Salon de Provence and Menton
Goodbye Saint Chinian
Although the motorway has a speed limit of 130 kph, we were continually passed by faster cars. We were even passed by a Fiat Panda going flat chat at its maximum speed – how embarrassing.
We actually left a day earlier as we thought we would need an overnight stay between Saint Chinian and Menton, close to the Italian border. Somewhere in the middle was Salon de Provence. It was a wise decision of Sue's as it added experiences that we would surely have missed.
Salon de Provence
Salon de Provence was just an overnight stay but on arrival, we became aware that there was more interest to the city than we would be able to appreciate in a short stay. As I was becoming more comfortable driving a car from where the passenger usually sits, Salon de Provence was a comfortable size to drive in and around. It was also a lovely city to walk, not too large or crowded - very relaxing.
Salon de Provence, our overnight stop between Saint Chinian and Menton - home to Nostradamus
On arrival it was time for lunch so after locating the Hotel du Midi, we strolled down the street to find an interesting wood fired pizza restaurant. The waitress spoke English and took delight in practicing on us. So delightful was the restaurant’s menu and the waitress that we returned for dinner – I had grilled duck breast and mushrooms, Sue had Rouget fillets.
Our waitress found it astounding that we could come from so far away (Australia) and take six weeks to travel. I must admit that we are fortunate in Australia with our work benefits. After 10 years working with my employer, I had accumulated eight weeks fully paid long service leave. I had also accumulated several weeks of holiday leave from my annual four weeks owing. Some years, I would just take two weeks so the accumulated leave just kept adding up.
Salon de Provence shares some of its history with Nostradamus. There was a museum dedicated to him but time did not allow us to visit.
Early the next morning we were back on the motorway to Menton on the French/Italian border.
When our suburb (probably then a beach side holiday village in the 1880s) was being subdivided, the developers gave the streets, names such as the Corso, Venice, Antibes, Naples and Florence, which gave it a real European feel. Looking along the sandy bay beaches of Mentone, you can see why the developer was influenced by its French cousin Menton.
From the Diary,
“It’s impossible to get town maps beforehand so you find yourself going round and round - mad traffic – high blood pressure and Leon in melt-down.”
As we drove into Menton from the motorway, we were enthralled by the winding roads that descended to the coast of the Mediterranean. Finding our hotel was the usual hit and miss procedure of the last two weeks. This first trip we didn’t have a GPS. Sue had printed out pages and pages of Mappy maps which are fine for the simple stuff. To find where your hotel is requires more detail instructions. Most of the time, without realising it, we were usually no more than metres from our destination and sometimes just opposite.
The first thing we did on finding our hotel was to order a bottle of Rose and two glasses and admire the coast line from our third floor balcony. Then it was time for a walk to discover Menton.
The highlight was stumbling upon the Anna Chromy exhibition in the gardens of the Musee des Beaux-Arts.
I’d not been aware of her work previously but was amazed with her talent and extraordinary visual concepts.
If you would like to look at more of her work follow this link http://www.annachromy.com/
|The sun begins to set on our day at Menton - tomorrow we arrive in Italy.|
As the sun sets, we raise our glasses and say goodnight to Menton,
and France for the next 2 weeks.
From Menton, our next overnight stop to Rome would be Viareggio, another seaside city set in the region of Tuscany.