May 18, 2014
When we arrived in Aix-en-Provence the owner of the apartment gave us some advice and suggested that we go to Cassis to get out of town. The reason being most things are shut on Sundays (as you may have gathered if you have been following our travels) and that there would be a major triathlon event taking place around the center of Aix.
We decided therefore to drive down to the Mediterranean village of Cassis. Unfortunately we were unable to get out of town because everything had been blocked off due to the triathlon! Eventually we got out and started on the journey to Cassis. It was supposed to take about forty minutes 'down the motorway' but once on the motorway it's almost impossible to get off to go in any other direction. We were heading north and needed to head south. After two and a half hours we arrived at Cassis and started to look for a parking spot. Because there was triathlon in Aix most people seem to have driven down to Cassis. We drove round Cassis about five times and eventually stopped a few hundred meters from the center and waited in a car park for someone to go. Well, we eventually got to the center of Cassis in just enough time for lunch overlooking the harbour before heading back to Aix. All we could see were wall to wall people walking between us at the restaurant and the harbour.
Cassis was certainly a very pretty fishing harbour and is a haven for the rich inhabitants of Marseilles which is not far along the coast. They have some wonderful houses overlooking the harbour above the town. It's one of the Mediterranean coastal resorts similar to St Tropez and others on the Cote d"Azur.
On the way back we took the motorway that got us to Aix (in forty minutes) and we had the most magnificent view of Montagne Sainte-Victoire. Unfortunately we were not able to stop on the motorway to get a picture of the southern rock face which is spectacular. It has been the subject of Cezanne paintings since he was able to see the rock face from his home in Aix-en-Provence. When we finally got to Aix it was still blocked off as a result of the triathlon! We went round and round Aix waiting for the gendarmes to unblock the entrances to the city so that we could eventually get back to our apartment.
What a day!
Postscript - A few days after we arrived back in Mazamet I was collecting the mail and found a letter from the French Police with my second French speeding fine. On both occasions I had been traveling less than five kilometers per hour over the speed limit. Another €90 down the drain.