Sunday, May 6, 2012

CASSIS….The French Riviera

Sunday, May 06, 2012

Yes…we’re still enjoying the French Riviera along the Mediterranean Sea in the south of France!   Today we drove for six hours along the coastline from Villafranche-sur-Mer all the way to Cassis that is just east of Marseille.  

When we were passing through Cannes we saw the banners for the upcoming International Film Festival on May 16-17th.   The route was packed all along the coast with Sunday drivers and bicycle riders…all on a two lane twisting highway.  Fifi and Jim worked on the navigation while Terry skirted around the bicycles between curves.  We girls used the paper maps and tour books in the backseat and constantly offered unsolicited and often unwanted advice!

St. Tropez was packed with tourists even with the weather…ah yes…weather…our rain finally arrived just as we were packing the car to leave about 9 am.  For the next six hours we had intermittent sprinkles, heavy downpours and bright sunshine!

When we took a short trip north to Gemenos to see where Terry’s mother’s family lived hundreds of years ago…before they moved to Switzerland and then to the USA…it poured rain.  Just as we were leaving…the sun came out.  We would go from pouring rain into absolutely dry streets!

We arrived in Cassis at 3 pm; the streets were packed with tourists and nary a parking place was to be had.  We finally parked illegally while Terry and Linda checked in at the Hotel Cassitel and asked about parking lots for the hotel.  We were allowed to park in the side street to unload the luggage and then Terry and Jim headed for a parking lot several blocks away.  They had a map and explicit directions in French. 
Over an hour later they returned and we learned that they had gotten lost over and over on the one way streets attempting to find the parking lot!  Linda was so happy to see Terry…she was sure that they’d had an accident…that she was crying!  I reminded her that Terry and I had waited over an hour when she and Jim climbed the mountain to see the Chateau Ruins near Vaison la Romain!   

All’s well that ends well and everyone was very happy when we took our walk around the port to see the boats and the sites.  We were too late to take the boat to see the cliffs that is one of the favorite activities of tourists in Cassis.  But, it’s such a picturesque place we’re very happy to just spend our evening and night here.

We finally decided on a place for dinner and started with large beers!  After dinner we walked to a glace shop and enjoyed ice cream cones as we walked the streets leading down to the port.  One of our favorite streets is paved with marble which must be extremely slick when wet.  There was a market in one of the squares but the things that looked the best were too big for the luggage…so we only took photos.

Today is the France election and it looks like there will be a change of power….we’ll see in the morning if the exit polls are correct.  The television is showing great crowds of people on the streets in Paris but our little sleepy port town is already shutting down for the night.  Once the tourist leave, about 7 pm, the shops begin to close.

Tomorrow we’re off to Arles for two nights. As you can see we again have wonderful free wifi and hope to have the same tomorrow.

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