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My Two Hour Vacation

Most days at the office, I don’t leave for lunch. I get into doing my work and I usually just end up eating my lunch at my desk and just keep working through lunch time. Sometimes I’ve even forgotten to eat lunch! Very American, right?? There have been only a few occasions where I’ve said, “This bites and I’m going to enjoy my lunch time”, but those have been few and far between occasions.

Well, the other day, Dude and I decided to cash in on my lunch savings and we headed for the local boulangerie. Like most boulangeries these days, they have something called a Menu Formule where you can have a sandwich or salad, along with a drink and dessert for around 7€50. That, folks, is a steal.

Dude opted for a salad, ice tea and a tarte framboise while I got the poulet cesear sandwich (which is oh so delicious with the dressing and feta cheese), a bottle of water and a tarte fraise with Chantilly on top. Grand total was 15€. Money well spent, I would say.

Then we headed off towards the beach in La Ciotat which happens to be about 5 whole minutes from my work. Luckily, the tourist season has not quite started yet and we were able to find some free parking close by. We only had to walk a short distance and we found a nice bench under some trees to shade us from the sun. Viola, a two hour “vacation” with a spectacular view.

It’s times like these while I’m quietly enjoying my lunch and looking out onto the Mediterranean that I ask myself why I don’t do this more often. I don’t think I’ve quite transitioned, yet, to the mind frame of taking a proper lunch to rejuvenate myself.

I was never able to do that since in The States you’re lucky if you get a whole hour for lunch (I have friends who only get 30 minutes!) and that doesn’t leave much time to enjoy your lunch when that one hour includes drive time to get to a restaurant! One always feels like their rushing and can’t really enjoy lunch let alone digest it.

I do vow to take more two hour vacations this summer. With this sort of view, how can I not?!

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

Déjeuner Avec Un Vue

I guess by now you know that I am a girl who digs springtime! I’ve been so happy to be outside these past few weeks that I am just over the moon every day that I’m able to venture out. This is the time of year that makes me wish I had an outdoorsy kind of job.

I’m lucky that my office has enormous windows and a gorgeous view. That does help, though it isn’t quite the same as really being outside.

So today at lunch, Dude and I took off to a local boulangerie for some sandwiches, drinks and desserts (I love the combo packages you get here in France at the local boulangerie/patisserie!) and headed toward the Route des Crêtes which is in the hills above La Ciotat.

There are many places along this route where you can stop and take advantage of the scenery. We found a place to stop not too far up the route, parked the car, took out our little picnic and had lunch outside with a magnificent view. It was a bit hazy today, but the sun was shining, the air was warm and the view was of course, perfect.

I am so eager every day to just get out and experience spring time. Even though we had only an hour to enjoy our meal and the scenery, it was enough to satisfy the little voice inside my head that says ‘get outside when the weather is nice’.

Yes-I do hear voices, but only the good kind 🙂

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.

View of the Mediterranean Sea


View of the Mediterranean Sea from the beach at La Ciotat.

La Ciotat on a Stormy Day

In February we decided to brave the stormy weather and take a walk along the water in La Ciotat. Even though it was freezing cold and threatening to rain, the view was beautiful. Just look at the color or the sea. It is breathtaking!

My Arrival

Even though this was posted today, all this actually happened back in October when we first arrived. I only got around to telling my story today.

I actually made here! The trip was awful and I am not even going to sugar coat it. We got up at 5:30am on Sunday to leave by 7:30am to get to LAX. It rained on the way (but that was nothing compared to the rest of our trip). Everything went great at the airport, no issues there. The flight was really great. I recommend Air Tahiti Nui anytime! You should have seen the food they gave us (chicken and rice with veggies, bread, chocolate mousse, cheese, crackers, coffee) and for breakfast (waffles with raspberries on top, fruit, yogurt etc). I think it was the best airline food I have ever had! I should have know that our bliss would not last. Once arriving in Paris, it was all over. We arrived at 9am at Charles De Gualle airport. We were suppose to catch the TGV at 11:50 to be in Marseille and pick up our rental car at 3:30pm and make it to the hotel by 4pm. That never happened. Instead, we were told that our train had been canceled due to the strike and we would not be able to take another train until 2:30pm. So we parked ourselves and all of our luggage (6 very large suitcases 30″ and 3 carry-ons 20″ my computer and my daughters backpack)in the train station for 5 and 1/2 hours. Mind you, it was freezing in there. They do not heat the train station. Once on the train (it was a little late) we had to make every stop imaginable because not enough trains were running. It took 4 and 1/2 hours to get to Marseilles. By the time we got in, the car rental place was closed. It was now 7pm at night. I went to the ticket both to find a train to La Ciotat and was told that we would have to wait until 9:40pm ( 2 hours and 40 minutes in the station) before we could leave and it would be on a bus, not a train because they weren’t running any more that night, that dropped us off, God knows where, some place in La Ciotat. So we went to find a ATM machine (which was outside in a shady area, and I don’t mean under a tree, in Marseilles)and got some money to find a taxi to take us to La Ciotat. Well, the cars here are very small. So we didn’t fit too well and in the tax station there were 5 guys trying to literally tie our luggage on to a Ross/Jacob sized car. The taxi driver left the back hatch open and tied the door down over our luggage. We also had luggage in the passenger’s side of the car from floor to ceiling and Michael, my husband and Presley, my daughter, and I each had a piece of luggage on our laps in the back seat. We did finally made it to our hotel, but it was 10:30pm (we were supposed to be there at 4pm). We did not have internet or a phone in the room and the heat and television didn’t work. We also didn’t have any food.(We decided before getting a taxi that we should eat something in the Marseilles station so we did that. I can’t believe my first meal in France was stupid McDonalds!! That was the only thing open, but at least we got dinner)

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