A Travellerspoint blog

France

Down to Earth

sunny 18 °C

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From our apartment high atop the red mountains of l'esterel in Provence, we look across the azure Bay of Cannes to the snow capped peaks of the French Alps .... Sounds idyllic doesn't it? Well it is, and we would coax anyone with a son or daughter to suggest they live here so as to have a reason to visit. Here is another view showing the Alps.
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However, after 4 months in S.E.Asia, we finally bumped back to earth yesterday when we had lunch in little snack bar on the beach in Theoule sur Mer.
Theoule is a sleepy seaside village about 15 kms west of Cannes and in some ways it reminded us of Phu Noi in Vietnam where we also ate in the beachside snack bars. Yesterday's lunch was, in South East Asian parlance, Same-Same ... but it was very different. The biggest difference was the price. Lunch for two in Vietnam - 5 dollars, including tip. Lunch for two in Theoule - 75 dollars, not including tip! There were four of us in Theoule and the bill for lunch was equivalent to 5 months wages for the average Vietnamese!
Now the sun has finally been turned on, the temperature is rising and should hit 18 today - a vast improvement from the wintry temperatures we encountered when we arrived. The mimosa trees are golden with blossom in the bright sunshine and summer is just around the corner. The beaches of Cannes and Nice will soon be packed with northerners desperate to escape the colder climes.
Here is a view of one of our favourite towns on the Cotes d'Azure ... it is Antibes with its medieval buildings and Napoleonic fort.
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Floating in the Bay of Cannes is the island of Ste. Marguerite. The island's fortress is the legendary place, (as readers of The Dave Bliss Quintet will know), where the Man in the Iron Mask was imprisoned from 1687 - 1698. The actual cell can still be visited ... it lies behind the second window from the left.
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Posted by Hawkson 02:56 Archived in France Comments (4)

The Gorges de Verdon

sunny 24 °C

The medieval entrance to the historic city of Entrevaux north of Nice looks like a bit of kitsch to attract tourists - but it was actually built in 1658...

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Behind the city's impressive, and probably impregnable, walls lies a tightly woven labyrinth of narrow streets at the foot of a steep cliff topped with a monastery...

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The ancient streets of stone houses huddle around the base of the cliff. A steep track takes energetic hikers to the top from the spring fed fountain at the bottom...

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Did we climb all the way up - or not? Maybe we just wandered the streets admiring the flowers...

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In 1536, Entrevaux fell to the troops of Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor, betrayed by its lord Jacques Glandeves; half the population was massacred and the remaining population staged an uprising, cutting the throat of the governor, and offered the town to the French Dauphin, King François I. In recognition of this, Entrevaux was given the Municipal charter of Avignon and declared a royal town of France, with its inhabitants exempt from taxation.

From Entrevaux the narrow mountain roads took us higher into the alpine pastures where row upon row of lavender plants march across the hillsides, painting this sun-soaked land into a landscape by Monet...

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While Provence is probably best known for the beaches along its famous blue coast, le cote d'azure, inland on the high plateaus the blue of the Mediterranean gives way to the purple hues of lavender. The scent of lavender perfumes the air and the fragrance finds its way into almost every local product from soap to ice-cream.
Here we are on top of the world in the foothills of the French Alps...

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Cutting across this mountainous landscape is the Gorges de Verdon - the Grand Canyon of France

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We kayaked through the Gorges and marveled at its pristine waters and vertical cliffs...

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At one end of the Gorges is the historic town of Moustiere Sainte Marie

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According to the legend, during the Crusades in the 10th century the knight Bozon de Blacas was held prisoner by the Saracens. He vowed to hang a star over his village if he was able to return. Legend has it that a golden star has been hanging on a chain slung between tow mountaintops over the village for a thousand years. This may be true. However, the chain has broken from time and the star replaced. Moustiere is a pretty little town on a series of ledges jammed into a ravine and it is a romantic little place to visit.

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Posted by Hawkson 11:40 Archived in France Comments (0)

Love Blossoms in Cannes

sunny 26 °C

As we set off on our first trip together it would seem that the whole world is celebrating our new found love, We have only been together for a few days on the Cotes d'Azure and it seems that the locals are going all out to celebrate the start of our life's journey together. The Jasmine and geraniums surrounding our apartment in Cannes perfumed the air day and night while the streets surrounding us were filled with blooms....

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This is truly la vie en rose...

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The castle was surrounded by blossoms...

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And bouquets of flowers littered the sidewalks...

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Even the fountains were sprouting flowers...

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All we need for a romantic dinner on our balcony in the warm evening air is some freshly caught seafood and a bottle of wine...

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This is heaven. And in the morning we can stroll down to the boulangerie for some freshly baked croissants before heading off to the port to check on the yacht...

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Ah. This is the life.

Posted by Hawkson 22:43 Archived in France Comments (0)

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