After the panics of March, the subsequent catching up on work and the family visit in early April, it was rather nice to have a visitor this week and do four days of walking in our area. Contrary to the rumour that it is eternally sunny here, even April can have its showers and clouds, but we were extremely blessed with the brilliant sun and deep blue skies that everybody associates with Provence. Mind you the temperature was somewhat lower than usual and the wind was often chill. Further north in Burgundy there are areas where the vines have been threatened by late frosts: it’s been a long winter.
We decided to do one of the capes on the peninsula of St Tropez, Cap Lardier, which has been protected for the nation against the ceaseless demands of predatory builders by the Conservatoire du Littoral. We walked out on the coastal margin, a slow but splendid walk along rocks under umbrella pines with the sea and the sky giving an overdose of blue.
It’s a good time to do coastal walks because you can still park your car and the paths are not blocked by families struggling to take the full weight of the obligatory beach kit including sunshades, mats and cool boxes. It’s also not too hot: we’re not likely to forget the walk on the adjacent promontory to the east where the temperature was nearly a hundred Fahrenheit. And at this time of year too there are flowers and new foliage: by July everything has a slightly dusty, faded air to it.
It’s a good walk with splendid views to the offshore islands of Port Cros and Porquerolles. The value of the Cape and other protected areas here is increased precisely because of the way that so much of this coast has been eaten up by the merciless cancer-like spread of villas and apartment blocks.
Coming back we took a somewhat adventurous and little advertised route up out of the coast over onto the rugged Massif de Maures. It was a fiercely winding road made particularly hazardous by ceaseless bends, steep drops on one side and deep gutters on the other, and a constant stream of cyclists. But the views from the top were worth it.
A good day. One of the blessings of having visitors is that you are reminded not to take living here for granted. We don’t.