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Thursday 22 February 2024

Provence Trip June/July 2023 - Part 7 Glanum, St Remy de Provence

There is a downside to having a Moho and that's not being able to park easily. Before we go anywhere I look on google maps for car parks and then look on street view to see if there is a height barrier (something you don't notice when you travel in a car). There is a lovely coastal town called Cassis that I've been wanting to visit for several years, but when we got there, the only parking I had found that seemed feasible was closed. And it had a barrier that I hadn't seen on street view anyway! So there was only one thing to do, and that was to keep on driving. I kept getting glimpses of multicoloured buildings beside the port and amazing cliffs with a castle below, but unless we find that there are any buses running there that we can park near, we sadly won't be visiting. 

So on we went to a place that had its own car park. These are the remains of a Roman town near St Remy de Provence known as Glanum. Nearby are two well preserved monuments known as 'les Antiques' from the 1st century BC. Below, the mausoleum of the Julii, dating from about 40BC.

And this monument is a triumphal arch.

Amazing stone carvings on the underneath of the arch.

The town itself is built around a sacred spring and was inhabited by the Salyens between the 4th and 2nd centuries BC, later falling to the Romans. The original town was destroyed and later rebuilt several times, during a period of on and off warfaring between the Salyens, the Greeks in nearby Marseille, and the Romans. Most of the remains excavated here are from the Roman era of the 1st century BC to 1st century AD.

Glanum was destroyed by Germanic tribes in 260AD and abandoned, with many of the stones being used to build nearby St Remy de Provence. The town became covered in deep soil over the centuries until excavations began in 1921.

The House of the Antae, a Hellenistic-style residence with a peristyle (columns surrounding internal courtyard) of Tuscan columns and a basin to capture rainwater.

Keith stealing a bit of Roman pottery! 😁

In the temple of Cybele there was an altar dedicated to the priestess Loreia, with a stone carving of the ears of the goddess, that she might hear prayers.

Restored columns of twin Corinthian temples in the first Roman Forum of Glanum (20 BC).

Below, in the middle where the two columns are, is the remains of the Temple of Valetudo, about 39 BC.

We had wanted to visit St Remy de Provence afterwards, but it was so hot that we were really weary by now so opted to just go to our campsite and chill out. It's such a shame when it's too hot as we end up missing out on doing things. We were lucky though that the real heat didn't appear until the last few days of our holiday.

On our way home we stopped at a motorway services which has views of the medieval Cité of Carcassonne.

The sunflowers were in full bloom so I took some photos with my phone as we drove the last ten minutes home after leaving the motorway.

Nearly home - our village up on the hill. Our house is off to the left out of the picture, although we can see it from here and from much further away, in fact.

And that, my friends, concludes our Provence trip last summer! Keith and I are planning to go back in September to see more of the mountainous areas in northern Provence, with, I'm sure, a few days at the big campsite by the beach again!

Friday 16 February 2024

Provence Trip June/July 2023 - Part 7 Ports of La Favière and Le Lavandou

I love wandering around marinas looking at the boats. I like to imagine myself on a big 'gin palace' cruising the Mediterranean - when we win the lottery, of course! This is the marina at La Favière, which is the port of Bormes les Mimosas.

I liked the one just above best until we came across this huge catamaran below - it was bigger than it looks here, viewing it from the side. I wouldn't have let these two rough looking chaps anywhere near it though if it were mine! 😁

Looking across to our campsite which took up most of that hillside! It really is a huge place, but we were lucky that we didn't need to walk up the hill to go anywhere - we could get to the port or the bus stop by walking along a boardwalk beside the beach.

On Le Lavandou market day we visited the town afterwards. Beside the marina:

We ate out beside the marina and my dessert was the best I've ever had in France. A selection of Moroccan pastries, full of sugar syrup or honey and almonds. I scoffed them all - yum!

A wander through Le Lavandou. The Hotel de Ville is the town hall.

Plane trees - the bark is similar to Eucalyptus trees with their multicoloured peeling bark. They are excellent trees for Mediterranean climates with large shaded areas beneath.

Ditto the Umbrella Pines below for shade. Loved those colourful chairs too!

One day we revisited a garden open to the public at Rayol-Canadel-sur-Mer just along the coast, but due to it being very dry in the coastal areas (unlike inland) there was very little flowering and it was rather disappointing. The views were nice though!

This is a lovely stretch of coast which is nothing like the built up areas further along the Cote d'Azur, plus when you get closer to Nice, the beaches become pebbly.

Most afternoons we had a swim from the beach by our campsite and even persuaded Keith to come in one day! I love our pool but there is just something so special about swimming in the sea.

Nearly finished - one more post to go!

Monday 12 February 2024

Provence Trip June/July 2023 - Part 6 Bormes les Mimosas

The village of Bormes les Mimosas, near Le Lavandou, is a few kilometres inland from its port, called La Favière, which was where we were camping. We have stayed at the Camp du Domaine several times before and it is right on the beach. It's one of the largest and most expensive campsites we have ever been to and doesn't even have a pool, but the sea swimming there is just fabulous as there's not a stone or pebble when you walk from the golden sandy beach right out into the water, which slopes shallowly. So we reckon it is worth a splurge every now and again for three or four days!

We took the bus up to the village which is in the hills and is one of the prettiest places I have ever visited, because it's just dripping in Bougainvillea, Plumbago and other flowering plants!

Our route from Entrevaux:

I love the ochre and terracotta colours of these buildings, especially with the pale green shutters, a common colour in Provence.

A good excuse to have lunch out!

Two old geezers sitting in the shade.

A wander around the ports of La Favière and Le Lavandou in the next post.