Blog Archives

Come Stroll With Me

I can never say enough how much I love the area in which I live. The minute I leave my house and turn down the first street, I am hit with the most magnificent views of hills and vineyards.

Dude and I have started taking evening strolls since the weather has warmed up and the sun hangs in the sky until nearly 10pm (I love that). We tried to take a stroll during lunch one day, but it’s now proving to be too hot so I guess we will stick to our early evening walks.

The center of town in our village is small compared to some, but there are many houses and streets that surround it. There are also some nice hikes in the area and one of them is easy to get to once I leave my front door. I heard from the town maire that our village consisted of only a little more than 1000 people in 1970 and over the last 40 years has grown to be around 6000. Even though that is still a relatively small number, the growth is impressive. I guess everyone else likes the surrounding scenery, too! As a result of the growth, there are a number of really nice areas in which to walk and take in not only the view, but all the different styles of houses. It makes for a very enjoyable evening.

The last couple of days and evenings we have been venturing out more often. Come and take a quick stroll with me. I love sharing what is literally, in my back yard.

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Getting Inspired

Meg over at Meg Travels has nominated me for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award! I’m not sure if I inspire her to go and see more places or if I inspire her to get to work on her house! In any case, thank you Meg for sending this award my way. I am very glad that my blog, in either of those cases, inspires you. I hope others are inspired by it, too.

Meg gets to do something I would love to do (I bet you all would too). She gets to travel around the globe and then she gets to write all about it. Who in their right mind wouldn’t want to do that! She just returned from a trip to Italy and is in the process of telling us all about the wonderful things to see and do there. Coincidentally, I found her blog from her writings on France. I am always curious about the places people go to visit, what they did there and why they recommend it. Meg gives her readers just that, plus a few extras. My recommendation is to “travel” on over to her blog and see what she’s been up to recently.

In order to accept this award, I have to follow a few rules and here they are:

First, acknowledge and thank the giver by linking back to their blog and put the award on your page. Check.

Next, list 7 things about yourself. Check.

  1. Turtles are my most favorite animal in the world (I’ve mentioned this before). I had two box turtles as a teenager and they were named J.R. (I know what you all are thinking and yes, he was named after J.R. Ewing since I had such an addiction to Dallas) and Caruso (I don’t know why, he just looked like a Caruso to me). After my first child was born, they became poor, little, neglected turtles so I gave them to a friend of my aunt’s who had a bunch of turtles in her back yard. I believe that my little guys are still living there happily ever after.
  2. The first DVD that I ever purchased was “A League of Their Own”. I still love that movie and I’ve watched it a million times! It’s one of those great feel-good movies that never gets old.
  3. I don’t own any dresses or skirts. I hate wearing them. In my elementary school, girls had to wear a dress everyday and boys had to wear a tie. Thanks to that, my wardrobe of preference is jeans and a t-shirt. What else does a girl need?
  4. The moon is my favorite celestial being. There’s something very calming about gazing up at the night sky and seeing the moon, especially a harvest moon, now that’s something to behold.
  5. I had my tonsils taken out when I was 4 years old and I had hernia surgery when I was 7 years old.  I get the tonsil thing but a hernia at 7?? I think child labor services should have shown up at my house.
  6. The two subjects I always tried to get out of in school were math and science. I couldn’t stand either one of them and I took the least amount of classes in those subjects possible to still be able to graduate with all fulfilled requirements. Funny how those are the two things I deal with in my job all day long! Who’d a thunk it? Definitely not me!
  7. I took my first airplane ride when I was 23 years old. I went to Maui, Hawaii. I didn’t have the opportunity to travel when I was younger aside from a couple of trips to the lake with my family and one 3 week vacation trip I took with my aunt, uncle and cousins in their motor home when I was 16. The travel bug didn’t bite me until I was in my mid-30’s! I think I’m making up for all those lost travel years now 🙂 BTW- France was the very first destination I went to outside of the USA. Hmm, there’s gotta be fate in that somewhere.

Last, pass the award to some bloggers who inspire you. Check.

Fit for my Fork– Sam inspires me to eat it up healthy and to love doing it.

Beyond the Brush– Lynne inspires me to appreciate the arts.

A Historic Virginia Plantation– Michelle and Brett inspire me to continue on with my old French house remodel and to look forward to the day it’s done!

My Botanical Garden– Inspires me to get out in garden and get myself some green thumbs.

Lorna’s Tearoom Delight– Inspires me to relax and have a good cup of tea and to have the courage to write a book about what I love!

To all of you out there in blog land, go forth and be inspired 🙂

Lovely Le Lavandou

Today was one of those days where I just wanted to go out and take a nice stroll along the beach. The weather here has been so perfect and I just didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to go to one of my favorite beaches. I have already written about Le Lavandou in another post (click here), but I thought I would show a couple of pictures of our walk along the beach today.

I had taken our badminton rackets and birdies in hopes that it would not be too breezy to play a game on the beach. Unfortunately, it was too windy so we happily strolled along the boardwalk instead. I love this beach because it is one of the few beaches near me that is actually large and sandy, not rocky. This time of year is great to go and visit for a day out since the weather is usually nice and the tourists haven’t flocked here for vacation, yet.

Just look how we had the whole beach and walkway practically all to ourselves. The water almost looks like a giant lake and was so calm and inviting.

Sillans-la-Cascade and la Chapelle St. Laurent

My family set out for another day of hiking and this time we settled on an area in the high Var near a town called Sillans-la-Cascade. Just across the road of the old ramparts of the town is a trail that leads you to the Cascade de Sillans (aka the waterfall of Sillans).

Ample and free parking is across the street and the walk to view the waterfall is only 5 or 10 minutes from there.

At the first fork in the road you will come to a sign which says Panorama view of the Cascade and points to the right. Take the trail up a few feet and veer towards the left and you will get a terrific view of the waterfall.

The trail continues on up through the hills and the hike gives you a terrific bird’s eye view of the surrounding area to the left. The valley is dotted with houses, vineyards and olive trees. You don’t have to worry about getting lost or wandering too far away from where you started as this trail makes a circle and brings you right back to the waterfall and the area where you started from (the first fork in the road). Trails like this are wonderful and happen to be my favorite kind. It makes hiking simpler when you are able to end your hike at the same place you began. It’s just more practical when you are only hiking for a few hours or for the day, and not there to camp out and make it a weekend trip!

This particular hike was only a few kilometers and we easy hiked it at great leisure (stopping to admire the view and take plenty of photos) in about 2 hours. Towards the last 20 minutes or so of the hike we came upon an old house in ruins. I bet in its heyday it was a great place to be. You can’t see the waterfall from this spot but you can definitely hear the sound of running water which happens to be a sound I absolutely love! It has to be one of the most soothing sounds you could listen to.

Once back at the fork in the road, make your way down some concrete stairs. This path will wind around and become a dirt path which takes you to the base of the waterfall. Unfortunately you can’t get near the falls as they are blocked off with fences due to the danger of falling rocks. The river which forms at the base, however, offers every advantage to get as close as possible. There is a wonderful area not far down the path where it would be a lovely place to venture out on the large rock and bring a book, read and listen to the running water. I must remember to do that next time (with my picnic lunch!)

You can only travel so far on this path and then it dead ends and you must turn around and go back in the same direction from whence you came. I never saw one person on the hiking trail above, but down at the base, there were a great deal of families and couples strolling near the water.

There are other trails to hike in the area and we proceeded to follow one to the Chapelle St. Laurent. You can get to this chapel the easy way, which means you head back to the parking lot and follow the trail up the hill that is behind the parking area. Reaching the chapel this way will only take about 15 minutes.

We decided we were going to follow the signs and go the “back way” which takes you past some houses, a corral, across the main street and through another housing track before connecting again in a wooded area. It also takes you past two World War II monuments of men who were killed in the area by the Germans during the war. Once you past the two monuments, the chapel is just around the corner. This way takes about an hour or so verses 15 minutes going through the parking area, so which way you go depends on how you really feel about hiking!

The chapel itself is no real treat to look at, though it has been nicely restored by the volunteering town’s people. The real treat is the view you get from the back side of the chapel. If you go around the right side of the building and out onto the rock, the view of the farmlands, houses, the town of Sillans-la-Casade and the olive tree groves is amazing! I could have stayed in that spot all day just drinking it in. I was so grateful and lucky that the day happened to be warm, bright, sunny and there was no wind. It made for a wonderful site to see.

After resting there for quite some time, we headed back down the trail on the right of the chapel (opposite of the trail we arrived on). This took us down to the parking area and offered us closer views of the old chateau in the town just behind the ramparts. This chateau is now a government building and houses several government agencies.

If you’re looking for a hike that is more on the easy side, then hiking around La Cascade is a trail you would want to take. You can approach it leisurely and it is pretty safe for both young and old and everyone in between. The hike to the Chapelle St. Laurent is a bit more difficult so I would discourage taking very young children. There is also the danger, when you reach the top, of being on a very steep cliff which offers no protection if one should fall.

If you have been to the waterfall or the chapel, I would love to hear all about it and if there are other trails around the falls you have hiked on, please let me know. My family is always looking to find interesting hikes to explore.

If you want to see more photos of Sillans-la-Cascade and la Chapelle St. Laurent they appear on Flickr. To get there just click on the “More Photos” option under Photos on Flickr.

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 🙂

Sanary sur Mer

Le Lavandou

Hiking In The Calanques

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