Monthly Archives: November 2016

Sunlit Scapes


A lone sailing boat faces the massive Calanque de Sugiton 

To get some fresh air after the day the results of the US presidential election were definite, I went for a walk in the Calanques de Marseille. Just being there is a mind and eye opener and it opens your heart as well, the beauty just overwhelms you, especially during sunset.

At the belvédère viewpoint, one understands why it has been assigned as the best point of view. The majestic mountain range of the Calanques overlooks the deep blue waters of the Mediterranean sea while showing the diversity of cliffs and fjords, left and right. 

"Dragon Island" as the sun goes down

“Dragon Island” as the sun goes down

Sunlit Path. Pink colored clouds pass over a partial sunlit track

Sunlit Path – pink colored clouds pass over the landscape

Turning around and starting my way back, low-hanging pink colored clouds passed slowly over the landscape. It was getting darker but also more intriguing. On the seaside, the sky changed into warm yellow and deep red colors, contrasted by the now blackish landscape. I still could find the right path back by the time it was fully dark. 

Red Cloud Mountain

Red Cloud Mountain

Cassis the Adorable

Captivating Cap Canaille overlooks the village of Cassis

Captivating Cap Canaille overlooks the town of Cassis

Cassis, not more than twenty kilometres east from Marseille, has been compared to Paris by 19th century French poet Frédérick Mistral, who said ‘Anyone who has seen Paris, but hasn’t seen Cassis, hasn’t seen anything’. My thoughts exactly, when I visited the place for the first time, and every time I do again. Such is the attractiveness of the little town. The reasons are evident for any nature and culture lover. Cassis is situated between the limestone mountains of the Calanques and the most impressive Cap Canaille, a 394 meters tall cliff that is also the highest sea cliff of France. In between these two giant beauties lies a most picturesque landscape of vineyards with the 13th century Chateau de Cassis situated on a hill.

Château de Cassis overlooks the centre of Cassis

Château de Cassis on top of a hill with the centre of Cassis below

Of course, Cassis must have been different in the 19th century yet today the town is still as picture perfect as one can have it. Lovely streets and alleys with soft colored houses lead to the main centre of the town, the old fisherman’s harbor, which borders on a pristine beach area. From any corner one can see the Calanques, Cap Canaille and the vineyard-covered hills complemented with marvellously tall cypress and pine trees. 

Lovely alleys that give a view on the natural setting of Cassis

Most alleys give a view on the natural setting of Cassis, and someone looking at the Cassis housing market

Cassis harbor is the centre of the town

Romantic Cassis harbor is the centre of the town

Almost a secret corner, the Plage Arène with its rough rock beach is located at the base of Cap Canaille and densely lined with pine trees making it a tranquil spot.

Aréne beach is pretty and exclusive

Aréne beach is pretty and quiet

Uphill, there are exclusive private sites where grapes are grown for the well-known white and rosé wines of Cassis, and the higher one goes the more charming the views of Cassis become. 

Private vineyards can be found all over the landscape of Cassis

Private vineyards can be found all over the landscape of Cassis

Downhill and uphill, Cassis invites for healthy hiking

Uphill and downhill, Cassis invites for healthy hiking

Over the centuries, the beauty of Cassis has appealed especially to painters and writers, and today it is not much different as Cassis remains adorable. Naturally.

Wild Colors

Autumn foliage in Cassis, south France

Autumn foliage in Cassis, south France

It is autumn here in Europe and nature showing its warm palette of colors. I am often inspired by plants, tall or small, and in any season for that matter. In south of France there is quite some flora I know from my time in sunny southeast Asia. One of them is the Heliconia with its bright red flowering bracts while its tall leaves and water-rich stems are as colorful and attractive.

Heliconia leaves show their lines and colours

Heliconia leaves show their colors

The stems of the Heliconia leaves can be as red as its flowers

The stems of the Heliconia leaves can be as red as its flowering bracts

Another of my favorite exotic plants is the succulent Agave americana, it stands out in its bold design as well as in its subtle patterns. The colors of the leaves can flow between light shades of blue to green, and the imprints of leaf on leaf look as if all the leaves were of one piece before unfolding into individual parts.

Subtle leave imprints on each leave make for a unique design

Subtle leaf imprints show on each leaf after the Agave opens up

The colours of an Agave flow from subtle shades of green to blue

The colors of an Agave flow from light shades of green to blue