Seeking the sun in the south east of France

On Monday 12th May, Laure and I walked up early with the kids, took a cab and headed towards Gare de Lyon. We were joining my brother who was working in Cannes during the International Film Festival. Our train was leaving at 7.45am, we arrived at the train station with plenty of time ahead of us, yet couldn’t board before half past seven; creating a rush effect. With the pram, two young kids and few luggages we were not the first one in the carriage so we struggled to find a spot to store all our luggages. Once in place, we planned to relax a bit during the next five hours of our trip but this did not happen. Both Lenny and Aaron were full of energy during the whole length of the trip, only to fall asleep, I kid you not, less than five minutes before our arrival…

My brother and my nephews

The place where we stayed in Mandelieu-la-napoule

Sunset from our balcony

My brother came to pick us up at the Cannes train station, we then passed by ‘la croisette’ and headed to their holiday appartment in Mandelieu-la-napoule, the neighbour city. It was a sunny and hot day, very different from the rain and grey sky left back in Paris, so we went straight to the beach in Cannes. We felt in holiday right away, had lunch on the beach, put our feet in the water but we didn’t swim as it was quite cold. Lenny was enjoying the sand under his feet and walked all around the beach, Aaron was a bit more shy and didn’ t like the sand so he followed his brother with his little shoes on. My brother had to work later on that day so we went home mid-arvo, putting the kids to sleep, Laure and I chatting away while my brother was at work. I stayed in Cannes with my family for four days, spending quality time with my nephews, brother and sister in law. We had really nice weather all the time, just the temperatures weren’t super hot. On Friday I decided to join a couple of friends (Lilly and Laure) met in Cairns/Australia back in 2009. So I joined a carpool – maybe the best and cheapest way to travel through France – and made my way from Cannes to Montpellier. I got there late afternoon, and was greeted by Lilly and few of Laure’s housemates and we then made our way to their place in Montferrier-le-Lez. It was Lilly’s birthday not long ago so the whole week-end was just an opportunity to celebrate it. Initially they were planning to go to Barcelona/Spain but not knowing which dates I would be able to join them, I didn’t commit and the whole thing had to change. In the end we decided to stay in Montpellier and spend the week-end there. Friday evening, there were around a dozen people in the house, we had some snacks, drinks and music so it turned out to be a nice evening. On Saturday, after a slow start of the day, Laure, Julien, Lilly and I decided to walk by the river (Le Vidourle) ; the weather was really nice and sunny so they went for a swim while I stayed on the shore recovering from a cold I got from my nephews.

Laure and Julien playing guitar

Lilly, Julien and Laure enjoying this beautiful view over Le Vidourle

Julien looking for a spot to swim

Sunday bike ride to the beach

Arriving in Palavas-les-flots beach

We also had lunch there and spent the whole afternoon chilling by the river. The evening was relaxed and full of live music : acordeon, guitar and singing. On Sunday, we woke up early, had a some fresh croissants, orange juice and planned our day : this time we would go to the beach. Each of us took a bike and off we went ; it was the same crew as the previous day plus Fabien so we were five. The ride was from Laure’s house in Monteferrier to Palavas-les-flots, a twenty kilometers ride that took us an hour and half. As it was a sunny Sunday the beach was quite packed, we found a little spot towards the pier where we stayed. Laure and Julien were brave enough to go in the water but it was too shallow to swim, Lilly, Fab and I enjoyed the sun in the meantime. Another chilled day, at the beach this time, we had lunch there and some delicious crepes in the afternoon. Spring in France means the sun set around nine o’clock so there is plenty of daylight for a long time, allowing us to take advantage of the sun as much as possible (not like Australia where, even in summer, the sun is down by seven o’clock). Another twenty Ks ride and we were back, just in time for dinner.

Resting in front of the Nimes arena

Lilly chilling by the fountain


La maison carre

Locals playing petanque

Following this brilliant sunny week-end, Lilly who was teaching the following day in Nimes (an hour away from Montpellier), decided to spend one more night there. So early Monday, we woke up, had a quick breaky and got a lift to Nimes from a mate of her. We got to the college past eight o’clock so she was late for class; dropped me at her place and went to class in a hurry. I spent the next three days in Nimes where it was grey and overcast, but had a good time playing tennis, visiting the city, going out for dinner with Lilly’s friends, etc . I had few friends to visit in the area, Marseille, Beziers and others but as I don’t want to spend more than a month in France, I decided to make my way to the other side of the country: south west of France. So
on Wednesday 21st May, in the evening, I made my way to Biarritz via
Toulouse. To be continued…

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