My blogfriend Claudie who lives in the South of France had invited me to spend a week with her and family in Ollioules at French Rivera and Provence.
The first day she took me for a visit to Sanary-sur-Mer which is located between Bandol (direction Marseille) and Toulon, at the western end of the Cote d'Azur.
In the centre of the houses along the port you see the tower which dates from the 13th century and was once part of an important defensive system for the town, and the village developed in the middle ages around the tower.
Sanary-sur-Mer has a a pretty harbour lined with palm trees and pastel coloured houses, which reminded me very much Italy, which I know far better of course due to my Italian husband.
I learned that it was in the waters off Sanary-sur-Mer that Jacques Cousteau developed the diving equipment that is still crucial to deep-sea diving.
I didn't know that quiet a few German authors exiled to Sanary-sur-Mer before the second world war. Many were subsequently interned by the French as enemy aliens. The writers included Bertolt Brecht and Thomas Mann among many others.
A warm welcome ! attention to your car !
views on the little town and the habor
and the seafront
lots of boats big and small were parked here waiting to be used in summer although the season had already started.
and a very curageous lady half naked with only 18°C (64 F)
I found Bandol to be a cute little seaside resort in a sheltered bay, cradled by hills and protected from the wind. It is popular in summer but especially pleasant to visit out of season, when the crowds have gone and you can savour the beauty in the clement climate of a Mediterranean winter. It is very popular to French families from Paris or Lyon, who descend to their summer houses for the long summer vacation, jealously protecting their privacy from the eyes of the world. I haven't seen any !
The sheltered situation of Bandol provides excellent conditions for grape growing and there have been vineyards here since 600 BC. There are five different appellations grown on a variety of terrain, producing terrific whites and rosés on the coast (a marvellous accompaniment to fish and seafood) and stronger red wines grown on the terraces inland. Thousands of people visit for the annual Fete du Vin in December.
First thing I saw was a Casino ! I thought I could play some roulette there, but it turned out to be a supermarket ! Of course that there were so many "Casinos" in this region !
People playing "Petanque" a typical game with metal balls in Southern France
There were also some quiet big yachts
and the first tourists enjoying the beach
On our way back we stopped at this beautiful bakery. The inside decoration was just gorgeous !
My first impressions of my first holiday day with Claudie is here on my blog Writer's CrampsMore participantshere