Tuesday, March 30, 2010

au natural

mimosas, one of my favorites, were in bloom all over the south!

so i've been trying to decide how to blog about france, the day by day is on the other blog, so i just want to highlight things that i observed, enjoyed, etc. so i think i'll do it by themes. todays theme: nature.
i've realized in my travels that pretty consistently from tropical to tundra i gravitate towards nature, wild places, open expanses, growing things, clouds, etc. i suppose this should come as no surprise, but it is interesting that while history, art, cities, food, etc. all have a dear spot in my heart, nature takes the grand prize. and this trip was no exception. france is abundant in natural beauty, and nature that has been cultivated for a LONG time. i loved getting to drive all over provence through endless vineyards and olive groves, seeing the long standing relationship between man and nature.but my two favorite places were les calanques and chasteiul.
les calanques are a series of inlets and cliffs along the cote d'azure from marsailles heading east. the cliffs and rocks are primarily white, dotted with the perfect amount of trees and shrubs, and make a stunning contrast to that gorgeous mediterranean. ahhh the mediterranean. i can never get over the incredible deep blue it is with green tones at the edge. it makes sense they had to name it mediterranean blue because there is nothing else to compare it to. we went hiking along some of les calanques near st-cyr, and then drove along la rue des cretes (the road of the cliffs) just east of cassis. i couldn't get enough of it and know i will have to come back to spend weeks just hiking along them (there is a trail that runs all along the southern coast of france . . . any takers?)
then chasteuil and les gorges du verdon (the grand canyon of france) where my sister is living. she's been telling me about chasteiul for so long it was so wonderful to finally see it. i was expecting quite honestly to be underwhelmed because the photos i've seen of it just do not do it any justice. i was totally won over. the gorge is dramatic and stunning and towering white cliffs dropping into a narrow gorge with a turquoise river at the bottom. driving along it was breathtaking (and super dangerous). and then chasteiul nestled in the maritime alps is so lovely and rugged. it really is the sanpete county of france. again, this is a place i will revisit and spend more time. i just want to hike all over france. i have been bitten by the bug. p.s. if you want to see the full collection of france photos just go to my facebook page, i'm too lazy to post more.

1 comment:

Chas Hathaway said...

Cool! I have some seedling mimosas in my office. Two kinds, actually - silk tree and mimosa pudica, which closes its leaflets when you touch it (kind of quickly, like a venus fly trap).

I didn't know they had them in France.