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    CHICCHANTAL   27,448
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Saturday, September 29, 2012

Get up bright and early to go to the market in search of soap. Provencal markets usually have stalls with 97 flavours of soap, and every year I stock up. Unf. Hyeres' market hasn't, possibly because the tourist season is over. Instead I sat outside a cafe and have my breakfast usual, cafe allonge and a croissant.

Cafe allonge is a bit like an Americano, a shot of coffee with extra hot water. I go round the market and the specialist shops taking pictures of all the gorgeous food for sale:



'shrooms, various

peppers, dried

vinegar in various flavours

the French version of take-home food, much nicer than the stuff you get in supermarkets

I can never resist a melon.

Feeling hungry, anyone?
Walked around the mediaeval town centre, looking at the covered streets

I read somewhere once that Hyeres was the first riviera resort. It has loads of gorgeous Belle Epoque buildings as well as the older ones. Queen Victoria was fond of Hyeres, and Edith Wharton lived here:

as did various other famous people. There's a strong historical connection with the British - Queen Victoria was I think the person who made Hyeres a fashionable resort and they've got an exhibition on at the moment. I suppose if it keeps raining and I get really desperate for something to do . . . nope. Will never be that bored!

Walk around for about an hour (counting exercise minutes here) and choose a place for lunch. Madame irritates me by looking at me and assuming that after the pasta with goat cheese sauce

I want the cafe gourmand (this translates as greedy coffee) which is usually an espresso with three 'tasters' of different desserts. The fact that I DO want the cafe gourmand just rubs salt in the would. Anyway it isn't very gourmand, a sliver of apple tart and a small scoop of raspberry sorbet with cream.

Buy six cans of peach flavoured iced tea and carry these back with me. Get indoors just as the heavens open. In French, it doesn't rain like cats and dogs, it rains like cows peeing. No kidding! And it does. Spark a bit, snooze a bit, look out of the window and it is brilliant blue sky.

Decide to walk up to the castle. This means climbing up through the mediaeval streets of the town

past the tour des templiers (which I take to be the Knights Templar) and which has a birdcage belfry on top of it, typical of this area

and the church of St Paul

stopping briefly to admire the view

and up to the Parc St Bernard.

Short rest here, for photos and to look at the view

continue up to the Villa Noailles. This is a modernist building that looks like a cereal box to me but it is apparently a Big Deal.

Look at the view again

Keep walking up past the ruined castle

Keep walking up and get to the belvederes at the top.

Pause for stunning view. Nothing at all to do with being completely winded, sweating buckets and out of breath. The place where I am standing is 204 metres above sea level and although I didn't start at actual sea level I wasn't much higher, so I've climbed a long long way up.

The remarkable thing is I'm not nearly as tired as usual after this climb, and I get my breath back in about three minutes.

All this exercise really works, doesn't it?

Anyway, the view. The view from here is my favourite of anywhere, ever. You can see the hills in front of St Tropez. And

the Hyeres/Toulon airport (on the left of this), the salt pans (where they have flamingoes), the end of the Giens peninsula and beyond it the island of Porquerolles to which I'll be taking us in a couple of days' time if you're good.

You can also see that the weather has got dodgy again. The view is much nicer on a sunny day but it's still impressive. The hills/mountains behind and looking particularly threatening. If you told me there really were dragons in them there hills, I'd believe you. These hills were created by volcanic action and it shows.

Walk back down, and get back indoors just as it starts to rain again.

I really hate to say this but this evening I went out and had more pasta, this time with seafood which is good but also with a lot of olive oil which is not. I had another quarter litre of wine and another cafe gourmand.

What wagon?

Oh THAT wagon. I'll catch it tomorrow.

Member Comments About This Blog Post:
ALIDOSHA 11/1/2012 6:04PM


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SERASARA 10/6/2012 12:19PM

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IFEOMA4 10/5/2012 4:36PM


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ELSCO55 10/4/2012 10:55PM

    Thanks for sharing the beautiful pictures.

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MCHILSTR 10/4/2012 11:15AM

  Thanks for sharing the pictures - I felt I was there with you. Does that means I can count your fitness minutes too? emoticon

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MAGGIEROSEBOWL 10/4/2012 10:34AM

    Beautiful pictures of a beautiful country. Just eat mindfully, and when you are back, you can, "Climb back on that wagon!"

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THETROUT 10/4/2012 7:00AM

    You make me want to go there!

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TERRIJ7 10/2/2012 2:45PM

    Wow! What a fabulous trip! I love all the photos and your descriptions.

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PENOWOK 10/2/2012 9:22AM

    Fabulous pix!! I am sooo jealous!! What a beautiful country!

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PCASEY7 10/1/2012 10:34PM

    Great photos - have a great trip!

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COUPONS0216 10/1/2012 10:04PM

    So beautiful! Glad you are having a wonderful time!

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MARYJEANSL 10/1/2012 9:21PM

  So neat - such a fabulous place to visit!!!! Thank you for taking me with you in spirit.

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RAVENLB1 10/1/2012 3:48PM

    Wonderful to imagine being there, too!

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FARIS71 10/1/2012 9:43AM

    Oh my gosh another little mini vacation for me. Can almost taste the wine!

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BLUEJEAN99 10/1/2012 1:43AM

    emoticon emoticon

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STUFFNEARTABOR 9/30/2012 10:49PM

    Thanks so much for sharing your travels today - it was glorious to be riding along on your shoulder!

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PATRICIAANN46 9/30/2012 9:25PM

  What a wonderful journey you are on.........and with all the walking and climbing you are doing, I think the occasional pasta and sweet are well earned. Continue to have a great time...... emoticon

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NEWTINK 9/30/2012 8:48PM

    Spectacular emoticon

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DIANNEMT 9/30/2012 7:07PM

    I think you needed something good to eat!!

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TIZSLIM 9/30/2012 7:02PM

    Beggar the wagon - you earn't that pasta, and the cafe gourmand, twice over. Just as well eh? emoticon

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NILLAPEPSI 9/30/2012 6:12PM

    Gorgeous!!! emoticon for sharing your photos.

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ROCKYCPA 9/30/2012 5:07PM

    Beautiful pics - thanks for sharing.

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IAMAGEMLOVER 9/30/2012 3:40PM

    Beautiful, just beautiful. Thank you for posting these pictures. Yes, now I am hungry.

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CHUM48 9/30/2012 2:55PM


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ANGRITTER 9/30/2012 2:06PM

    How absolutely stunning! Now I truly see the appeal. Usually you see high fashion and junk like that. Your "walking tour" made a much better impact on me. It's the tiny walkways and the castles right next door to markets that I love... and watching the people. I LOVE people watching.

Oh, and thanks for doing all that walking for me as I will probably never go there. Boo!

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WALLINMW 9/30/2012 1:33PM

  Lovely! Awesome..

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BLUE42DOWN 9/30/2012 1:07PM

    Absolutely gorgeous. emoticon for including us.

I found it amusing that the skies held back during your meanderings and let loose as you returned. How cooperative.

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WAVAIRENE 9/30/2012 12:00PM

    Beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

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CICELY360 9/30/2012 11:11AM

  good blog

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GARDENCHRIS 9/30/2012 11:08AM

    beautiful pictures! Thank you for sharing..... I get to see so many nice places with Spark!

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SHOAPIE 9/30/2012 10:55AM


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MEDICGURL1769 9/30/2012 10:51AM

    I always love the pics from my overseas Spark Friends! Gorgeous pics! And sounds like a lovely day.

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CHANGING-VICKI 9/30/2012 10:47AM

  Such views make all the walking worthwhile. Breath taking. emoticon

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SUSANK16 9/30/2012 10:38AM


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KIPPER15 9/30/2012 10:28AM

    It's vacation and you are walking miles and miles. Enjoy. I am loving "our" trip so far. Can't wait to continue. emoticon

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JENNAAW 9/30/2012 9:47AM

    What beautiful photographs and commentary! Next best thing to my going there...

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MOMMY445 9/30/2012 9:30AM

    great pictures! thanks for sharing! have a terrific day!

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TDWANDD2MYK9 9/30/2012 9:24AM

    Absolutely fabulous, I am green with envy;) Thank you for the blog, but you really should be out having fun. I look forward to lots of story's when you get back!

emoticon emoticon emoticon emoticon

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TREYONE 9/30/2012 9:20AM

  Wonderful pictures! Thank you for sharing! emoticon

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COCK-ROBIN 9/30/2012 9:18AM


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NCSUE0514 9/30/2012 9:13AM

    What lovely photos!

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REGILIEH 9/30/2012 8:59AM

    Beautiful!!! Thank you sooooo much!!! emoticon

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TDEMAIO2 9/30/2012 8:57AM

    I absolutely love going on your walks with you : ) Thank you SO much for letting me see such beauty in the world : ) PS go ahead have a little pasta and wine this is life : )

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MIMIDOT 9/30/2012 8:55AM

    Great pictures! Thank you for sharing. I can't wait to go on another tour with you. I'll try to be extra good! lol

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JANEMARIE77 9/30/2012 8:47AM

    Glad you didn't get caught in any of the rain. Thank you so much for the wonderful walks and wonderful stroll. I PROmise to be Good. lol

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DJSHIP46 9/30/2012 8:47AM

    Thank you for sharing your holiday emoticon

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LAURIE-RN 9/30/2012 8:32AM

    Gorgeous views! I loved your blog. Thank you for sharing.

Laurie emoticon

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NEWMOM20121 9/30/2012 8:32AM

    Thank you for sharing. Love the pictures. I think I would have to enjoy the local food also. Enjoy while you can.

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LAURIE5658 9/30/2012 8:27AM

    I adore your blogs as they take away from stress and troubles. Thank you!

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KATHIC2 9/30/2012 8:23AM

  Love your trip, your writing, and your pictures! Shall we see a book from you some day?

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