Coming from Spain, France’s idea of having fun at the beach is noticeably different. More planning, lots of ‘animations’, hurray-hurray ‘we’re having so much fun’ type activities and lots of ClubMed-style places everywhere. The French seem much more focused on having activities going on than just relaxing. I might have just stumbled across a stretch of the coast that has a concentration of such places.

I’m leaving a day earlier as my family – I have arranged to meet with a work colleague of mine that lives in southern France close to Nice and couch-surf at his place for a night, before heading home. My family will spend the day horseback riding along the beaches and salt flats.

As usual, I get up bright and early to get some distance done before the great heat begins.

Another early day start
Another early day start

My trip starts by navigating out of the large carpark of our gated community.

The start of another day TWIKEing - bye bye family
The start of another day TWIKEing – bye bye family

Then, I get treated to another of nature’s spectacles – sunrise over the Camargue’s salt flats.

The salt flats of the Camargue
The salt flats of the Camargue
Camargue salt flats
Camargue salt flats
Sunrise over the Camargue
Sunrise over the Camargue
Early morning Aigues-Mortes
Early morning Aigues-Mortes
Small French villages
Small French villages

Breakfast is something I was really looking forward to. I was visualizing a small bakery in a small village where I would be getting the buttery croissants I love and a milky café au lait … which is exactly what I got! Yum. (Add in the pain au chocolat you can see on the picture below and you’ll know I had the butter/carbs punch I needed for the day)

Buttery croissants with café au lait
Buttery croissants with café au lait

From there, the road took me across southern France, crossing more small villages and rural landscapes devoid of people.

Hmm. hills ahead
Hmm. hills ahead

The last hills before the sea felt quite alpine – lots of hairpin bends and tight roads.

The highest climb for today - 400 m ASL
The highest climb for today – 400 m ASL

All along the road there were signs of wildfires – recent and less recent.

Burnt earlier this year
Burnt earlier this year

After recuperating 400m back into the battery, I was ready for some easy coastal TWIKEing. Why not start with St. Tropez?

Heading to the coast
Heading to the coast

And with that, I finally was back to driving from small village to small village along the sea towrads Cannes. I could have gotten out of the TWIKE every 1-2 km and shoot a similar image to the one below. The views were stunning and the coast just magnificent.

Close to Saint-Tropez
Close to Saint-Tropez

Cruise control engaged! Maximum enjoyment: #gogogo

Enjoying the Côte d'Azur
Enjoying the Côte d’Azur

The presence of lots of money can be felt everywhere. The types of cars on the road, quality of infrastructure and the types of restaurants vying for me as a customer.

The joys of TWIKEing along a coast - this view never gets old
The joys of TWIKEing along a coast – this view never gets old

I always like to take the time to park my TWIKE somewhere prominent, take a picture and wait to see what happens. Here… nothing. The TWIKE just sat there and enjoyed the view.

Just outside of Cannes
Just outside of Cannes

In Cannes, the TWIKE attracted quite some attention. I drove along the seafront road with all the high couture shops and hotels I used to stay, such as the Hôtel Barrière Majestic I previously wrote about in 2017.

Cannes
Cannes

All the luxury made me think what good could be done to vast amounts of people in this world if its value were better distributed.

Cannes port
Cannes port

Just 20 km later I arrived at Biot and was welcomed by my work colleague, Yarden, who had already chilled some rosé wine bottles and invited me to cool off by having a dip in the swimming pool!

We then headed out to Biot, a small medieval town perched on a hill which was full of people enjoying life and having a great time enjoying the very agreeable evening temperatures.

Yarden and I had an Apèro on Biot’s main square before driving to the Michelin star holding restaurant nearby he had reserved for us that evening.

Biot village square - 120% Frenchness
Biot village square – 120% Frenchness

Arriving at the restaurant, the valet parking guy was apologetic: Sir, we at Les Terraillers offer you a complementary valet parking service. I am, however, afraid I will not be able to park your vehicle for you – please accept my sincere apologies! …Not a problem at all. (I already had the same kind of apology when attempting to park at Gstaad’s Palace hotel in 2016)

Valet parking for all...except for TW560
Valet parking for all…except for TW560

For us, after parking the TWIKE at the very front of the parking lot, the fun started.

Super dedicated people working to give us the best dining experience possible.

We have some pre-dinner drinks - made at our table
We have some pre-dinner drinks – made at our table

The prices were … how shall I say it … elevated. The food quality, presentation and taste made up for it without any problem.

Enjoying French cuisine
Enjoying French cuisine
I'm a sucker for innovative presentation
I’m a sucker for innovative presentation
A soufflé is always a good way to end a meal
A soufflé is always a good way to end a meal

After 4 courses and as many amuse bouches, we returned to his house to charge the TWIKE and retire…well fed.

This was a great day, yet again.

Tomorrow, I will have to work at least during the morning and will enjoy lunch with Yarden’s parents before leaving northwards – La Cime de la Bonette, the >2800m pass I was unable to cross during TDAF2016 is awaiting…and this year, with freezing points at around 5700m, I will not be facing the danger of the pass being closed due to snow end of June or in my case end of July!

TDE2022 Day 12 stats
TDE2022 Day 12 stats
TDE2022 Day 12 GPS track
TDE2022 Day 12 GPS track
TDE2022 Day 12 elevation profile
TDE2022 Day 12 elevation profile

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