Col de la Bonette: fresh mountain air at 2800m !

I went for a (rather long drive) up in to the mountains, through the Tinée valley, past the village of Isola , all the way up to the Col de la Bonnette.

The road leading up to the Col de la Bonette is known as the highest mountain road in Europe,  culminating in the Cime (Peak) de la Bonette, at 2810 meters above sea level.

The scenery throughout the 22km up to the pass, and during the subsequent 22km down, towards the village of Jaussiers, is breathtaking at every single turn of the road .

During the winter months this road is closed, but now, early August , with simmering heat down in the valleys, fresh air (20 degrees cooler than lower down!),  little or no wind, brilliant blue skies, the road makes for a perfect day trip.

I found myself stopping the car about every 5 minutes!

afternoon sun, on the way up (northwards)
At 2500m altitude
At the highest point , 2810 meters
About 10 mins before sunset (on the way back)

Cruising on a river: Basses Gorges du Verdon

The famous Gorges du Verdon are named after the river that created them: the Verdon river.

Le Verdon has it source near the mountain pass of Col d’Allos, at an altitude of 2800m.
The main road D952, which runs from the town of Castellane to Lac Sainte-Croix, offers many vantage points for splendid views of the blue lint of the river winding its way through the gorges.

Around Lac Sainte-Croix are numerous opportunties for camping, hiking, river rafting and swimming.
On its way down from Lac Sainte-Croix, to the lake of Esparron, the river flows through the so-called “Basses Gorges” (or lower gorges).
Recommended to hire a pedal boat (or a motorised one if you prefer) and explore these basses gorges!
We started at a riverside location near the town of Quinson.
The water is of a very comfortable temperature, and a frequent dip into the blue waters of the river, or simply by dangling your feet in the water, you’ll soon forget about the summer heat!

Basses Gorges du Verdon, near Quinson
Basses Gorges du Verdon, near Quinson
Basses Gorges du Verdon, near Quinson

Sunday afternoon at the beach

Hi,

Summer has started early this year: the entire month May was sunny and warm, even during  the Film Festival and Grand Prix; unusual that we had such little rain during that month. With the arrival of June summer has really started: today we had 32 degrees (89 degrees F) and we decided to spend the afternoon the beach. It’s already getting crowded, but in the Esterel you can always find room.

The Esterel is a very old mountain range, best known for its red coloured rock.  It’s about 10km west of Cannes, following the coastal road that links Cannes with St. Raphael.

My first proper swim of the year, thoroughly enjoyed it! Water temperature: fresh , but not cold (I guest about 20-21 degrees).

A popular spot, near Trayas

May: between Spring and Summer

May on the French Riviera means: longer days, warmer weather (sometimes! sometimes it may also mean days of cold rain),  Cannes Film Festival and the  Monaco Grand Prix.

The last few days have been glorious. Already the days have started to get longer and longer, with the sun setting at around 8.50pm  (only 1 month away from the longest day!), and after last week’s rainy weather (and the turmoil of the presidential election), the last few days have been a lot warmer, with temperatures in the mid-twenties Celsius (mid-70s Fahrenheit).
I had dinner outside last night, in the old centre of Nice, just meters away from the beach:

promenade des anglais
Nice Promenade des Anglais at sunset
Nice Promenade des Anglais by night

Summer, holidays and vacation time are almost upon us (in the northern hemisphere at least)!
As mentioned earlier, I may venture into Cannes in the next few days, see if I can capture some of the action!

Cannes Film Festival – only two weeks away!

Hello!

The Cannes Film Festival is nearly upon us . This year the Festival celebrates its 70th birthday . 

A lot of the preparations have been completed:

  1. The Jury has been selected, made up of four men and four women, all influential people in the film industry, chaired by the Spanish director and producer  Pedro Almodóvar
  2. The line-up of competing movies is growing, and not yet finalised
  3. After a warmer spell in April, the weather turned colder and showery again, as is to be expected around the big festivals in May (Film Festival, and Monaco Grand Prix) – by the last weekend in May, when both events have finished, summer will start.
    May weather…

    more May weather…

 

 

 

 

I wanted to promise you live pictures from Cannes, but I’m not sure I will have the courage to brave the congested roads around Cannes …  to be decided! 😉

ps.  Here is the link to the excellent site of the festival: http://www.festival-cannes.com/en/

Île de Porquerolles: a truly golden island

Porquerolles is the biggest of the three islands that make up the  Îles d’Hyères; the other two are  Île de Port-Cros and l’Île du Levant.

Just 15 minutes by ferry, which leaves from the La Tour Fondue harbour, south of the town of Hyères.

The northern side has beautiful beaches, whereas the southern side of the island is a bit more exposed (to the frequently blowing Mistral).
There are various walks criscrossing the island, and around the coast. The island is not big, measuring around 7km from east to west, and 3km from north to south (4 by 2 miles); most people hire a bike to get around, in the town of Porquerolles there are various outlets renting out mountain bikes and child carriages for towing. The pictures you can see here were taken on Easter Sunday 2017 (April 16th), when I went out there for a day trip. It was still a bit chilly so nobody was venturing any deeper into the water than up to their knees. Look at the colour of the water… if you have a chance to visit, much recommended!

Porquerolles – Plage d’Argent
Porquerolles – Plage d’Argent
Porquerolles – Plage Notre Dame
Pointe de l’aiguade
Porquerolles – the more exposed southern and western side

 

After lots of rain: lots of sunshine (it must be Spring)

Hello!

After several days of heavy rain, the sun is back! A beautiful time to go for a walk .  Spring is always a bit of tricky time of year , weather can be warm and sunny, but it can also rain a lot . This continues all the way up to June. Ah well, that’s why the Côte d’Azur is so green and lush!

The beautiful village of Greolières was basking in the sunlight.

and the first signs of spring:

The hiking trail GR4 (for Grande Randonnée 4) , which starts in nearby Grasse and continues all the way to the Atlantic coast at Royan, also visits Greolières, and makes for a beautiful walk : alongside the ruins of a 12th century chapel, up the flanks of the Cheiron mountain range. You can continue to walk in easterly direction, towards the village of Coursegoules, or cross the range to the other side, where you’ll find the ski slopes of Greolières-les-Neiges.

Or you can, as I did, just stop after 30min, sit down, take in the landscape and enjoy the sunshine!

12th century chapel at Greolières.

A sunny walk on Cap d’Antibes – Spring is nearly here!

Nothing is better to lift your mood after a long winter  than a warm and sunny afternoon.. (and yes, I do realise winters on the Côte d’Azur are much much better than in more northern climes, but still… )

So we went for a walk around the Cap d’Antibes (Antibes peninsula), just a few minutes drive from the old village.

Park your car near Plage de la Garoupe, on the eastern side of the peninsula, walk to the sea side and follow the path southwards.

An easy 1.5 hour round trip, full of splendid scenery . Beware of swells, sometimes there’s waves crashing onto the rocky shoreline that are bigger than most people would expect, don’t be caught out!

Yesterday was Saturday , and it was surprisingly busy – I guess most people had the same idea of soaking up some much needed sun shine !

Here’s a short video of one my walks on the Cap: Cap d’Antibes 

Winter on the Côte d’Azur

Like in a lot of other places in Europe, the last few weeks have been very cold on the Côte d’Azur!

Yesterday I went for a long walk near the beautiful village of Aiglun, in the pre-Alps hinterland north of Nice.

The Esteron is a beautiful river,with gorgeous gorges so to speak, turquoise waters, providing amazing swimming holes on a hot summer day (see also best spots to swim on the Côte d’Azur).

Swimming however was not recommended yesterday, as sub-zero temperatures had covered much of its banks and the rocks within the river with a layer of ice. Stunning images though!

Beautiful Esteron River making an icey appearance
Beautiful Esteron River making an icey appearance
Beautiful Esteron River making an icey appearance
Beautiful Esteron River making an icey appearance

Late September Summer

Even in late September, the weather is still very benign and as the sun’s position gets a bit lower as autumn approaches, the light becomes warmer and shadows more pronounced.

Yesterday I went for a swim near Eze; sea water is still a very comfortable 23 degrees, and with the air temp being around 27 degrees celcius , summer is definitely still here.

One of the beaches near Eze - bord de mer>
One of the beaches near Eze – bord de mer>
what do you think, does the water look inviting?
what do you think, does the water look inviting?