Travelling to Provence

Edward Whymper, first man to climb the Barre des Ecrins in the French Alps,

Edward Whymper, first man to climb the Barre des Ecrins in the French Alps,

Typical steep narrow street in Briancon

Typical steep narrow street in Briancon

Bistrot on the Col des Leques

Bistrot on the Col des Leques

Well I’ve really fallen by the wayside with the blogs! ¬†However, I discovered that when one is looking after guests 24/24, there really is very little time to do other things – like a blog. So now the tours are over, I can give you a brief outline of the fun we’ve had, and then maybe some in-depth descriptions of some of the awesome sights and experiences.

We left Beaune heading for the French Alps and had to change our route because we had heard that the Col de Lauteret (one of our favourite routes) was closed because of a rock fall in a tunnel. However we did manage to cross the Col d’Orlon, which gave our group a taste of the “high” life! We arrived at Chateau Picomtal, beside the Lac de Serre Poncon (the largest hydroelectric dam in Europe) where we were hosted by Sharon and Jacques Peurreux. They have done a marvellous job of restoring the chateau, and delight in showing people the video of the renovation.

Next day was a beautiful day, perfect for a boat trip with the Carline on the Lac de Serre Poncon. We spent the morning in Briancon, the highest walled town in France, and on the way back we stopped at the huge carved wooden statue of the British climber Edward Whymper, who was the first to climb the Barre des Ecrins 150 years ago. A lunch stop beside the small Lac de Rame before embarking on the Carline. Before we left the following day, Sharon took everyone on a tour of the chateau and gardens – very impressive.

Heading to the Cote d’Azur, we stopped at the Col des Leques for a delightful lunch of shared platters of meats & cheeses, with a very friendly owner. We arrived at Relais d’Agay, our hotel on Cote d’Esterel, in the afternoon, with time to relax before having drinks and dinner in a restaurant on the beach. Idyllic.

A free day followed, with time to relax on the beach, or – as some did – take a bus the few minutes to St Raphael, to explore the rather more glamorous town. We had an excellent dinner at Maobi Plage, always a superb place to eat, with excellent food and service.

On our final day of travelling we left the Esterel Coast and drove along the Cote d’Azur past St Raphael, Frejus, St Maxime, then got caught in the usual queue going to St Tropez market so headed off into the hills to the beautiful little village of Vieux Grimaud, and on to La Garde Freinet for lunch. After that it was Autoroute du Soleil all the way to Cavaillon and thence to Barbentane, where we had rented a villa on the outskirts. A lovely place which we have rented before, with 4 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, large patio & swimming pool – a very tranquil place. ¬†Though in March it wasn’t so tranquil, the mistral blew down about 40 trees on the property, and the neighbour lost 100 trees!

Long distance travelling over for 2 weeks – time to relax and enjoy our “home”.

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