The Frioul Archipelago can be found approx 4km off Marseille. We anchored overnight in Calanue de Morgret. Consisting of 2 islands, Ratonneau & Pomeques, connected by a causeway. The Islands are a nature reserve and protected zone. Dogs must be on leads, cyclists are only allowed in the village and when walking around the island you must remain on marked paths. We only stayed overnight and took a short evening walk. We were disappointed having visited so many other beautiful islands on our travels so far.
19th July we departed the Frioul Islands and motor sailed the four hours to La Ciotat. We anchored in the large bay overlooking the beach, and dinghied in to have a look around. Apparently Ciotat is where the game petanque was invented, it also has a history of shipbuilding and the shipyard is a prominent sight from wherever you happen to be in the town. We walked past the world’s oldest operating cinema, the Eden Theater, and took a look to see if anything was showing that evening….we were out of luck as it was closed!
During our obligatory walk around the Marina we came across some beautiful boats, both classic & modern. We were also invited onboard a British boat for a cuppa..thank you Linda & Barry!
Time for a coffee! or maybe something with slightly more calories!
Over the next few days we made our way along the French Coast towards Monaco.
Can you spot the ‘thunderbird’ house?
Porquerolles Island was beautiful. No vehicles only bicycles & golf carts. Anchored just off the village, we took the dinghy ashore. We walked through the narrow streets with numerous tourists and then had tapas overlooking the bay. It reminded me a little of Caldey Island on a sunny August day. The village was established in 1820 and the entire island was purchased by Francois Joseph Fournier as a wedding present for his wife. He planted vineyards which produced a wine that was among the first to be classified as vin de Cote de Provence. In 1971 the state of France bought 80% of the Island to preserve it from development and much of it is now part of a National Park. Since 2010 the island has hosted a jazz festival each summer.
Following our stop in Porquerolles (Pork Roll, as we were now referring to it!), we were in need of fuel and water so decided to find a marina for the night. Le Lavandou came up trumps… it was reasonably priced for the time of year, (46 Euros) and when we arrived we found out that there was a music festival on that weekend. Brass jazz band first & then a Rolling Stones tribute band. Bonus!!
waiting for ‘the rolling stones!
On Passage to St Tropez
22nd June we motored to Bay de Canebiers, just outside St Tropez
We spent two nights at anchor here and even had the privilege of watching two dolphin feeding in the early evening. The 20 minute walk into St Tropez took us past an extremely large graveyard and along a pretty coastal path. St Tropez its self is a small town and harbour that Alistair was glad to see had not buckled under pressure to extend, and accommodate the super yachts that visit here. There were many anchored outside as well as the ones who had found room on the small quayside. We arrived just before lunchtime and watched the boats leave for the surrounding bays to enable them to use the numerous toys they all carry. We were, however, sure that one ‘toy’ would be remaining in its glass case for now!! (see photo). Once the yachts have departed for the day, St Tropez becomes a very pleasant French fishing village.
Next stop (again motoring all the way) were the Isle de Lerins. We anchored in the channel between Ile Saint-Margerite & Ile Honourat. The Lerins are a group of four islands off Cannes and in 1707 these islands were actually occupied by the British Navy. Ile Saint Margerite is the largest, approximately 1.9 miles by 0.56 miles, most famous for its fortress prison in which the so-called Man in the Iron Mask was held in the 17th century.
Fort Royal (prison!) Ile Sainte Marguerite.
Ile Honourat is the second largest island and is owned by a community of monks who make wine from the vineyards on the island. We spent an afternoon exploring the Island on foot, visiting the monastery, the vineyards and the interesting tower behind the monastery. The anchorage between the two islands was a busy anchorage and even had a Pizza Express & delivery service from a Catamaran anchored in the middle, plus a number of ice cream sellers whizzing around on Ribs.
Our next anchorage on 25th June was the beautiful setting of Ville Franche
On route we pasted a boat transporter, an interesting sight.
Ville Franche is situated on the French-Italian border, sandwiched in between the Principality of Monaco & the city of Nice. During our three night stay in there we visited both Nice & Monaco by train.
Whilst in Nice we felt very ‘at home’ when we came across the Ironman Tents in preparation for their forthcoming weekend event! Unfortunately Alistair had left his bike & running shoes on board Money Penny!
Monaco is a sovereign city-state, country & microstate of 2,020 sq km, making it the second smallest country in the world after the Vatican and based on a 2016 census, is the most densely populated sovereign state in the world. It lies 15 km from Italy but borders France on three sides & the Mediterranean Sea on the other. It is known to be the most expensive & wealthiest place on earth (Vatican City excluded) due to its tax laws and in 2014 it was noted that about 30% of the population was made up of millionaires.
Visiting Monte-Carlo Bay Casino. No we didn’t win!!
View from the Prince’s Palace
We walked through the famous Tunnel Louis II, part of the Grand Prix Circuit.
Visiting the Monaco Top Cars Collection. This is a five storey museum housing nearly 100 vintage cars collected by Prince Rainier III. Well worth a visit.
At mid day on the 28th June it was time to move on & we departed Ville Franche on route to our next exciting destination, Corsica!