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  • Philip Dunn

Chers mesdames et messieurs,

As soon as May is over, Artists' Open Houses have all finally closed and I am yet another year older, I allow myself to succumb to my wanderlust. After all, it is one of the few of my lusts that I still have some realistic hope of assuaging. I give over a fair amount of brain space to planning this annual adventure and I pore, paw and sometimes, accidentally, pour over maps, late into many a night, fantasising about it and..



...because I can't bring myself to leave Arty behind, this dog friendly beach I went to last year, l'Argentière at la Londe-les-Maures, where I had rented a purpose built studio flat at a surprisingly reasonable price, did seem worth another visit. The surrounding area is beautiful and there are loads of relatively inexpensive restaurants close by. Spending another fortnight there for a second year running was going to be an indulgence equivalent to scoffing too many cream cakes while reading Steinbeck's The Grapes of Wrath, which I had done during lunchtimes on one of my student holiday jobs in the sixties. But Arty is getting too old for long walks and I have found the escapism of reading increasingly appealing as I have aged too, (but now accompanied by a more balanced diet inside a crispy baguette). So I loaded my Kindle with thrillers, and the car with Arty and everything we might conceivably need for the duration, and set off heading south, on the morning of Sunday 9 June, to face the next three weeks at least otherwise alone.



Unfortunately, some of the landscape of northern France can be a bit bland, especially when the weather isn't as clement as the season promises...



...but my trusty satnav took me past some interesting sights, including what looks suspiciously like a field of opium poppies.

So, I had an overnight stop in Chartres, and continued down south of Clermont-Ferrand...



...and had a short stop at this viewpoint. La Roche Tuilière is on the left and la Roche Sanadoire is on the right, with the la Vallée du Chausse beyond...



...then an overnight stop in the Avergne, where dinner just had to include the local St Hectaire cheese, and this is the view from my window the next morning.

However, the weather was disappointing and extraordinarily cold for the time of year (9 degrees), but...



...when we past through this place and left it behind, I knew we would no longer be frozen to the Beaune...



...and at least Cap d'Agde looked the biz when we arrived, even if there was still a chill wind blowing...



...but that did mean Arty wasn't complaining that it was too hot.

And then, after a couple of days, we were off east, to the Camargue...



...stopping off at the medieval walled city of Aigues Mortes...



...by which time the temperature had risen to 29 degrees...



...almost too warm for little dogs...



...but the next day, though it stayed warm, it was overcast...



Want to add a caption to this image? Click the Settings icon. ...and the flat land and the vast Lac de Vaccarès really don't look very interesting on a dull day, but these horses didn't seem to mind...



...and the day after that we were at last able to laze around on la Plage de l'Argentière...





...have dinner round the corner at le Port de Miramar...



...or pop along the road to la Favière, Bormes-les-Mimosas...



...or just share a beer with one of the locals.

Anyway, watch this space. There'll be more soon.

Love,

Philip Xx

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