French Riviera



After booking hotels for the next 3 days, we took off towards Cassis on the French Riviera. Gerd before warned us about the area being “one big car park”! But we thought now the school holidays are over, we would be safe. What we totally forgot was that it was weekend. We went ok up to Marseilles.  Although we didn’t intend to visit this great city, we involuntary did a city tour through taking a wrong turn off, and drove past most of the interesting sites including all around the amazing harbor.

Shortly after finding our way out we hit the weekend traffic, and when we entered Cassis, a small see port between Marseille and Toulon, we got the very last car space in town, or so it seemed. Even though the small streets and lanes running down to the beach were empty, the harbor site and beach was packed. As it was quite hot, we thought it a good time to jump on a boat to the Calanques. The Calanques is a coastal area of Fjords of rare beauty. Some of them are surrounded by huge curtain like limestone cliffs; others have more jagged rocks with pine trees growing in between. Another one has an open cave where water flows through. High above one of the Calanques stands the chapel of Notre Dame which was built as thanks for having survived the plague. Today there was a lot of live inside the calanques. Young men climbing the rocks and some jumping down into the crystal clear water, nudists displaying their tanned bodies to the passing tourist boat (so I was told – I looked away of course!), lots of kayakers and private sailing boats anchored to serve as jumping board for a swim or a snorkel.

On our return we decided to carry on to the “Routes des Cretes”, a very steep serpentine road right up to Cap Canaille. At 394 metres. its Europe’s 3rd highest cliff. Sir Winston Churchill apparently painted the cliff and spent some time in Cassis.

The drive moves further up and down the mountains with one stunning view after the other. Photos cannot show the extend of the panorama or the depth looking down and it was well worth overcoming my fear of the oh so narrow road, the plunging drops and the crazy French hoons!



We woke up early to call Lisa for her birthday, who was having a BBQ at Manly Dam. It was great to hear all three girls voices and I became a little home sick.

Went back to sleep and left rather late to go to St. Tropez. We hit early traffic exacerbated by the many roundabouts (yes, way more than in Oz), but streets were relatively clear as we turned off to St. Tropez, and: Vow, vow, vow….

What a stunning place! The bluest and cleanest water you can imagine. Pastel coloured houses with their blue, green and yellow window shutters surrounding the harbor and Bay. Yachts and sailing boats as far as your eye can see, and when I talk about yachts I mean the Onassis kind and above!

A handful of them could solve the entire European financial crisis at once.

Amazing – Akuna Bay, eat your heart out!

This is a place where you could sit on the jetty or at one of the harbor side cafes and watch all day the huge multistory yachts berth very cautiously. This was done with a lot of radio communication between the crew and captain; the crew  busying themselves straightening things up, wiping the sides down or serving more drinks to the upper deck. We were busy trying to spot or guess the celebrities which are or might be on board -  all a little different to our recent boating experience!


Just around the corner are several little bays where you are instantly far away from the hoity toity in the harbor. Austin and I had a wonderful swim – no snorkels needed to watch the marine life – and sundried on the softer than expected pebble beach.(had to adjust Austin’s optic several times – see photo!)

A little further on we found the sailors cemetery, right at the edge of the water – a beautiful and peaceful place with blue sea and sail boats in the background.


Quite a crowd had gathered to watch a couple of super yachts berth by the time we returned to the harbor. One of them was believed to be owned by Tom Cruise and there was also the rumour of royalty. But who it actually was – well I didn’t see William, Kate or Harry inspite of the union jack. Later we saw that most yachts were from Cayman Island – I wonder why..?????

© Austin Robinson 2019