Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Shenanigans on the French Riviera Part 2

 Hi Beach Dwellers.

Here's the next episode in Shenanigans on the French Riviera:

We found a cute little beach just down from the yacht club with a great hotel two doors down, that does good coffee and hot chocolate. So the kids are getting to swim on a daily basis and I have access to an easy coffee fix in lovely surroundings.  Yay!! The private beach concept is a little weird, but when in Rome and all that.

I have come to the conclusion that all coastal holiday towns are the same, the world over.  The general rule goes something like this, beach and associated water sports, eat, drink, fun park, done……..and of course living in a coastal town in Sydney, thankfully without a ‘fun’ park, means it is no novelty to us.  So………’Lost in Hyeres’ as a title to this post, would be an understatement.  However this is Mr Beach House’s week/10 days and I am willing to take one for the team and lie back and think of England, if you will.  Concerning the sailing any way.  Although this morning I was thinking of Berlin, as there is an international airport here in Hyeres and I thought why the hell not, whilst he is sailing. However, when I googled the prices to get from obscure French coastal country town, to Berlin, I started thinking of England again and realised I would have to sit this one out. It seems a shame, when we are so close, but you have to draw the line somewhere and $4500 for a round trip in airfares alone for me and 2 kids, is it. Plus the fact that the trip takes 14 hours, as they all seem to have to go through Paris and some require an over night there.  So the reality is Hyeres-Toulon airport appears to be international in name only.   I only wish I hadn’t told the Biggest Beach House Brat until I had done my research.  But as I said to him, “You are 11 and will have your chance when you are paying the bills, to get to Berlin one day.

The crazy thing is, there has been very little wind and so the laser fleet has been kept on hold on shore for most of the regatta so far, which is a little ironic.  Even though there has been very little sailing, Mr BH cannot leave the yacht club in case racing is called on.  Like I said in my last post “Are we having fun yet?”  I have not been to a regatta with him sailing alone for years, so I had forgotten how much I don’t like it, but it is his birthday present and all, so I am trying to be nice to him.  Considering he gave me a bottle of Pommeau de Normandie for my birthday, I think I am being very nice indeed.

Post script to the sailing: The fleet finally got out to race at 5pm last night, having arrived at the yacht club at 10 am, so it was a long day.  MP got a 4th, which was a big improvement on the 32nd from the day before.  He even said if he had got another 32nd, he would have packed it in.  The Radial Laser fleet hasn’t even had a race yet, even though they have gone out twice, so there are a lot of sombre guys hanging around the yacht club this week.

On the upside, there were a couple of good markets here yesterday and I scored a lovely yellow handbag for $30 and a great little box of octopus salad for lunch, which I ate whilst watching the kids swim.  It was the best I’ve ever had. I only wish I had taken a shot of the stall selling it.  The lady had great big pans of gorgeous food, one with paella, one of snails cooked in garlic and parsley and another with octopus in a spicy tomato sauce and all sorts of fabulous food. She had tasting plates out front, so you could try before you bought and it was some of the best food I have ever tasted. The kids eyes were out on sticks when I ate the snail, which is weird, since they were quite OK with eating the frogs legs I ordered for them in L‘Isle sur la Sorgue.

We also had the good fortune to discover Port Grimaud (near St Tropez) the other night, even if the drive through the hills was something else. What is it with narrow winding roads with no barriers, over looking cliffs and French drivers?  This time there was even a car over the side, which was a damned sobering wake up call, but friends from the UK and OZ were doing a regatta over in Port Grimaud and we met them for dinner.  The port is a development built in the 1960’s out of the salt marshes, so totally environmentally unfriendly, but if you can get past that, it is really interesting.  The whole thing was built at the same time and no 2 house facades are the same.  It’s like a gated community with cute French villas and you have to go over a moat with security guard to get in.  All the villas back onto the marina, so you can park your boat at your back door, so it’s very cool.  As for the drive home, lets just say I over did it on the rose at dinner in preparation. Mr BH did the drive in his usual laconic and in control way.  So you see I owe him on many levels, so will press on here in Hyeres in the hope that things get more interesting this week.

Whilst we are on the topic of development, Hyeres is another interesting phenomenon.  It’s looking very tired with high rise apartments on the water front, reminiscent of the tacky ones in Miami.  I reckon if the French just leave these for another 20 years, which lets face it, they have a history of doing with their buildings, the place will start to look charming again.  Further down the isthmus the high rise stops and the houses are free standing. It really is a very pretty part of the world.  I do have a soft spot for the French Beach House I must say.

Here’s to more wind and a bit more action for us for our last week in La Belle France.
      Lets just say, it looks like I will definitely finish my book before I get home.

Port Grimaud France

Port Grimaud France

For more travel stories go here.

 If you would like Desire Empire posts to come straight to your inbox every ten days or so, you can sign up here for my Newsletter.

You can pin any of these shots by hovering over the shot and clicking on the  'P'.

You can also find me on

Today I am linked up here.
Wow Us Wednesday


  1. I'm not sure I could handle all the waiting around for the wind to pick up when there would be so many more things to go out and do. But as you say, it's his birthday present. It must be very frustrating to be so close to Berlin and not be able to get there. Amazing how it's so expensive. I always thought hopping around Europe was affordable. The pebble beach is interesting - great they provide comfy recliners or it would be very uncomfortable. Glad the holiday is going well xx

  2. I've been following your journey on instagram. Your images are so beautiful, no wonder you love France so much!

  3. Oh I am insanely jealous! I would love to be lying on my own private beach, buying yellow handbags and waiting for the wind :) I remember thinking the private beaches in France were odd too. And the stones, that took a while to get used to. Visiting via #teamIBOT

  4. Oh your images are like a little bit of being there. Beautiful XX

  5. What a wonderful trip - love seeing all of your beautiful images!

  6. Beautiful, planning to be in France next year, stay safe xxx

  7. It looks beautiful!
    I had to giggle because my fisherman husband would love the lack of wind :)

  8. Thrilled to hear that the book writing is going so well, it must be so distracting having all the beaches, cafes and eateries though. Looking forward to seeing you when you get back to Sydney.

  9. Carolyn, what a wonderful trip you're having! Gorgeous images.


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...