Moving on to the French Riviera

08-07-18

We enjoyed our afternoon in Castellane which was hugely enhanced by a delicious lunch and England’s victory over Sweden in the World Cup quarter final. We had to leave the Aire in Castellane by midday which gave us just enough time to tackle the hike up Le Roc which soars 180 meters above the town. It’s a big limestone mountain that dominates everything below it and overshadowed the Aire in which we’d stayed. We stopped by the boulangerie on the way up for croissant sustenance and embarked upon the ascent. Having a shower before hand was totally futile because we were sweating profusely within minutes. The sun was incredibly strong, even in the early morning but we made good progress, passing small religious markers as we went up. The view from the top was stunning and the little chapel was very sweet. We could see the bright aqua blue of the river Verdon dissect the gorge and Castellane resembled a toy-town below. We were surrounded on all sides by mountains and greenery and the air felt fresh.

We made our way back down the scrabbly path, feeling pleased with ourselves with our accomplishment. One last quick stroll around town before we packed up Harvey and got back on the road. We were finally heading south to the Cote D’Azure. Having experienced such amazing weather recently, I was looking forward to spending some time on the beach and we plumped for a camp site in Biot. It took us a good hour to weave and wind our way out of the Alpes-du-Haute Provence which remained hilly throughout. There were so many motorbikes on the road with riders enjoying the thrills of the hairpin bends and beautiful views. Some of these guys drove way too fast and with poor road discipline, often edging out of their lane or taking blind corners way too wide which would cause us to break or swerve and had my heart racing.

Other than the odd, small village this region was remote and beautifully unspoilt. Eventually the mountains gave way and the road opened out to reveal views of the sea on the horizon. As we made our final descent down the mother of all mountains, we could see the town of Grasse in front of us and Cannes beyond that.

We arrived at the campsite around 3.30pm and it felt like a place that time had forgot. Woefully dated and pretty empty but it was situated minutes from the beach, just 4km from Antibes and right opposite the train station. We had plenty of space but we were sharing it with mozzies and giant creepy crawlies. What’s more is that it’s the most expensive campsite yet, but we’ve come to expect that everything is spendy in the South of France. We were only planning to stay for 3 nights so used it as a convenient base. We dumped our stuff and headed straight to the beach for a relaxing couple of hours in the late afternoon sun. The beach was busy and there was a lovely atmosphere with families enjoying themselves. It’s a pebble beach with a steep drop off which made for an equally uncomfortable and hilarious walk into the sea. Once I’d scrambled out myself I sat watching all the other poor sods battle with the crashing waves and pebbles that gave way under their feet. The techniques varied hugely with some people opting for an all fours crawl and others adopting the bottom shuffle – all equally great to watch.

We went back to the campsite feeling pretty knackered and enjoyed a refreshing shower before making dinner in the van and getting an early night, in preparation for further adventures on the coast.

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