Monthly Archives: August 2017

A Light Coastal Train Trip

Sunset light sets everything aglow; Saint Tropez, France

  • This brief journey was inspired by Nathan’s frequent watching of train videos on Youtube.  He is autistic and does not speak, but communicates uniquely in his own way. Indeed, every summer the family makes a holiday trip by train and this time, through circumstances, it had not happened yet. The journey started on a Sunday afternoon and ended the next day late evening.

On time to enjoy the sunset from the docking area of Saint Tropez

  • By comfortable train to Saint Raphael and from there by an as comfortable bus to famous Saint Tropez, as the resort town is protected and not connected to the train system. It was the right decision as Nathan was obviously happy with it all. However, the bus ride took much longer than scheduled and we arrived too late to explore Saint Tropez. We had dinner there on the sunsetting coast and then returned to Saint Raphael to overnight in a hotel, also on the coast.

The shady side of Cannes

  • The next morning we took the train to nearby Cannes for lunch and to view the Vieux Port area where also the annual Palme d’Or Cannes Film Festival is held. The beauty of Cannes is in its rich architecture and its lush location on the Mediterranean coast, which makes it a haven for sailing and yachting lovers. But that goes for about every place along the Côte d’Azur.

Palme d’Or on a street fence in Cannes

The older part of Cannes

There are plenty of hotels in Cannes with a view on the Riviera

  • Another train trip in the afternoon took us to nearby Antibes, a peninsula type of town that is the second oldest on the Côte d’Azur after Marseille. We went to the conspicuous Fort Carré, that dates back to the 16th century, as the walk way around it gives an amazing view on the French Riviera from which you cannot only see the city of Nice but also the French Alps behind it.

Tranquil waters at the docking site of Antibes, along Fort Carré

Nathan seated at the foot of Fort Carré, deeply enjoying this sunny trip

  • The sunny climate of the French Riviera is complemented by the cool breeze coming from the high mountain range of the Alps, where one can ski even during the summer. Also in Marseille, this cooling breeze is mostly part of the daily weather, a striking combination of warm and cool. In winter, when the wind is really cold and strong it goes by the name ‘The Mistral.’

A luxury yacht built by the Dutch company Feadship, with the Alps in the background; Antibes

  • We have decided that a second trip should be made to Saint Tropez as well as Antibes, since both towns have much to offer in natural beauty and culture. And a bit of the excessive side of culture, like the towering luxury yachts that can be seen all along the coast line, especially in Antibes where they are also built.
  • And, there are people who want to get a glimpse of retired actress Brigitte Bardot who lived normally on the coast of Saint Tropez but lives now higher up on the hills to escape this nosiness. I would rather see the natural beauty that attracted BB to settle here, and which was/is the reason for many artists in the past and present to choose Saint Tropez as their summer retreat.

The Alps enhance the coast line on the side of Nice; French Riviera, Antibes