Today was to be a lazy beach day, so we decided we would get to L’Escalet for a shade after 12 have lunch straightaway then walk it off with a stroll along the coast and recover from that with a few hours on the beach. Yep we all knew that this was a darned good plan.
First though it was croissants in the loggia. So I nipped to the garage for those and sneaked in a pain au chocolat for myself! Before that I had spent a pleasant hour in the morning sun catching up on our holiday blog. To be honest I rather treasure this hour and it’s fun writing up the holiday before the memories fade.
Our simple but lovely breakfast done it was time for a stroll around Port Cogolin checking all was well. It really is lovely. We ended up at the furniture shops at the entrance to Port Cogolin and. I realised that the beautiful Lloyd Loom white table with navy chairs would at almost 1000 euros never adorn our terrace. Oh well c’est la vie as they say somewhere exotic overseas.
The morning had vanished so we climbed in PaceBeast for our drive to L’Escalet. This in itself is a spectacular drive. We head towards La Croix Valmer Then turn left at the second sign for Gassin. Here the road winds up the hills towards Gassin which is a beautiful medieval hill top village. There are some delightful restaurants up here that command gorgeous views over the Gulfe de St Tropez. From here we follow the signs to Ramatuelle another pristine hill top village and then out to the coast. Turning right we then pick up the L’Escalet signs and arrive at a beautiful French coastline with beautiful walks between wonderful secret coves and magical islands that touch the mainline with a mere sliver of sand.
L’Escalet is a great place to go on a Sunday too as if you go earlier you can stop in Ramatuelle on route and enjoy the lovely Provençal market they have with its fine mix of food, cheese and clothes stalls.
As we drove between Gassin and Ramatuelle we passed an old windmill which we have visited many times before. We have had lots if fun there from simple picnics to epic arguments with irate French people objecting to us photographing our MINIs next to the windmill. We have stopped to film the brown cows herding there evocative with their bells ringing loudly. Today we drove straight threw opening our windows to enjoy the clanging of the cow bells around their necks.
Our drive saw us looking over the famous beaches of Pampelonne where topless sun bathing first took off in the sixties. St Tropez has never stopped swinging since, constantly reinventing itself to always appeal to the rich and famous as well as the poor and infamous such as I. Beautiful vineyards cascade down the hillside to meet these beaches, all framed by a Provençal blue sea touching a matching sky. It all makes for a quite spectacular drive.
Parked by the beach we headed for the food van and ordered our standard burger and chip baguette. This is a long standing ritual for us. Our holiday would not be the same without it. We share a double one. The Elf had no option and got the single. For one person it is daunting but fair play she demolished it!
A walk followed. We drove as far as we could right as you look at the sea. Parked and began walking along the coastal paths. This walk passed my favourite beach in all the world and heads to Cap T’Ailat my favourite island, which in my mind I think of as Kirrin Island – Enid Blyton’s Island in the Famous Five books – here we were then Julian, George and Anne. Dick must have been elsewhere walking Timmy.
We have seen these hills burned by fire in the past but this May they were simply spectacular. The sea a deep blue mixed with a turquoise, where sand lightened the colour. The sky one shade lighter than the sea. The land was a healthy luscious green freckled with wild poppies in strong red shades, purple lavender, yellow wild dandelions, blue harebells and other pretty wild flowers in pink. The result is nothing less than spectacular.
I paused on the walk and looked down as we passed my favourite beach. There was less driftwood than I have known in the past and it looked better than ever. I knew I had to catch my breath from this walk relaxing on my beach. I was tempted to spray my Naploeon aftershave on,march down to my beach, raise my flag and clear everyone from my beach. You can’t dear your aftershave is in the apartment. Mrs P applied a reality check.
Soon Kirrin Island pulled my eye towards it. Seven or eight small boats nestled in its lee. White dots in a beautiful Aqua sea, the island a resplendent green towering behind.
We enjoy photography. Our latest thing is to achieve a particular shot. Our last adventure in Venice in February challenged us to photograph a carnevale person with an iconic Venetian background. By the skin of our teeth we got the shot and a masked Venetian now hangs on our landing guarding our stairs. The Elf stands on a crossroad in a life facing a future of uncertainty or opportunity. A time of contemplation. Our mission is to catch this contemplation in a photograph and perhaps this walk will see us capture this poignancy.
I had walked enough. I decamped on the beach – without my flag. Peanut and the Elf kindly nipped back to the car for our beach stuff. We dozed, we chatted, we fixed the world. We stared at the sky and watched amazing clouds. We watched a ballet dancer leap off the Uk and fly across the Atlantic before in minutes turning into the circle of life you can see below. I have no doubt in my mind that these were magical clouds.
Home beckoned. We all showered. The girls glammed up and we enjoyed an Italian meal in the restaurant underneath us. Mint lamb chops with red peppers, onion and potatoes for me, prawn ravioli for Peanut and asparagus risotto for The Elf. I had a tiny tiramisu And coffee for dessert, strawberry Mille feuille for P and mousse cafe for Elfie. White wine washed it down.