Tuesday, 14 October 2014

I am back after a long while,other things got in the way!

Summer Journey
June , my birthday month seemed a good time to go and have a holiday in the beautiful South of France!
The harbour at Sanary sur Mer on our first evening.
We left Cornwall, I was armed with literary guides and  historical notes.Travelling by train to London  we stayed the night and then boarded the Eurostar at St.Pancras, changed at Gare de Nord  crossing Paris to The Gare de Lyon.  We took the TGV down to Marseilles. That evening we arrived at our destination the charming little port of Sanary sur Mer!
The TGV was great ,hurtling down through the French countryside in a double decker train was amazing and we were there so quickly.
Sanary proved to be the most delightful base for a holiday in this area and it had literary connections and that is always a treat for me.
Nothing quite prepares you for the light and colours of Provence!

The market in Toulon was wonderful,just about every nationality in the world seemed to be there with something amazing on offer. The sheep and goat heads at one butchers stall were a bit macabre and I did not photgraph them!
The fabric stalls were great and reasonably priced,I got some lovely sprigged lavender cotton and a small piece of Las Olivades cotton.

 This stall had the most luscious basil,huge leaves and the scent was beautiful

A closer look at the basil and the plant behind is very large pungeant Marrocan mint.
We had refreshing mint tea at a small cafe run by two affable Morrocan gentlemen who kissed my hand a lot!They said they came from Marrekesh and one of them had a brother in Peckam!

What a moustache,he is handsome!

At Hyeres we wandered the cobble streets and found a cafe for lunch.I thought of Fanny and Robert Louis Stevenson who had lived in Hyeres for a while and loved it.Katherine Mansfield,Edith Wharton and  others loved this place.Queen Victoria also had a passion for it and I am told she longed for the warmth of Hyeres on her death bed.

The backstreets are charming.

 The warmth and light makes mundane scenes look enchanting.

This trip was memorable too as we went to Aix and were able to visit Cezanne's atelier after a walk up along hill out of the town.The atelier was purpose built for Cezanne and is set in a green shady garden with gravel walkways .It is all very low key and the room where he painted has many of the artifacts from his still life paintings. His easel is there and even his old coat hangs evocatively on a hook on the wall. It is a small place with timed entry and has a reverential feeling . A homage to a great painter!

We walked  back into Aix to the Cours Mirabeau through the ancient streets and the flower market.Coffee at Les Deux Garcons but Picasso was not there or Hemmingway either! 

Every evening we took a stroll along the port of Sanary,had meal and wandered the old town. There are many more events that were amazing on this holiday,the Calanques and Cassis were Virgina Woolf complained that frogs kept her awake when she and Leonard were stayng there.I presume they were amphibious!!
I love the scent of the garrigue and the Maquis.What a lucky woman I am to be able to live some of my dreams.
What a birthday treat

Goodnight Sanary!


  1. How fabadoodle was this !!!
    Beautiful and amazing place to celebrate your Birthday , just lovely.
    Happy Belated Birthday to you .

    1. Yes it was a really lovely holiday. Thanks for catching up with me and for your comments and birthday wishes! all the best to you.

  2. Lovely to see you back Angela, and after so many adventures! I love the south of France and have spent many wonderful holidays there. I love the way you have made all the literary connections to the places you visited. We too were in France recently - the other side of the country though - just over the Channel in the Somme region.

    Good to see you back.


  3. Thanks Jeanne,I will be better at blogging now the summer is over I hope. France is wonderful and as library lady I do love to follow literary pilgrimages and arty ones too.Was your visit to the Some to do with the 1st War rememberance? My Grandad was at that battle and survived. All the best to you.

    1. Yes, that was part of Angela. We went to the Memorial at Thiepval and found a distant relative on my father's side who was sadly killed in the 1916 battle aged 21, I am currently researching my family tree and will be following up on the connection. It was an extremely moving place Angela and a magnificent memorial by Edwin Lutyens. x

    2. That war was ghastly,it haunts me more than any of the horrible conflicts.Will we ever learn?

  4. Welcome back! Belated Birthday wishes, Angela. A lovely trip and the best way to spend your birthday! Cheers!

  5. Thanks Ruby,I just popped over to your blog!

  6. What a lovely holiday! We went to Sanary many years ago and I wish I'd found out about the literary connections before I went! I remember having a fabulous Ratatouille at a restaurant there.
    A Belated Happy Birthday to You too!

  7. Hi Jean,it is a really good place to stay,we loved it. The literary conections are mostly German authors who stayed there between the wars and the awful thing was that Vichy actually sent some of them back to Hitlers Germany !