Trip to France 2009 – Three Weeks in Provence – Week 3

On to the Next Chateau!

We left Chateau Turcan to move down to the coast to Hyeres to stay at Chateau du Fenouillet (www.chateaudufenouillet.com). We were very happy with the rental, nice place with nice terrace and nice pool surrounded by a beautiful view of the mountains and the vegetation.

Monday was our first day, which is usually the day when we get our bearings and do groceries. So we drove around Hyeres, had lunch, went grocery shopping and then went to the tourist information office. The Laforces then brought Noah to the doctor, the fourth one of the trip, because his eczema was not yet under control and he had been coughing for a while. The doctor was super nice. So back to the pharmacy and loaded up again on medication. As Marnie said, we should buy one of those neon green crosses that signify pharmacies here to put on our bathroom. The eczema has been much better since so we have hope… The doctor diagnosed the coughing as Acid reflux and gave us something until we see our doctor back home. I am glad we can help with the deficit of the health care system in France…

After all that excitement, we all took a drive down the peninsula in Hyeres and stopped by the beach. It was Evan’s first time to the ocean (well the sea to me more precise) which was pretty special.

Here is our double decker of babies

doubledecker

Mr. “Goof-a-lot” seemed to enjoy it

goofy

Here is Evan’s first time to the sea

evanfirsttimeto the sea

And the Laforce family on the beach

familybeach

Tuesday, we went to the island of Porquerolles (http://www.provenceweb.fr/e/var/porquerolles/porquerolles.htm ), which is a beautiful island just off the coast. It was bit of a clusterbleep to get there as we just missed the boat and had to wait an hour for the next boat. We had some sandwiches while we waited and then finally made it there. It is really nice with gorgeous turquoise water. It was really hot when we arrived so we went for a drink to let the weather cool down a bit. We then went for a walk along the coastline and made our way to a beach for a swim. The water was so clear and transparent – it was quite amazing.

Here is the port of Poquerolles

poquerolles

Here are the Johnstones swimming

johnstonespoquerolles

Since we were in France, we decided to take advantage of eating and drinking what would be much more expensive in Canada. So that night we had foie gras and Sauternes. The Johnstones cooked us a great pasta dish with smoked salmon.

Wednesday was a down day – we relaxed and went swimming… The Johnstones went to a kiddie parc for Evan and the Laforces went shopping in Toulon. Roger bought a cooking book (yet another one…!), picked some recipes and then went shopping to try out recipes that night. Amongst other things, we had foie gras with gambas and of course some Sauternes, miam, miam.

Thursday, the men went sailing on a Trimaran for the day and the ladies went to the park in the morning, had a picnic and made it home in the afternoon. It was a beautiful park with beautiful vegetation

palmier

Everyone enjoyed themselves.

picnic

Curtis has been sailing a number of times in Ottawa but it was Roger’s first time on a sailboat and he loved it. Of course, sailing on the Mediterranean is a pretty good place to sail for the first time. They sailed, swam in the sea a number of times in gorgeous water and went snorkeling.

curtrogsailing

Coming back to the port, they waited to see the fastest sailboat in the world. It was quite the thing to be there at the same time and to be able to see it in action.

fastestsailboat

That evening, we didn’t feel like cooking so we ordered in Pizza. As in many countries, there is an abundance of pizza places. The ones we’ve had in France have all been excellent.

On Friday, we ventured out to the beautiful port city of Cassis. The port reminded us a lot of Honfleur in Normandy. When we arrived, after about 45 min. of trying to find a parking spot (stressful with the baby time bombs, never now when they will start screaming…), we had lunch on the port.

cassis

With lunch we ordered a wine from Cassis. Cassis is one of the first appellation controlee in France (1936). We had heard about the excellent white Cassis wines and were really impressed with it. After lunch, we walked about the town for a bit while we waited for our boat ride out to visit the Calanques. It was a windy day and to boat rocked a fair amount in between the calanques (alcoves in the cliffs). It was cute to see Noah, who is usually very active, cuddle up to him Mom holding on. He obviously wasn’t too sure about the boat rocking up and down.

momnoahboat

The Calanques were beautiful to visit and showed up some amazing bays, cliffs and clear blue water.

calanquesdentelles

After visiting Cassis, we came home to have fun in the pool.

Roger relaxing with a pastis

poolpastis

Here is Evan’s famous skateboarder jump:

evanskateboarderjump

That evening, we had champagne for aperitif. As we mentioned above, we wanted to take advantage of some of the great food and drinks that France offers that are way more expensive in Canada. For supper that night, we BBQ’d up some mergez and chipo sausages. The sausages in France have been great. At least once a week, we went to the butcher shop to pick some up to BBQ.

Saturday, the day before our departure back home, was packing day L. All good things must come to an end I guess. After packing, we did go to the beach in late afternoon which was very nice.

Noah seemed to enjoy the beach

noahbeach

For our last night, we decided to splurge and we ordered a seafood platter. It was delicious. It had crab, big shrimps, oysters, as well as some salmon pate and tartare.

seafoodplatter

Sunday, we sadly said goodbye to Provence, drove an hour and half to the Marseille Airport, arrived three hours early, and checked in. So far everything went smoothly which was good. Our flight was 8 and a half hour which had us parents a little worried. Especially when we are ready to take off and the pilot comes on to say that we will be delayed because there are 228 pieces of luggage registered and 229 on the plane and that they might have to pull out all of the luggage to figure it out….! Thankfully, it only took a half hour to solve the problem. The kids were fantastic on the plane which was a relief as you can imagine. Noah did not even cry once. He slept and played and flirted with other passengers.

Reza was there to pick us up at the airport and then home sweet home! The Johnstones drove back to Ottawa. We are going to miss them after our communal living; we really had a wonderful time all together.

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