Saturday, March 1, 2014

A Tale of Two Saints: Raphaël et Tropez

As we continue our winter break, we opt to take the toll road from Pézenas to St-Raphaël, shaving off an hour an a half of driving time. The exit from A8 directs us through the bustling ville Fréjus, and when we park notre voiture at maison de ma soeur, we are determine to not move it again until we leave on Sunday. Thankfully, my sister has come up with an itinerary for exploring the Côte d'Azur en bus, train et à pied.

St-Raphaël is a sprawling resort city, notable for being the port where Napoléon (triumphantly) entered France 1799 after military victories in Egypt, and where he left (in disgrace) 15 years later for exile in Elba. The Fitzgeralds (F. Scott and Zelda) lived near St-Raphaël in 1924; while he wrote The Great Gatsby, she reportedly had a dalliance with a French fly boy.

The overcast skies don't dampen Ken's first glimpse of la mer Méditerranée. Afterall, the météo (weather forecast) for the rest of the week is merveilleux, and tomorrow we head to Saint-Tropez.

In summertime, the road to St-Tropez is paved with sun- and celebrity-seekers, but on this mid-week, mid-winter morning, we are the only passengers on the bus from St-Raphaël. As promised, the weather is great and we spend a few hours wandering the nearly empty streets, trek up rue de la Citadelle to admire the view, and have un déjeuner à emporter of sandwiches and pastries on a bench in Place Carnot. 
I guess Elton, Barbra, and Brigitte are spending today elsewhere (poor them!), as the only star we see today is le soleil.  

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