La Vie en Rose

Bonjour from Provence. We picked up our rental car from Marseille railway station and drove our diminutive vehicle through the breathtaking viticultural countryside to the tiny village of Caromb.

Village of Caromb. Mont Ventoux in the background.

It’s a beautiful old town, oozing with culture and history. We’ve been spending most of our days lazing by the pool. We alternatively meander into the quiet village to sample patisseries, beers and wines.

Watching the Tour in the local taverna with a few brewski’s.

We’ve taken turns cooking an evening meal. It’s Roger’s opportunity tonight to cook Spanish Tortilla.

Mmmmmm food.

Card games in the evening. No cheating here!

We begin with some baguette, cheese and local wine, and we usually end the night with some party games and more wine. Oh it’s tough. I’m not sure how I’ll mange for four more weeks.

We drove up to the top of Mont Ventoux today. We passed by hundreds of sweating, puffing cyclists on the journey. It seems to be a pilgrimage for them to follow the traditional route of the Tour De France to the iconic ski station at the summit.

On Mont Ventoux summit.

Tom Simpson’s memorial on Mont Ventoux.

I visited the memorial to Tommy Simpson at the summit and soaked up the atmosphere. It was a highlight so far for me.

Englishman Tommy Simpson collapsed and died of exhaustion on Mont Ventoux during the Tour de France in July 1967. (50 years ago)

I’ve looked at where the Tour has been going each day and it’s been consistently 2 or 3 hours away. I haven’t been able to drag myself away from the pool, so I’ve been watching each stage live on France 2 Television. They commentate enthusiastically in French and I’ve no idea what they are saying. I will drive to watch the stage to Salon-de-Provence on Friday before the Marseille stage on Saturday.

Stage 19.

We’ll position ourselves to watch the important time trial which could decide this year’s final result.

Ticket to the Velodrome to watch the start of the time trial.

Eating in the evening.

I’ve only got pictures of relaxing by the pool and eating. The temperature remains constantly in the 30’s every day.

By the pool.

I apologize if I make you jealous. I’m pretty sure I’m going to have to do this every (kiwi) winter from now on. Our summer’s are just not like this. The heat is so nice.

Marine, Justin and me.

Donna strolling into Caromb.

Shopping in Aix en Provence.

Marine et Tony in Caromb.

Me with a Framboise tartlette walking back to the villa.

Out for dinner. More food!

Marine and Justin’s first wedding anniversary.

Au revoir for now.


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The Return to Paris (Retour à Paris)

It’s been a few days in France now and I’ve been deciding whether to restart the holiday blog from our last visit over here. It seems I will. I guess it’s good to look back on these adventures. The flight out was long and tiring. Three and a half hours to Melbourne, nine hours to Hong Kong and finally the twelve hours to Paris.

On the plane to Paris.

Belinda sleeping on the plane.

We had two, one hour stop overs between each leg. Arriving in Paris in the late evening we went for a wander into the city. The Paris Plage Festival was underway along the Seine and we mingled with thousands of locals who were drinking wine and picnicking along the riverside. This was interspersed with bands playing local music.

Vege shopping in Bastille.

More veges and fruit.

The following day Donna and Belinda headed to the local vege and fruit market while I hit the Metro underground railway. I visited the Arc de Triumphe, the Champs de Elysee and a few galleries. Donna and Belinda joined me after lunch and we continued on our touristy activities.

Cafe time in Paris.

It was then time to leave Paris and meet up with Justin and Marine in Marseille. Through good planning, we were staying just a few hundred metres from the Gare du Lyon train station, where the TGV trains leave from. The station was very crowded because it is holiday time in France. We finally boarded and suddenly we were rocketing out of the city. The drive by car would take over twelve hours, but on the TGV it takes only three traveling at 320km/h. We sat with a lovely retired school teacher who once taught English to her French students. She said it had been a long time since she had spoken English and we enjoyed entertaining conversation along the way. Justin greeted us at the train station in Marseille and we walked the few hundred metres to their accommodation on the top floor of an old housing block in the heart of the city.

View from Justin and Marine’s apartment at night. The Bascilica in the background.

Apartment view at night.

French Rose wine time.

The rooms are amazing! Very bohemian and full of character. They have a balcony apartment overlooking the rooftops and the bustling streets below. In the distance the local basilica, Notre Dame De la Garde can be seen on the hill.

Calanque de Sormiou.

We have spent the last few days down on the beach with temperatures over 32 degrees every day. Yesterday we took the ferry to a small island just off-shore from Marseille port. It was beautiful. We swam, then ate lunch, then swam some more! At 4pm we returned home.

On the boat to the Iles for the day.

Last night we visited a friendly wine cave and ate tasty food. It’s now day five of the adventure and it’s been perfect so far. We read of snow storms in NZ and are very upset at missing that freezing weather (#sarcasm). I’ll start blogging regularly now that I’ve got going.

Swimming in 32 degrees.

Out for dinner in Marseilles.

Strawberry patisserie and Coke for breakfast.

Down to the Calanque for a swim.

Bonjour from Marseille. Marine, Belinda, Justin et Tony.



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