The French Riveria

We left Aix and headed towards the French coastal town of Cassis.  Amongst all the coastal cities along the Mediterranean this little fishing town has been the best preserved.

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It’s mostly visited by the regional French as a vacation hotspot.  Cassis has been my favorite location so far!  We took a little tram down the mountain to the docks, where we hired out a small tour boat to see the famous calanques (pronounced “co-loncks”), which were small inlets in the largest cliffs along the sea.

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This spot is actually a favorite of rock climbers, and the base of the Statue of Liberty, which was a gift from France, was quarried from here.  Beautiful white cliffs!

From the boat, we had a fantastic view of Cassis, whose population is only 8,000.

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Afterwards we enjoyed some local food and shopping before traveling on to Nice.  I was the least impressed with this over industrialized city… it was so built up and lost all of its historical charm.  But, Nice had a tough competitor to follow after our afternoon in Cassis!  Here we stopped briefly for a cappuccino at their famous flower market before continuing on to our hotel in Beaulieu sur Mer, long the Riveria.  What a lovely surprise!  The Riveria drive was so stunning, with a winding road along the coastline right in the middle of the small coastal towns.  This small region along the Mediterranean is full of steep and curvy streets built right into the side of the mountains.  It’s full of hundreds of tunnels and exotic smelling plants and flowers.  Before heading to bed we took a 5 minute evening walk down to the waterline along the rocky beach.  It was so peaceful and serene!  Small ships and yachts were anchored out from the shore with their lights reflecting off the calm water.  There was just enough of a breeze to bring small waves gently crashing in nearer the water’s edge.

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I normally can’t sleep at home with the city noise, but we’ve had our windows open every night, enjoying the cool breezes and wisps of local French dialects whispering up from the streets below.  This morning we woke up to this beautiful sunrise view from our motel window…

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