A Whistle-stop Tour of the French Riviera

St TropezThis post follows on from the previous post about Grenoble. From Grenoble we hired a car and spent a weekend down in Provence. The purpose of the trip was to see an old friend who I hadn’t seen since 2000, when she moved back to her native France. She now lives in a picture perfect little town, Collobrieres, tucked away in the forest above the Cote D’Azure.

Collobrieres, Provence

Collobrieres was really pretty, completely surrounded by forest, there was something rather fairytale about the place. The pastel coloured buildings were very attractive, with their contrasting painted wooden shutters. There were a few market stalls in the delightful town square selling local cheeses, fruit and veg, flowers and shoes. We bought some delicious goats cheese to take back to Grenoble.

My friend, very kindly, took us on a fantastic whistle-stop tour of the famed French Riviera over the weekend. We visited St Tropez, Port Grimaud and Cannes on the first day, then Toulon, Cassis and Marseille on the second.

St Tropez town

St Tropez, with its peaches and cream buildings, was very lovely. It was easy to imagine it bustling with affluent tourists over the summer months. In late November it was quiet, just the tinkling of the boat rigging. There was big busy market at the back of town however serving the locals and the odd out of season visitor.

Port GrimaudPort Grimaud was like a charming, prosperous village on water with boats instead of cars and water in place of roads.


We arrived in Cannes and found a bar to enjoy a couple of goblets of Leffe beer. A wander along the delightfully civilised waterfront, taking in the sights, took us into the evening. Darkness fell over the Mediterranean and the casino lights lit up the night.


The following morning our tour began in Toulon. We drove up to the viewpoint on Mont Faron giving us excellent views over the city and the bay.

Cassis, FranceNext stop was Cassis, a gorgeous little town in a small cove just along the coast from Toulon. We found a harbour side restaurant, sat in the sunshine and had some lunch. I had a delicious galette {buckwheat crepe} filled with cheese and provencal herbs. Blissfully eating, we watched the tourists strolling past. This place was smart and stylish, a sign on the path leading from the beach banned swimming togs and beachwear in town. Hoorah, no dodgy beer bellies here!

Cassis, France

We finished the day in Marseille, fascinated by the goods on sale at the christmas market. There were many stalls selling tiny ceramic figurines, Santons. These festive nativity figures are particular to southern France and show characters and animals from Provencal life.

Santon ware


The Notre Dame de la Guard, up on the hill above the city, glinted in the late afternoon sun as we meandered around the old port to end our day.

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  1. Love the photos of all those marinas and sailboats. Any photo with water in it is a good photo in my opinion. I went to Monte Carlo years ago and was amazed at all the luxury yachts in the harbor there. Looking forward to your next post!