La belle Provence

We spend two weeks soaking in the south of France.

On August 15, we piled into a car with Mel’s dad and stepmom and drove for two hours from Pignan to a small town called Le Tholonet, in Provence.

Map from Pignan, 34570, France to Le Tholonet, 13100, France

There isn’t a whole lot going on in this tiny town located between Marseille and Aix-en-Provence, but when this is the view from your window, you really don’t care!

View from our window

We were staying with Mel’s cousins, who live at the bottom of Mont Sainte-Victoire, pictured above and made famous by Cézanne.

Image result for mont ste victoire
Mont Sainte-Victoire avec grand pin, Paul Cézanne

We were here for twelve days, with absolutely nothing planned, besides familial obligations. This was a good thing, because on day 2, David got very sick with a yucky stomach bug…to the point where we had to go to a walk-in clinic the day before his birthday to get antibiotics. It was bad. And made for a less-than-stellar birthday weekend, as we couldn’t go very far from our apartment. It was also stupid hot (nearing the 40 degree Celsius mark), so being outside was actually exhausting. But we were in a fabulous spot, with views of vineyards and the mountain, fabulous hosts who spoiled us quite a bit, and a swimming pool! So it ended up being a much-needed rest after our first two weeks of intense travel.

Once David started to feel a bit better, we began venturing out a bit. Highlights included a winery visit to Château Simone (of course), a drive around Mont Sainte Victoire (with no rain since April, the risk of fire sadly closed all the hiking trails), lots of visits with family in the area, meals al fresco, and a visit to David’s favourite town in France: Cassis. We had hoped to do more, but our bodies were telling us to slow down, so we listened.

Glamour shot by the pool


Mont Sainte-Victoire
Grapes near our apartment nearing harvest time


Our trusty steed in France

The cellar at Château Simone
We tried to visit Domaine du Bagnol, but it was closed for the harvest. Still managed to get this sweet shot!
Fog shot


View of the centuries-old Château de Cassis atop the ridge, now a hotel

David in his natural habitat (by boats)
Cassis selfie
Cassis apéro at Divino
Port shot
The Château by night

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David captured this awesome night shot of Cassis

Once it was time to say goodbye to Mel’s cousins, we loaded into our trusty Fiat 500 and drove for an hour to the port of Toulon for David’s birthday surprise: two nights aboard a Beneteau First 45 and a day trip sailing out on the Med. Our host was very excited to have experienced sailors aboard, since it meant he didn’t have to do everything on his own. We had such a nice day of sailing that when we returned to the dock that evening, he called his wife and we all went out for dinner together.

Our marine digs for two nights


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Belated birthday champagne
Les deux frères (the name of these two rocks)
David with “the two brothers”
Helming is serious business
Mel takes it slightly less seriously
View out on the Med

After our two nights out on the water, we got back in the Fiat and traded Provence for the Côte d’Azur. Our final French destination was Les Issambres, a small seaside town up on a hill between St. Tropez and Cannes, where we were staying with Ghislaine, a dear family friend. As you can imagine, the view of the Med was incredible, and the infinity pool that we spent most of our time lounging around didn’t hurt either.

Mel blogging
Night swim


Infinity pool
View from our balcony

We must thank all our hosts from this part of our trip for being so incredibly welcoming and generous. From looking after us while we were sick to making fabulous French meals for us, we were so fortunate to have been able to stay with them. Merci à Marie-Pierre, Michel, Jean-Marc and Ghislaine pour l’accueil très chaleureux!

Where the wind takes us next: Italy!!



6 thoughts on “La belle Provence

  1. What a great adventure you have had in France! I’m glad you slowed down a bit…when on an extended holiday, the key is always to take it very slow and adapt the pulse of your surroundings! Looks like Dave recovered valiantly! Enjoy your next adventures!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. We have learned lots of things on this trip. For one thing, nine weeks is perhaps a tad too long. Also, longer stays, rather than lots of shorter stays. The problem is that Mel wanted to see it all!


  2. OMG, David looks so French! Mel, you Frenchized him. Must be that wine and cheese.

    Tell me your walk-in clinic experience in France was better than in Canada! I took Feng to the dentist in France this summer… it was pretty straightforward (and cheaper than in Canada).

    It’s 40C here in Ottawa and even I must admit it’s almost too hot (not to mention weird, since it’s late September…)

    Stay safe and happy!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Where does he look French?? The walk-in clinic was great actually. In and out in about a half hour. And it only cost 25 euros to see a doctor (and the prescriptions were even less).

      Stay cool and try to hang on to some of that Indian summer for us. We’ll be back in Canada in a week!


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