Saint-Tropez and other goings on

30 Apr

We have been quite busy around the property again this week. After the flood last year one of the boundary fences was laid flat exposing the huge mess of logs and garbage in the neighbour’s woods. Although the fence had been stood up it left a bit of an eyesore alongside the main entrance. So James and I erected a bamboo screen 2 m high to improve the aesthetics. It is a simple arrangement with 2.5 m long stakes driven into the ground at 1.5 m spacings. There are no stringers, the bamboo screen was just stretched and wired onto each stake. There wasn’t a lot of space between the fence and the hedge but we managed to find a line to fit the screen.

The new screen fence – #1

The new screen fence – #2

On Wednesday we visited Saint-Tropez, which is only just over an hour from here. The road is quite winding over the hills and passed through a couple of villages that look like they are worth revisiting when we have time to stop. We arrived in Saint-Tropez about 10 AM and easily found a parking building. After having a glass of water, a glass of juice, a cup of tea and an hour or so in the car, I was pretty keen to find the toilets! There were none in the parking building but a sign directed us to the square where we should find toilets. Predictably, we saw nothing of use at the square so we powered on through and followed the signs for the tourist office. The tourist office was several minutes walk and when we got there we found it closed down undergoing a makeover. However, there was a local directory nearby showing toilets located about 100 m to the West. So off we went, filled with hope, and the urgency increasing. What a disappointment… when we got there they were barricaded and also under renovation. Bugger! So it was back to the directory to find another option. That happened to be 300 m to the East. This time we were successful and after finding the appropriate coins all was well with the world.

The weather was beautiful in Saint-Tropez and a coffee by the harbour was in order. We sat down at a good-looking spot and picked up the menu. €7 for a double espresso! We were accustomed to paying up to €3. So we moved on to another cafe only 30 m away and found the prices much more agreeable.

Mid-sized boats

Small boats

Big boats

Other boats

A few boats

Boats actually being used. See the snow in the background?

Because it is off-season the place was not too busy but a number of shops seemed to be in the process of renovations and hence closed. We walked around a couple of small beaches near the harbour but we did not get to the main beaches which were 3 or 4 km away. We did pass by the cemetery which is right on the waterfront and then walked up to the citadel overlooking the harbour and town.

The walk from the harbour towards the Citadel around the shoreline

Nice resting place

We Will Remember Them…

Being 25 April and Anzac Day there were poppies in various places including a small patch near a cannon emplacement at the Citadel. The view from on top of the hill was great. In the background there were snowcapped mountains. The Citadel itself was largely closed because of renovation work. But it was still a good spot to visit.

Cannon above a patch of poppies

Panorama of about 180deg taken from the Citadel at Saint-Tropez

View to the old town and harbour of Saint-Tropez

Citadel

A small friend

When we came down from the hill we found a place near the harbour for a bite of lunch before continuing to explore around the town. As we were heading back towards the car park we found an SFR (mobile phone company) shop so we stopped in to get help activating Leanne’s new prepay SIM card. It took the guy half an hour so it was not surprising that we were unable to get it working ourselves. So now Leanne has a working mobile phone. I am still waiting for my SIM card to arrive – maybe this week.

A bobber seen in the street

Boules in the main square

We left a bit early to go shopping on Friday morning and visited a hilltop village called Les Vieux Cannet. We’ve been driving past this location every time we go to Le Luc and finally managed to plan in a visit. It turns out to be a lovely spot but unfortunately it no longer has a bar or a cafe. It does have commanding views over the surrounding area and was quite surprising how large the local airport was. From the road below I had hardly noticed it.  The village itself looks very well maintained.

It was locked so we don’t know what the interior looks like. It is built directly on to rock so it should be there for a while yet

The square. Had to be very careful where you stepped – lots of dog leavings!

Looking like new

Another renovated house on the hill, right on the square

The outlook towards the airport

On Saturday we took a drive to explore the area on the opposite side of the river from here. There are a couple of small hamlets in several other houses over there. There was also quite a bit of renovation work being done on some of the properties. There is a small derelict aqueduct system in this area and it looks like it is being readied to be put back into service. At one point the stone structure with the aqueduct crosses a stream had been completely rebuilt and part of this stream siding had been stonewalled. It seems like there are a lot of small local infrastructure jobs like this going on around the place.

From there we drove to Les Arcs to collect Leanne’s train ticket to Nice on Monday and to make sure we knew exactly where to go.  The train departs at 7:56 AM so we didn’t want to be looking for the right roads and running out of time.

In the evening James and Lavinia joined us for a wonderful dinner prepared by Leanne. It was an excellent evening but not too late because James and Lavinia were driving to the UK early on Sunday.

Started playing around with the camera after dinner – this was one of many

They didn’t end up leaving until around 11:15 AM by the time packing was finished and last-minute instructions were conveyed. It was so funny as they drove out the gate, James waved and called out the window, “Thanks for having us to stay”. We will see them next at the end of May.

Weather-wise things are still unseasonal according to the locals.  We had about 25mm of rain on Saturday night and now on Monday morning it is raining again.  So much for all the jobs I had lined up for today.  We have had a couple of much warmer days though where the temperature has been mid to high twenties.  We hear that in many parts of France they have been getting horizontal rain for several days so I guess we are lucky.

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