Blog Archives

Visions of Life in Provence

Christmas in Saint-Paul-de-Vence

Restaurant in Ramatuelle

Peacock at the Citadelle in St. Tropez

The Domaines of Pierrefeu

Hiking near Bandol

The Rights of Man written into a stone wall in Barjols

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.

Ile de Porquerolles – Hiking, The Lighthouse and The Gorge du Loup

When we last left off from our cliffhanger on the island :), my family was at the Moulin de Bonhour (which really wasn’t). From there we headed left and down the hill until we came to an intersection that gave us four choices. One way was back to the village and in two other directions was the way to separate beaches. I was more interested in strolling through the island vineyards; there are 200 hectares of them, and olive tree groves and then hiking up to the lighthouse.

In the end, that was the direction we took. We headed down hill towards the center of the island and passed beautifully manicured vineyards which abruptly stopped just at the edge of the island “forest”.

Then it was onto the olive tree groves

 

and after that a mixture of crops ranging from wheat, to corn, to flowers, to palm trees and many other crops and groves that I didn’t recognize. Remember, I’m nowhere near to being a green thumb (I am a self-proclaimed lover of LOOKING at nature not dabbling in it) so there are many plants and flowers of which I have no idea what they are.

Kilometers after kilometer were beautiful crops and some scattered houses of inhabitants lucky enough to own a piece of the earth on this island.

Just before making the turn to head in the direction of the lighthouse, we came upon this little shack.

At first I thought it was just some broken down thing that was left by the way side but as we continued along the main road, we noticed that it branched off onto a small trail and ended up at the little shack. To our surprise, it was a brand new shaded area with a bench to be used as a rest stop and bird watching area! We were lucky enough to have it all to ourselves and enjoy the chattering of the large amounts of birds that came to bathe and drink the water of the pond we were next to.

After a quick bite, we brought a backpack of snacks with us onto the island; we headed off in the direction of the lighthouse. The wide trail had been newly graded and compacted and to the side of the road there were surveying sticks every few kilometers. We wondered if this area was being prepared for building houses or condos. It would be a beautiful place to live, but what a shame to spoil the natural beauty of the landscape. There were no signs to tell what was to take place so I guess I’ll just have to wait and see until the next time I come by for a visit.

After rounding the bend, we came across a tiny collection of apartment houses (no more than 5 or 6) and then it was up the hill towards the lighthouse. Once we reached the top of the hill we could see the lighthouse, called Le Phare du Cap d’Arme, through a gate. It was built in 1837 but looks like it has been restored.

Unfortunately, you can’t go through the gate or onto the grounds to see the lighthouse up close. I was thoroughly disappointed as the lighthouse is on the map and there were never any signs along the way to say that you weren’t allowed to visit it up close. We only saw signs pointing us in the direction of the lighthouse. It seemed others had the same idea as us and the same disappointed look as we gathered around the fence peering in.

After a brief rest and some grumbly words coming from my lips, we headed off down the road and onto a little trail towards the Gorge du Loup. The trail is very easy to follow and hike on. It leads you through trees instead of groves and fields.

As you approach the gorge the trees open up into a wide open space overlooking a gorge with a view onto the Mediterranean. The gorge is a small one, but beautiful nonetheless. There happened to be a small sailboat anchored near the edge and some divers taking advantage of the beautiful day. This was another perfect spot to pull out a snack and sit and rest for awhile and enjoy the view. There were only two other people we had to share the view with. It was amazingly quiet and sheltered.

By the time we were ready to take our leave of the gorge and venture off to our next site, the clouds had started to roll in and it was getting a bit chilly. I put on my sweater and off we went towards the gardens and the beach.

What’s this?? Another cliffhanger??? More to come 🙂 ……

 

 

Saturday Stroll and Dejeuner

Mr. Meteo told me last night that it was going to rain today, so I made no plans to go anywhere.

Well, stupid Mr. Meteo was wrong. I woke this morning (or mid-morning by everyone else’s standards) to a sunny, blue sky. It was a bit breezy, but not too bad. Definitely nothing in the way of the Mistrals or anything, so that brightened my day some.

I’m not complaining about sunny skies, no way Jose. It just that I would have made whole day away plans if I would have known. I treasure my weekend get-a-ways, you know.

So, I again checked Mr. Meteo this morning to see what was up. He was still saying that rain would be coming my way sometime this afternoon which meant that if I wanted to do anything in the outdoorsy way, I had better get on it (if he was telling me the truth).

Since we have such a nice area to stroll in, Dude and I decided to take an hour or so walk before lunch.

To our surprise it was quite pleasant outside and turned out to be perfect weather for a late morning walk.

The little poppies are blooming.

The vineyards are starting to show leaves and thanks to all the rain we have been having, the mountains and fields are a nice shade of green.

Once back home, it was time for a quick lunch.

Yes folks, that’s my idea of a quick lunch, Cantal cheese (I will forever love my friend Jacqui over at The French Village Diaries for introducing me to this wonderful cheese), fresh strawberries, a bottle of Cairanne wine(made known to be my my friend Michel our at Sablet House Provence and that Dude already partook of) and some delicious 1848 dark chocolate while enjoying the view.

I do kind of think I’m spoiled, but somehow I just can’t apologize for it 🙂

Country Living In Provence Is So Cool

I love living in the country side. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Not only do I get to live in Provence, but I get to live in the countryside of Provence. Bonus points any day!

Every day I drive out of my driveway and the first street I come to brings me to nothing but hills and vineyards. Every once in a while , during my country drives, I get to see this and it makes my day. Look how cute this farmer is! Scenes like this just put a smile on my face. Doesn’t he look like he enjoys his life here?

La Cadière-d’Azur

Le Castellet

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