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.
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!
We were staying with Mel’s cousins, who live at the bottom of Mont Sainte-Victoire, pictured above and made famous by 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.
Our trusty steed in France
View of the centuries-old Château de Cassis atop the ridge, now a hotel
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.
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.
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!!