December 31, 2017

The last day of 2017

Fittingly we ended the year with our toes in the Mediterranean. To the Calanque de Figuerolle in La Ciotat. It is a magical place, like something out of a storybook. We waded, skipped rocks and then scrambled on some big ones before we bid farewell to a spectacular year in the south of France. We all agree we would like to call this place home forever.

2017 Noël with the Joly Family

December 29, 2017

Les Goudes and Calanques

One of my resolutions this year is to hike from Marseille to Cassis in one day - along the coast in the Calanques. The trek is 37 kilometers (23 miles) and represents an elevation gain of 2203 meters (7228 ft) in total. A long day and really tough, but these are the most beautiful parts of this part of the coast and there is little access in or out, so best to do the whole thing end to end. I did a segment of it the other day - started early in the morning at Les Goudes and hiked to the Col de Cortiou. Just spectacular. I saw three other people. It felt really wild and lonely in a nourishing way. A guidebook I found recommended staying on the more technical trail along the coast. It turned out to be a lot of exposure, but well-worth the views and the sensation of being perched on a true cliff with the sea straight below. A few cables and a bit of climbing - mostly just fun.

The culmination of the stretch I did, the Col de Cortiou, offered these spanning vistas of the sea and the small islands that hover out in the distance. The sky that day came on strong, the clouds convincing in their changing forms.

I found the Calanque de l’Escu and sat on the enormous chunks of rock there in a stupor for a while. Such a wild and hidden place, almost like a sea cave. The day was a bit stormy, so the waves came crashing into the cavern with force. The place feels tragic and ominous because it is. Above the cavern there is a plaque with a boy’s name on it: Sylvain Menu. In 1981 an older boy scout dove into crashing waves to save one of the younger boys in their troop of hikers. He managed to save the boy, but was carried out to sea by another forceful wave that came just after.

December 22, 2017

Andrew in Provence

My littlest brother Andrew came to stay for a week, having just finished a two-year mission in France. I’m very happy to report that he is a true French speaker now and we will compel him to spend lots of time here going forward. I took him to some of the places I like best around here...Gordes, Bonnieux, Cassis and the Calanques

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