Provence 2010

 

Not quite a year in Provence, but we did start to worry: an unpronounceable volcano in Iceland and a strike by French railway drivers made the trip even more memorable!

 

Week one was to celebrate the 70th birthday of Julie’s mum, Sandy, in the Cote d’Azur.

 

Our location was Villefrance, a little east of Nice…

 

Sandy has always loved the seaside…

 

And Luke also enjoys the seaside with his dad Mike…

 

 

Whether Abby like the seaside or not is a little too soon to know. However Abby does like her mum Mandy to read to her, and if there’s any food on the go she the first in!

 

 

Villefrance is the classic Mediterranean town: beautiful narrow streets helps to keep it cool in the summer…

 

I’m not known to favour large amounts of water, but when the water is a nice comfortable 38degC it’s another matter…

 

With warm weather, what better than a cold beer…

 

For our second week we hired a car and drove to Moustier-Sainte-Marie: very close to the Verdon Gorge. I had “discovered” Moustier around 10-years ago when I did the GR3 (long distance walk), it is an exquisite classic walled town with a long history…

 

With a history going back well over 2-thousand years Moustier oozes charm…

 

The town is built into a limestone crag with the chapel situated high-up on the escarpment…

 

We stayed at Hotel le Colombier, a friendly family run hotel. Brigitte and Jean-Luc, and all of the staff there, helped make our visit most enjoyable.

 

Moustier is very convenient for the Verdon Gorge, Europe’s largest and most dramatic gorge. A classic 8-mile walk takes you through some of the best sections of the gorge.

 

The start of the Martel trek through the Verdon Gorge…

 

The way down into the gorge is very steep at times…

 

You need a head for heights!

 

At the bottom of the gorge the going is not so vertigo inducing…

 

Walking the Verdon is not a stroll: the 8-miles takes 6-hours at a decent pace!

 

The river is a stunning blue-green in colour…

 

The gorge is very narrow at times…

 

And when the going is very steep there are stairs to help you on your way…

 

The stairs descend for several hundred feet…

 

The Martel route is very dramatic!

 

Different sections of the Verdon Gorge are accessible at a variety of locations. On another day we explored the lower gorge.

 

This section of the gorge is downstream from the dam: the Verdon river is used for hydroelectricity.

 

Walking the lower gorge has its moments…

 

With a large drop either side of you; a head for heights is very helpful!

 

The Verdon Gorge is simply beautiful…

 

A great place for a walking holiday…

 

Lac de Ste-Croix: the reservoir created to provide hydroelectric power…

 

Our flight home was cancelled due to the unpronounceable volcano in Iceland. And to make matters worse French railways were on strike! So we decided that our only option was to retain the car and drive north to Calais: 800-miles in a Fiat500 is not recommended…

 

We took 2-days to drive to Calais…

 

And were we glad to get on the ferry, three days after we were supposed to be home…

 

 

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