A week-long jaunt to the Provence was just what was needed
After a pretty full-on year which involved pushing out a baby, keeping said baby alive and attempting to get some shut-eye, last September I decided to book flights for the family to Marseilles (note that the latter two activities which have occupied much of my time since then are the reason I'm publishing this blog post a mere four months later). The trip coincided nicely with a friend's wedding over at the stunning Chateau Rasque and I thought, why not make a week of it. I'd visited Nice back in my early twenties and thought it was rather, well, nice. So a further explore around the region famous for the Cannes Film Festival and azure blue waters was just the ticket to round the summer off in style.
We opted to stay in Le Clos des Cambres, a chambre d'hôte on the outskirts of a small town called Arc-sur-Argens and very handy for the wedding venue. While the town was nothing to particularly write home about, its environs had a boulangerie (check), an enormous hypermarché (check) and a turn-off to a vineyard at almost rond point (check)... The holy trinity of French gastronomic delights on our doorstep. The accommodation itself was also sublime in every respect, its rooms adorned with beautiful Cambodian artefacts and a magnificent swimming pool the centrepiece of a sprawling terrace. In short, paradise.
Our hotel room and private terrace
The peak season was also winding down so we were able to avoid the school holiday scrums to get a spot on the beach. We found the prettiest parts of the coast to be around Le Dramont and Port Grimaud, while Saint Tropez was reserved for marvelling at an array of yachts which were hors du prix. We dipped our toes in the shimmering sea while our then nine-month old bobbed around the shallow waters in his inflatable seat, soaking up every second. Seeing the world through a little one's eyes is a magical thing, transporting you back to your own childhood and giving you a fresh perspective on everyday experiences. It forces you to simply live in the moment - something all too often forgotten in adulthood, when making plans and worrying about the future have a tendency to take over.
Sharing in our son's sheer delight at being cooed over ("comme il est beau ce p'tit garçon!") by French shopkeepers and passers-by, or his surprise when coming face-to-face with live crabs and lobsters in the supermarket's seafood aisle was priceless. He wrinkled up his face with disgust when sampling brie for the first time, but adored the chunk of comté we offered him with his lunchtime baguette one day.
All the lovely cheeses - a stall at Lorgues food market
So I returned home with a renewed focus on being in the "now", not taking anything for granted and also ensuring I intersperse my working week with sufficient down-time. Oh, and the resolution to eat more cheese, bien sur.
Our hotel room
Decor at our hotel
The sprawling terrace, complete with swimming pool and loungers