Thursday, August 27, 2009

hidden treasure : the seaside 1 hour from Avignon

The mediterranean coast in the south of France could hardly be called a hidden treasure : hordes of vacationers are pouring yearly either East of the Rhone valley towards the Cote d'Azur ( St Tropez, Hyeres, Cannes ...), or West towards the Languedoc coast (Montpellier, Cap d'agde, Grande Motte).

Avignon is located at the intersection of the highways to these well know destinations. Yet if you venture directly south, in the mouth of the Rhone river you have a choice of less over-exploited destinations :
- Saintes Maries de la mer and the Plage de l'Espiguette , for that windy, salty, horsey feeling of the Camargue ; Saintes Maries de la mer is the place where Sarah and Mary disembarked from the holy Land, so legend has it. I dont suppose that they went to the age old restaurant lou Santem, altought everyone does. Great for wind surfing, kiteflying, kite surfing... Read more on Saintes Maries " Bohème chic"
- The remarkable "calanques" of the Estaque hills west of Marseille are more fun for snorkelling , diving, seakayaking, climbing and and hiking . These are really hidden, unlike the famous ones East of Marseille ( Cassis, Sormiou ...)
So much that I am at risk to be shot at if I publish the detailled list of the Estaque calanques and their many cliffs and beaches, somme not much larger than an american king-size bed.( From Martigues and Carry le Rouet to l'Estaque, a lovely train runs along this idyllic strech of coast, stopping in tiny stations ). But shall you come to our place, I'll be happy to whisper to you the way to these great spots.