Published: September 12th 2011April 8th 1995
As we were hoping that 1995 would be our last year in Europe, we decided to make the most of it. We wanted to make one more trip to the French Riviera, which we hadn't been to in several years; a trip to Norway to trace Bob's ancestors; and one final trip to visit Shirley and the cousins in Northern Ireland, at least while we lived in Europe.
8 April 1995 Saturday. We had never taken the kids on a train ride so we took the train from Brussels to Paris where we transferred to the fast TGV. It was a quick ride to Lyon, Marseilles, and Toulon, before we disembarked at Le Lavandou. There we caught a taxi to the Pierre et Vacances resort at Pramousquier. We would be there for a week.
We had previously stayed at a P&V resort at Village Port-Bourgenay on the French Atlantic Coast. We very pleased with their apartments and the other recreational facilities they provided; kind of a CLub Med without the food and expense. P&V resorts provide accommodations and recreation for a very reasonable cost for families as compared to hotels.
9 – 14 April 1995 Sunday through Friday.
We spent the first day just enjoying the beach, although we didn’t go in the water very far as the Mediterranean was still too cold this early in the year.
The next day we took a bus to St Tropez for the day. We walked along the waterfront and bought ice cream cones. We looked at the yachts and fishing boats, and just took in the ambiance. We didn't go to the beach as we had our own, and it would complicate our day if we had to take swimsuits and all the other paraphenalia that a day at the beach entails. We had dinner along the waterfront before taking the bus back to our resort.
The third day we rented a car and drove to Antibes to walk around town and go to the Picasso Museum in the fort. I have written about Antibes before, as Linda and I took many long weekend trips there while we lived in Germany. It is one of my favorite towns as there are more real people there going about their daily lives that doesn't involve tourists, the town itself is old and quaint, with narrow cobblestone street with balconies with
Our apartment at Paramousquiere
just behind Rosanna and Tamara on the first floor
flowers, and with a castle, and sandy beaches; the setting is perfect.
Then it was on to the hilltop artist town of St Paul de Vence for lunch and gallery hopping. Everytime Linda and I went to Antibes we would include St Paul de Vence in our plans. Although it is also old and quaint, it is packed with tourists, so we didn't spend much time there.
We continued on to Grasse to tour the Fragonard perfume factory. We saw every step of the process, but didn't try to invent our own combination of fragrances to create our own perfume.
Before returning the rental car, we stopped at a grocery store to stock up for the rest of the week, as there wasn't an on site grocery store...other P&V's have them on site.
On the other days we just used the resort facilities. The kids made friends with all the other children at the resort
That's one good thing about not having our car along; it forced us to slow down. However, there are times when we really needed ground transportation. One day Tamara developed a fever so I walked several kilometers to the closest
drug store for medicine. It would have been nice to have a car for more than one day, but taking the train saved us two days travel time.
I did come home with one permanent souvenier. I didn’t shave the whole week, and Linda didn’t want me to shave the stubble off when I returned home. I have had a short beard ever since as a reminder of this time on the French Riviera!
15 -16 April 1995 Saturday and Sunday. We took the train to Avignon for an overnight stop. We visited the Pope’s Palace and danced on the Pont St Benezet while singing the children’s song “Sur le pont D”Avignon, l’on y danse, l’on y danse.” Sunday we returned home to Overijse.
There are more photos below