Thursday, May 31, 2012

Ste. Maxime

Greetings from Ste. Maxime on the French Riviera. Once again we passed through beautiful countryside...the vineyards of Rousillon and the Languedoc, the lovely yellow broom lighting up the fields, the poppies still in bloom and lovely small white flowers on wild bushes carpeting the hillsides. Everything had grown considerably since our previous trip along this road. The highlight of the day was leaving a toll area and immediately passing a rest area with four giant Newfoundland dogs sitting up with tongues hanging out in the heat waiting for their owner. Sadly, we couldn't go and see them. We were too late. continuing our trip, we reached the stark hills and ridges around Aix en Province that Cezanne loved to paint.

After planning our stops on the autoroute we made our last stop before Ste. Maxime for a tarte framboise with the most delicious shortcrust pastry and a coffee. After a brief tour of Ste. Maxime we opted for a hotel near the water but within walking distance of the town. Tonight we walked past the marina and in to the small, narrow pedestrian streets filled with restaurants and bistros and some interesting shops. We stopped at a photography stall to admire the stunning pictures of Ste. Maxime and St. Tropez mounted on canvas. The owner hailed from New Zealand and divides his year between New Zealand and Ste.Maxime. He was quite happy to chat to people in English. We finally broke away and went in search of dinner.

Coming from a fishing port we were quite startled by the price of fish in the restaurants. We finally opted for some moules frites and a bottle of lovely, chilled pale pink rose. After dinner we decided to go for a walk along the promenade, past the marina and some beautiful sandy beaches. We couldn't pass a gelateria without trying kinder chocolate gelato and a scoop of nougat. Delicious. We continued walking along the promenade, in the moonlight, with the lights of St. Tropez across the water.

Tomorrow we will continue to explore Ste. Maxime. Even better, I believe they have a market on Friday.

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