October 23, 2016

Île de Porquerolles

It is school vacation in France: les Vacances de Toussaint (All Saint's). Good opportunity for us to explore with all three girls together. We headed about 1.5 hours south along the Mediterranean and took a ferry from Hyères to l'Île de Porquerolles (~20 min). The island is well known among the French, but I was unfamiliar with it. It turns out to be a slice of the Côte d'Azur in untarnished form, without all of the things that cloud that region of France (overbuilt concrete, tourism, trash, carnivals). The shoreline and the famous azure water, the cliffs are all in perfect focus here. The island is wild. The French government bought 80% of the land to turn it into a natural preserve. That means the only way to get to its beaches and cliffs are by bike - an excellent scenario.

Colette inquires: "Are we in France?" Then she insists: "Tell me when we see a volcano dormant!"

We are spending the time wild and free too. With no worries about cars - the girls run around the tiny village untethered. Marguerite is madame cartwheel.

We set out each morning to explore a different trail and beach. We stop at the boulangerie for bread and macarons. The little grocery store for cheese, butter and ham. Baby tomatoes, carrots and apples. The girls are strapped into the carrier and on the bike seat. Marguerite is raring to go on her own bike - long legs ready for the work. We set off. Xavier serenades them with Elvis along the way. The paths are strenuous at times - rising and falling. Sometimes we walk up the steep hills. We usually manage to find a beach where there are very few people - or no one at all. October is an excellent time to come to the island; we find just our shadows for company on many parts of the journey.

Plage Notre Dame

Plage de l'Argent

At the beach Colette and Marguerite construct a village. Bridges, tunnels, a post office. All decorated finely with pebbles. Romy inevitably destroys. Stomps on everything when the builders are rinsing their hands in the water. I say let’s build all together. They protest - she doesn’t have the focus to create with us! Maybe not. But she is just 2. Hilarious 2.

The weather is soft. With the sun out we even dip in the water - still warmed over from summer days.

A short hike up to the Fort Sainte Agathe: sweeping views

Late in the afternoon we venture back to the village and get ice cream and play at the village square. Lots of other kids here. Sun tilting just right.

One night at dinner Colette turns to Marguerite very seriously: "So Marguerite, what is it like in your village?" We all crack up.

Then we do it again. It is a good school vacation.

Presqu'ile du Langoustier

Upset on the beach after a long afternoon /sand in her hair and eyes, Romy sits wrapped in a big towel. "I want to go on vacation!" Not realizing this is what I had been talking about.

How to go:
From La Tour Fondue, Hyères take the ferry to Porquerolles (TLV-TVM)

How to get around:
Rent a bike - multiple bike vendors are on the main village street as you leave the dock from the ferry

Plage Notre Dame
Plage de l'Argent
Presqu'ile du Langoustier

Unique hotel and restaurant:
Mas du Langoustier (high-end, a trek from the village - typically Provençale cuisine and spectacular setting


Rosie said...

What a lovely vacation spot - and so close to home! I giggled as I read those conversations! Makes me want to drop everything and join you! Loves!

Anonymous said...

This is fabulous. One of your best!

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