The Beautiful French Riviera
10.02.2011 - 12.02.2011
Bon Jour from the South of France (part deux),
As we continue along the French Mediterranean coastline by car we leave the hotel in Nimes a bit late in the day due to a moderately late night the night before and after we made our stop in Arles and did some shopping we found it getting dark on us near the small seaside town of Bandol. We drove around town looking for a hotel and happened upon a very nice hotel named Ile Rousse where they had a room. We were pretty stunned when we arrived in the room and found an outstanding view. We learned later that night while chatting with some locals at dinner that it was in these waters around Bandol and Toulon where Jacques Cousteau first tested his scuba diving system that he invented in the early 1950’s. The next day we drive on into St. Tropez where we stopped for lunch and then finally into our next planned destination of Villefranche Sur-Mer. Susan had been to Villefranche years ago and had the ideal hotel picked out right on the harbor waterfront.
Onto the pictures!
We arrived in Bandol right after nightfall to this view outside our hotel balcony.
The next morning we awoke to an even more beautiful view of the Bandol harbor on the Mediterranean.
The next three pictures were taken in St. Tropez. I really didn’t know what to expect of St. Tropez but I imagined it being full of millionaires sunbathing or something. Well it was cloudy and a bit cool so no one was sunbathing but there was plenty of evidence of wealth. There were probably 50 yachts in the harbor along with some beautiful smaller sailboats. We had lunch at a very nice restaurant on the harbor waterfront with a sand floor. I felt like taking off my shoes and playing volleyball or something.
The picture above was taken of a harbor as we drove through Nice France at sunset just before arriving in Villefranche.
Villefranche is a seaside town that is built on the cliffs rising from the ocean between Nice and Monoco. Our hotel was right on the water so just about everything we did in town required a significant climb. To give you an idea of just how steep it is the city limits extend from sea level to 1750 feet in elevation. The good news is after you go out drinking it is a downhill walk (roll) back to the Hotel. The next four pictures are some views around town. They had some very interesting vegetation growing there.
These next five pictures are of Fort Du Mont Alban which was built in 1557 under orders of Emmanuel Philibert, the Duke of the Savoie to protect the Villefranche harbor from invasion. It remains in excellent condition and was a joy to tour.
We were fortunate to be in Villefranche on Saturday morning when they hold their weekly street market which was full of vendors of all types. It was clear that the market was also a gathering place for the locals to get together and talk and the beautiful weather was a great reason to get out and about.
This was a shot of the restaurants on the harbor right outside the hotel. The pastel colors of the buildings in this area are very nice.
These were some men having some drinks at a local café where we stopped for a cappuccino and chocolate croissant. Just about everyone who walked by waved or spoke to them so I suspect they are important (or at least popular) to the locals.
Here is my favorite picture of Villefranche and among my favorite pictures of the trip so far taken from the balcony of our hotel room. We enjoyed several very nice glasses of wine and a few meals under those red umbrellas just looking out over the sail boats at the Mediterranean.
Well that’s it for this leg of the trip. Next we will travel by car through Monaco and plan a short stop in Monte Carlo so see the Casino and what I have heard can be an elaborate parade of exotic cars then onto Rapallo Italy where we will visit the sea side towns of Cinque Terre before we drop off the car in Florence Italy.
Until next time…..
Ciao (OK I finally learned how to spell it)