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Sanary has an interesting literary history. Aldous Huxley, Cyril Connolly and Sybille Bedford all lived there. Sybille Bedford wrote a touching account of her childhood there in Jigsaw. Then the German Jewish writers notably Berthold Brecht fled there in the thirties.

Nowadays it attracts more the richer citizens of Marseilles for their weekend outings.

As with last year I stayed in la Farandole, a beautifully positioned hotel on a promontory between Sanary and Bandol.

It has outstanding views over the bay marred this time by grey stormy weather.

It more or less rained the whole time.

We had lunch at The Hotel de la  Tour.

Again I remember it well from last year and their trademark dish of fish baked in salt.

This time it was sea bass.

The manageress produced the fish cold and after it was baked, it was served at table with the waiter first removing what must have 2 kgs of salt then filleting the fish.

It was quite delicious washed down with a bottle of the best local white wine Pibarnon.

The other courses were not quite as memorable but we agreed we did not order well. There was quite a gap between the end of lunch and our train at 6.24 pm but the ever-helpful Regine invited us to her home to fill it. Finally the rain ceased, we walked to the beach and Jamie did his impersonation of Barnes Wallis trying to skid stones through the waves.

The journey back was pleasantly uneventful this time except for a deranged woman in the cafe at Toulon station who kept her umbrella over head and shrieked. This scared Jamie but his mother preached tolerance.

We certainly enjoyed our stay tarnished as it was by unseasonably bad weather. This part of the coastline is not strictly the Riviera as it is normally regarded as stopping at St Tropez.

It is a pleasant contrast to where we stay in Nice and it’s environs. It is more Provençal and less glitzy but has its own charm and character. This is the enduring quality of the South of France; every little port has a personality of its own  and if you go into the mountains that is very picturesque too.


About Robert Tickler

A man of financial substance, Robert has a wide range of interests and opinions to match. More Posts