neuve” built in 1870 in Bonnieux

The hilltop village of Callian

Le Grand Hotel in Bormes les Mimosas

Visions of the Loveliness of Provence

Chateau in Saint-Martin

Lavender shop in Le Castellet

Pink flowers at La Citadelle in Saint-Tropez

Hilltop church in Saint Martin de Bromes

Storm day on the Mediterranean Sea at La Ciotat

Visions of Contrast in Provence

The beach in Bandol

Bike Rentals on L’Ile de Porquerolles

Grazing sheep in Gemenos

The Port at Sanary-sur-Mer

The hills above La Roquebrussanne

Purple flowers in full bloom in Sanary-sur-Mer

Visions of Provence

Hotel L’Orangeraie in La Croix-Valmer

La Rotonde in Aix en Provence

Window Decor in the village of Rougiers

Villeneuve-les-Avignon

Rougiers

Les Calanques near Cassis

Ile de Porquerolles – Le Jardin Emmanuel Lopez and La Plage

Taking our leave of the Gorge du Loup, we headed back towards the village. I was interested in seeing le Jardin Emmanuel Lopez. Entry is free and the gardens are open every day from 9:30am-12:30pm and then from 14:00pm-18:00pm.

The garden is enclosed and contains lovely trees and flowers. There are many benches along the trail on which to sit and have a rest. It would be a wonderful place to bring a book to read. While we were visiting, there was only a few other people so, like the gorge, we pretty much had the garden all to ourselves.

I pointed out the things I would love to have in my garden at home, like this beautiful iron trellis. I had visions of blooming Wisteria and grape vines overflowing at my house. Oh, how the mind starts dreaming of all the lovely things to have in a garden when you’re visiting someone else’s  garden!

I really wished the sun would have made another appearance so that I could have captured some of the colors of the flowers. I had no luck in that department. As a matter of fact, the overcast had gotten a bit thicker.

As we made our way around the trails of the garden, I noticed all the beautiful houses that bordered it on all sides. How nice for the owners to have this place as their backyard.

After visiting the garden, it was time to head for the beach. This would be our last stop of the day on the island before catching the ferry back to the mainland.

By the time we arrive, the clouds had really rolled in so the color of the water, though still a beautiful blue, was not as captivating as it had been earlier that day. There were a few boats anchored in the harbor and the beach was scarce of people. Nearly everyone was gone so once again we were able to have part of the island all to ourselves.

The island has a real, sandy beach that stretched for miles. I say ‘real’ since I don’t consider rocky beaches to be a ‘real beach’. I’m not a fan of rocky beaches. I want to feel the soft, warm sand between my toes as I stroll along. I don’t want to be in pain and watching my every step as I hobble along next to the water!

I made a mental note to come back next time just to stroll along this beach and to see where it would take me. As far as I could see, it rounded a bend. Hmm, what was on the other side? Another adventure I presumed and something to look forward to.

The water was calm, but surprisingly cold for this time of year. They day had been warm so I assumed the water would have been warmer than what it was.

There was one enormous yacht anchored not far from where we were.

We decided to have some fun with picture taking.

Believe it or not, this is harder than it looks and I didn’t get the photo exactly perfect like I had wanted, but it turned out okay. I was my first attempt at trying something I had seen others do with the Eiffel Tower, Empire State Building, etc. I must try and perfect this technique as it is fun to do and when done right, the pictures end up coming out terrifically.

It was finally time to head back to the ferry. On our way, we spotted a restaurant whose many, different, colored tables lined the edge of the water. Now that would be a nice place to have lunch!

My list of things to do on my next visit was growing ever larger. I had now planned to do a biking tour, visit the other forts on the island, take a stroll along the beach to see what was around the bend and dine at a restaurant near the water’s edge.

Yup, I’d say all of those were the best reasons to come back for a visit.

If you’ve been to the Ile de Porquerolles, I’d love to hear what you found interesting to do. There is always room on my list to add a few more things 🙂

 

Spring Is In The Air (Even If The Weather Doesn’t Want To Cooperate)

Yesterday evening Tinki and I went for a walk for about an hour. It was good to get out and enjoy the extra daylight we have now. The trees and flowers continue to bloom and the weather has warmed up from a few months ago, but it’s still not up to par for me. I would like for it to get just a tad bit warmer. I don’t like to be freezing cold and I don’t like to be burning up either which is one of the reasons why spring is my favorite season. That and all the flowers and trees blooming, of course! Usually the weather is just right for me, but this spring I feel like I’m getting gypped. All the nice days were in March and once April rolled around the good weather left us.

Over the last couple weeks the wind has continued to blow and it’s been cloudy most days. Even when we have reached decent temperatures during the day, the evening gets pretty cold in my village when the sun goes down.

As Tinki and I took off for our outing, it was still warm enough to not have to wear a jacket, but by the time we returned home, the wind had kicked up again pretty strong and it was cold. Good thing we decided to bring our jackets with us.

We only lasted for an hour before it got too cold and windy, but that was long enough to snap some photos of the most recent blooms.

 

 

The Village of Gassin

Another day of cold, winter weather has my family stuck in the house. There was an advisory yesterday on the news that said if you didn’t have to go anywhere then please don’t. Stay at home, keep the roads clear and be warm is what they advised. Even though I don’t relish staying indoors too much (we are starting to get on each other’s nerves living in the kitchen), I do agree that it’s best to stay home and stay warm. We are still without heating oil, but at least the little electric heater is keeping us warmer than being outside.

Since I’m stuck inside for the day, I decided to rummage through my old photos that I’d taken last summer while visiting surrounding villages in Provence. Though I don’t mind the cold, I am anxious for the longer days, green leaves on the trees and blooming flowers that spring and summer brings with them. In flipping through my virtual photo albums I came across the medieval village of Gassin. Last summer we took a trip there one weekend and it was just delightful.

The ancient village of Gassin is situated not far from St. Tropez. In fact, from the edge of the 13th century ramparts which surround the village, the view takes you from the Gulf of St. Tropez to the town of St. Tropez in the distance.

Gassin is a charming little village which I’m not sure many people know about. We were there in the height of summer, on a week-end and there were not very many people around at all. I was very surprised by this since it is listed as one of the most beautiful villages in Provence.

Since there were no crowds to dodge around, we were able to spend the afternoon leisurely strolling along the cobblestone streets. I was delighted to find that I didn’t have to fight the crowds for a photo opportunity. Normally, when you visit touristy places in France, it becomes very difficult to snap a good photo without some stranger ending up in it somehow!

The town was very neat and tidy. The houses well taken care of and very clean. The streets made of cobblestones and the old village houses with dates written above their doors are truly a find for the history lover like me. I took several photos of doorways with dates etched above them long ago. Oh, I love finds like these!

In anticipation of a lunch crowd, there were a few restaurants who dressed up to the nines.  Each one with a lovely view of the surrounding valley and vineyards.

The trees and flowers were in full bloom and I love the flower beds in front of some of the house. These always add richness to the color of the town.

I also love the houses whose owners had left the stone façade.

I much prefer to look at stone houses than painted facades, although the ones that were painted were done tastefully.

It is said that the Knights Templar could have built a castle high on a rock above the Gulf of St. Tropez and there did seem to be some remnants written into the ancient walls.

The church and its square tower were built around the 16th century.

It’s very quaint and nicely done. The interior is not grandiose like other churches you might have been to. It has been updated and painted and has an air of “modernization” to it, but is nonetheless a very worthy stop to make while visiting the town.

During the 16th century, the village also became known for its sorcerers. Between the Knights Templar and the sorcerers, there is definitely a lot of history to be found here.

Though there is no chateau to visit or a large number of touristy attractions, Gassin should be on the list of any traveler to Provence who enjoys the simple pleasure of lovely scenery. That’s exactly what this town has to offer, relaxation and beautiful scenery.

If you want to see more photos of the village of Gassin they appear on Flickr. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Photos on Flickr.

Missing Spring Time

With the change in the weather and the coming of the rain I suddenly miss spring time. Don’t get me wrong, I really do like fall and Halloween is my favorite holiday, but for some reason this year I just wasn’t ready for the colder and wetter weather and the fact that darkness falls upon us so early. I absolutely hate changing the time back to standard time and seeing the sun go to sleep just before 5pm.

I am already dreading the fact that we have to turn back our clocks this weekend. Dude keeps telling me to stop reminding him of that fact. I guess I probably say something about it everyday!

This evening while on an errand (to the hardware store, of course) it suddenly felt like the fall season was here. The rain was coming down, the wind was starting to blow and the temperature is now well below what it was about 2 weeks ago.

Upon my return, I decided to look through some of my photos that I had taken this past spring/ summer for a cheer-me-up on this rainy day. Flowers and grapes usually do the trick since you always know spring is here when you see them starting to appear. Here is a few that brightened my day.

In couple of days the fall season will really start to take hold for me and I will be quite content with it. But for today, I just had to take one more look at the beauty of spring and say my good-byes until next year.

 

 

 

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