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