Hi Everyone! Howzit going? Well, I hope things are going well for you. Things are dandy here; Spring has arrived and I’m back working out in the garden, pulled some weeds yesterday and generally did a little cleaning up. Amazing how much energy one can develop when the sun shows up for a few days!
I was thinking today about how long it takes me to write up these travel posts and thought I’d better finish off the France road trip posts before we go on another road trip. I am so sorry it takes me so long to write these things, even though I do enjoy writing them, I procrastinate way too much. So without further ado, here is my third and final post on the road trip through France 2014.
For the last leg of our road trip we decided to stay in one place for a week, just so we could get some real-time relaxing on this trip also. Not that sleeping in a different town every night is not fun, but after a while you like to get some r&r too. I was looking forward to walking to the beach, checking out the towns nearby and basically just lounging around for a week.
Les Tournels Camping
We booked a cabin on a popular camp ground near Ramatuelle called Les Tournels Camping. A few years ago, ET and I rented a camper van and stayed there so we decided to head back there again. This time renting a cabin instead. The campground is a fun safe place to stay and it’s not too close to the busy beachfront roads. It’s close enough to Saint Tropez, but not enough to even notice being so close when you head ‘home’ for the night. I love this campground because it’s walking distance (through a vineyard) to the beach so you don’t ever need to use your car, it’s safe and guarded, and relatively quiet when you don’t stay there in the busy season. Also, there is so much to see and do if you drive out a few miles, you can visit lonely canyons and vineyards or villages, or you can head toward the busy playgrounds of the rich and famous and people watch, if that’s your thang. I personally have enough of it after one evening walking about, one night of it is about all I can handle. But there are plenty of people who are really into the people watching business, it’s actually somewhat enjoyable watching people watch people.
Anyway, here are some impressions of Les Tournels…
Wow, what can be said about Saint Tropez? There is definitely always something going on there, lots of people doing the cat walk, lol! If you look past all the glamour, it can be a beautiful town for taking long walks and you will always find a cafe open for a break.
If you love to be around people, well this is the place for you! If being around lots of people is not your plan as it is with me (I’m an INTJ after all), the best thing to do is travel there in the off season, or avoid it completely! Seriously though, I’ve always enjoyed being there when we do go there because it just has a special atmosphere; but it’s especially nice when you have a quiet retreat to look forward to at the end of the evening.
We took a short outing to Gassin one day, a perfectly kept little hilltop village with spectacular views of the Bay of Saint Tropez.
It was only a few kilometers from our campground. Perfect for a quiet outing and dinner, if you get there when the restaurants are open – which we didn’t. They had some nice looking restaurants overlooking the beautiful countryside here.
A tidbit – I read in an article that just a few weeks before our visit to this area, Leonardo DiCaprio gave a big benefit gala in one of the wineries there, each ticket costing 100,000 $ each, hmmm.
Ile de Port Cros
On a particularly windy day, ET and I decided we would go on an outing a little further away. Since the weather that day was not too friendly and we certainly wouldn’t be spending it frolicking on the beach.
We headed for La Lavandou, where we spontaneously caught a boat ride over to the small island of Port Cros. When we bought our tickets we were asked if we got sea sick and didn’t think anything of it…nope, never had sea sickness, but then again, I don’t go boat-riding too often either!
The boat ride was tricky, we did fine, but there was sea-sickness on board. Some children were not feeling it that day, lol! The crew was amazing though, they helped the kiddos and everyone, they were so friendly and seemed right out of a Jacques Cousteau film.
Once on the island we went on a short hike to one of the small rocky beaches. The hike took us about 45 minutes one way, so we couldn’t spend too much time on the beach, lest we miss our ‘ride’ back. We watched a diving school doing their diving exercises nearby, ate our apples and nuts (luckily we thought about bringing something along) and left after a few minutes.
My goodness, the boat ride back was amazing and luckily not as rough as the one before. We even got to see some dolphins which the crew took the time to circle around for a few minutes, amazing! I did try to take pics, but they really did not come out well, and by the time I knew what was going on, most of it was over. That’s what happens when you speak not-a-word of what your amazing boat crew speaks!
I only have one pic of Port Grimaud, but I wanted to add it because I thought this place was interesting to walk around.
The residential area is really close to Saint Tropez and was developed by an architect in the 60s. Port Grimaud belongs to the town of Grimaud which is located in the hills nearby; apparently Grimaud wanted a piece of the beach front cake, so they had this port developed. It’s a residential place for the well off, each townhouse has it’s own boat dock.
It’s got some securities when entering, so if you visit, it’s best to park outside in the parking areas. Also, when walking around, it would be advisable to take a map…there are lots of dead ends, lol, we found that out the hard way!
Ramatuelle is the closest town to the campground we stayed at, and in my opinion much nicer than Gassin. Gassin was being touted as one of the most beautiful towns in France according to the travel brochures. I personally think Ramatuelle has much more to offer, but don’t shoot me for it, just my opinion. If we ever do travel there again and we have enough cash on hand, I’d like to stay in an apartment there overlooking the countryside. Camp-grounds are nice, but everything has it’s limits, lol!
Sorry, but my pics of Ramatuelle seem to consist of nothing but doors and alleyways, hope you like them anyway…
We took two days for our way home. It wasn’t planned, but ET got tired and we decided to spend one night in a highway motel instead of forcing ourselves to drive the whole way in one day.
It’s just something we’ve learned along the way, nothing is better than taking off from somewhere in the morning, well-rested with a good breakfast and knowing you don’t have that much further to drive. This is not the time to be penny-pinching.
We ate dinner at the truck stop cafeteria and there wasn’t a whole lot going. The only other guests that I noted, where a man and two nuns, they all had fish and wine…it was Friday after all, so we had the same.
Breisach am Rhein
Since we were so rested the next day and we didn’t have but a few hundred kilometers left until we reached home, we took a break in Breisach on the Rhine and walked around along the river. We grabbed a coffee at Tchibo and went on our way. We didn’t stay very long, but Breisach would be worth a day trip for exploring that area, it’s only about 2 hours from our home.
Where we stayed:
One night at a Highway Motel near Besançon
Where we ate:
We, in fact didn’t eat out the entire time we stayed at Les Tournels. We just enjoyed cooking our own and spent most of our food money on wine tasting 😉
We bought our food in the nearby market and supermarket at the campground. There is also a big Supermarket on the outskirts of Saint Tropez called Géant Casino and I think everyone goes there. You can see everything in the parking lot, from Bentley to Ferrari, as well as your everyday beat up Renault 4 pick-up. Once we discovered it, there was no stopping us!
Well, I hope you enjoyed this series of road trip posts. I know sometimes it takes me forever to start writing, but when I finally do I can’t seem to stop! If you missed the first two parts, here they are:
As I write I’m watching a travel show and they are in France…I’ve found some new destinations, and the fever goes on.
Have a great week everyone! I’ll be busy this week, we have some family events coming up and I need to work on some handmade stuff I’ve got planned. My niece is having first communion next week and my granddaughter is being baptized soon also, so lots of activity this Spring.
Many blessings to you!