Every now and then we would pack the car and venture into one of the nearby beach towns. The south of France is where French vacationers flock during summer breaks.
Towns like Sanary-sur-Mer are crowded with Parisians searching for a recess from their city life. The warm beaches on the Mediterranean sea are very enticing.
The day we visited, the sea was a touch too rough to enter. Braver people than us rode the waves in the sea, while we watched from a rocky outcrop enjoying the sun.
A different day in a different town, we were able to dip into the Mediterranean. In Saint-Cyr-sur-mer the sea was dead still and perfect for wading through. Although the small city features many resorts, the beaches are among the lesser crowded. Much unlike the city of Cassis.
Cassis was swarming with tourists taking advantage of the gorgeous summer weather. The beaches were absolutely blanketed with French sunbathers. Instead of squeezing in a spot on the sand, we walked through the city taking in the maritime scenery.
With no intention of visiting a beach, we went to Arles one day, where we also did some walking. Arles, unlike the other towns we visited, is known more for its history than its beaches. We did a walking tour around the city to see the Roman monuments and to follow the footsteps of the Dutch artist Vincent van Gogh.
The city has a collection of Roman monuments the most prominent being the arena known as the Arles Amphitheater. The theatre was reminiscent of the theatre in Rome, although the amphitheater in Arles was obviously not as colossal.
The Van Gogh part of the tour also reminded us of earlier times in the year. We had been to the artists country and had seen a lot of his influence while in Amsterdam. Not to mention we saw a huge collection of his pieces while in the D’Orsay in Paris. Arles is the city where the artist rendered over three hundred of his works. On our walk through Arles we saw several of the bridges, cafes and houses that he illustrated. After exploring Arles we ventured into yet another
one of southern France’s many facets. Recollected from references in his elementary French classes, Seamus wanted to visit the area Camargue. The Camargue is unlike any other part of France. It is a marshy wetland that hosts a number of species that do not habitat elsewhere in the country.The site is particularly known for its flamingos. We didn’t spot any flamingos but we had no trouble seeing seagulls, horses, pheasants and clouds and clouds and clouds of midges. We went to a restaurant and one of the small towns that are peppered between the marshes. There they served us fish caught only in the Camargue. Including our time in Paris earlier, we really had seen the most diverse parts of France. We left the country thoroughly satisfied with our exploration there. We made our final French drive into Marseilles where we boarded our first flight since February to the final country of the year, Ireland.