So Steve came over from London for the weekend and joined our crew in Aix en Provence.
Instead of mooching around the village all day pretending to be badly spoken locals, to celebrate our swelling numbers we decided to rent a car and head to the coast.
Immediately I chickened out completely and stepped aside for the menfolk to be our designated drivers. Oh yes I can play a cool hand of timid scaredipants don’t you worry about that.
We headed off in the direction of Cassis, a town on the south coast celebrated for its beauty and a gate way to the famous Calanques.
The Calangues are apparently a geographic miracle- an old glaciated valley immersed by the sea. The locals described their beauty with wonder and pride.
I’ll give you the highlights:
Cassis was gorgeous, like a set in a Louis Malle film / The sun was out / A lot of laughter, so fucking funny / We didn’t swerve onto the wrong side of the road / We didn’t lose a wing mirror / We didn’t get a parking ticket although we might have got a speed camera ticket. Avis will let us know a bit later I have no doubt / People were kind to us, even when we needed the menu explained in granular detail, twice
We walked the first chain of the Calangues. When Steve declared the walk itself very Eastern Bays Auckland I had to agree… but with less activewear and Porche Cayennes.
The rock cliffs were incredible. I suddenly felt sad we lost the Pink and white terraces in 1886. Imagine that.
We ate at an average restaurant in Cassis with enthusiastic staff and a high glam spectacular view. The sun was out so we stayed and stayed, bathing in unseasonal sunshine, and good humour.
On the way home we GPSed ourselves off the motorways and toll gates. Our vision was a stunning meander through Peter Mayle’s Provence, lush countryside studded with charming villages bathed in dappled late afternoon sun. Turns out light industry looks like light industry whereever in the world you are, although in France it comes with more interesting typography and a softer colour palate.
We’re off on a second roadtrip today. I’m not a very good tourist and neither, it turns out, are the rest of my party. We travel light on detail, heavy on humour.
So we’ve done a little more research this time. I’m expecting great things.