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Small Beach Town. South of France. One week. Notes & Observations.

On June 16, I left the cool weather of Amsterdam, and ran smack into a blast furnace, otherwise known as France. I learned a new French word..Canicule..heatwave. When I arrived in my little French coastal town, it was in the low 90s. Quelle Horror!

My little apartment had no AC, but it was situated on a low cliff overlooking the Mediterranean, so there was a breeze. That and 2 fans made it livable. The heat broke to a tolerable 80 degrees the following day.
1.Contactless credit cards are the bomb. Makes life so much simpler. Some of the small shops only took cash. So be prepared.
2. Most of the people in this town spoke a little English, but were hardly fluent. Just be aware. I heard American English spoken only once. A guy in a white dress shirt and bright pink shorts, speaking loudly on his phone. Another note: This French beach was quiet. No music. No loud talking. No alcohol. No games. No "rough housing".
3. Swim shoes and a hat. Rocky beaches are not kind to feet. Hats are a must in the sun. I brought a hat, but had to buy a pair of swim shoes. They only took cash. (note to self)
4. French beaches. All kinds of bodies. All ages. Bikinis and Speedos are not just for the young and fit. Just sayin'.
I admire the ability of these beach goers to get dressed/undressed while wrapped in a bath towel. I'd say, don't stare, but I did. That's what sunglasses are for.
5. Corkscrew. Bring one. I didn't find any screw top wine bottles in the local grocery. Granted I didn't look at every bottle, but gave the wine department a quick look.
6. Self cleaning toilets. This is the first time I availed myself of the self cleaning toilets. I find them a little intimidating. (I have a vision of getting washed along with the interior of the toilet.) But better than the old "hole in the ground" which they replaced. You know what I'm talking about if you have been to these outposts in the past. I was pleasantly surprised. They are very clean. But very wet, if they have just cleaned themselves. So I wouldn't want to put anything on the floor. No toilet lid. There was toilet paper, but I would bring along a pack of tissues just in case. One was self locking when I closed the door. The other I had to push the button to lock the door.

7. I was very pleased with SNCF Connect. I know it got off to a rocky start, but I found it to be very user friendly. Very easy to pull up my ticket's QR code. It sent me an update noting a delay on my train schedule. Only 5 minutes which did not impact my travel.
My trip involved 5 train stations and a metro run from Gare du Nord to Gare de Lyon. Everything came off like clockwork.
I returned home to rain and the cool weather, and somehow, I was happy to have it.

Posted by
7269 posts

You must mean June 16. And what beach did you go to or is it a hidden gem unspoiled except for an American talking loudly

Posted by
8512 posts

Love your report Kate. You were quite the trooper traveling into the heat away from the Dutch skies.

Posted by
8877 posts

Nice report, Kate. I’m glad you survived the heat and got to spend a week in your happy place. Don’t give away where you were or it will be overrun by Ricknics… ;-)

Posted by
216 posts

I can't believe your apartment did not have a corkscrew. We stayed in multiple apartments over our recent 7.5 week trip. Upon each new arrival, my husband would say "I wonder if there is a corkscrew" as he started digging around the kitchen. I told him "of course there is a corkscrew; we're in France!"

I was right...

Posted by
494 posts

There was a corkscrew, but it was pretty pathetic. Cheapest of the cheap.
And what if you were staying in a hotel?

Posted by
7705 posts

I'd say, don't stare, but I did. That's what sunglasses are for.


Thank you for this insightful and FUN report.

Posted by
372 posts

Rule n⁰1: Never travel to France without a corkscrew. Any violation of this rule may lead you to drink soda or any other drink dangerous to your health

Rule n⁰2: Choose a quality corkscrew (sommelier's corkscrew, or a "limonadier" Any violation of this rule may lead you to the hospital with a low-end corkscrew stuck in your hand

Rule n⁰3: Never buy French wine with a screw cap, these are liquids closer to vinegar than wine

Rule n⁰4: Beware of bottles of wine with a flat bottom

Any violation of rules 3 or 4 can cause you severe headaches

Posted by
216 posts

If you are in a hotel and need a corkscrew, you take your bottle to the bar or restaurant and ask them to open it or borrow a corkscrew. We’ve done this many times. We stayed in hotels a time or two with no bar or restaurant on site and thus bought a corkscrew; we don’t check luggage so we can’t fly with our own.

I travel with extra ziploc bags. My husband has taken one to a nearby bar and asked for ice “for his wife’s migraine.” The white lie request is generally honored. I have to have chilled soda the way others have to have their coffee. And we’ve chilled wine in that manner as well.

Posted by
9929 posts

What a fun vacation…well except extending your French vocabulary to include canicule!!

I agree with 6. The only time I’ve used one was at the train station in Chartres and I made friend Darcy wait outside in case I got locked in and needed rescuing, lol!

Thanks for your insightful …. and FUN… trip report!!