Île Sainte-Marguerite

Trip Start Jun 01, 2010
Trip End Mar 11, 2011

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Where I stayed
Casa Linton

Flag of France  , Provence,
Thursday, August 26, 2010

'L'Homme au Masque de Fer', or in English, 'The man in the iron mask'. No one knows who he was and why he was held prisoner. It took him 11 years to leave the tiny forested island of 'Ile Sainte-Marguerite'. But we will only stay for an afternoon. We spend the morning in the apartment. I have to work a bit, Linda is researching some Italy stays as we still have not booked anything. But by the end of the morning we secured a nice hotel in Florence on Booking.com.

We pack the backpacks with snorkel gear and head out to the ferry stop. The parking garage at the ferry was 'complet' as the sign claimed. But there were plenty of cars leaving it as we waited before the gate. Only when Jojo got out of the car and asked the guy in the office what was going on, he opened the gate so that we could park. It might just have been that Norman has the wrong license plate for this country as he drives a UK registered car in France. All worked out fine as we were in time for the ferry that took us across to the island. It takes only 15 minutes but it is a lovely ride, passing the mega yachts on the way. Arrived at the island we first headed out for some food as we were all pretty hungry. We chose a restaurant that Norman remembered as a being a nice place. We had to walk around the fortress and down to the beach on the other side. It was indeed a nice place, only the prices had changed a bit since Norman's last visit. They dared to charge 90 Euro for a bouillabaisse and 75 Euro for a lobster pasta. It was clear that this place was catering for the yacht people. We were just too hungry to let it be and walk up the hill again to find some other eatery. And we did have a nice seat on the sand, close to the water. So we decided to order some appetizers. It turned out that these appetizers were a complete meal by itself.

Refueled we climbed the stairs up to the fortress where we visited the Museum de la Mer. Here we found the cell of the Iron Mask Man. We also found the collection of shipwrecks with Roman (first century BC) and Saracen (10th century AD) ceramics. On the way out we saw a group of people doing zip lining and rappelling from the fortress walls. We tried to see if we could get a ride, but unfortunately it was a private group, so we could not zip off the walls. We then walked down to the dragons point which is a breach on the south side of the island where the water is clearest. It was not really a 'beach', but more a rocky shore. But we had our minds set on doing some snorkeling, so we changed into swimming trunks and balanced over the rocks into the water. We did not have that much time as the last boat to shore leaves at seven, so we snorkeled for a short bit. We did see some little fishes, mostly breams. We were just in time to head back on the last ferry, leaving the island behind us in the golden light of the afternoon sun.

Before dinner we headed back to the apartment to freshen up and get the salt out of our hair. For dinner the lovely couple brought us to 'restaurant alley' or better, Rue Saint Antoine. A tiny little road climbing up the hill, filled with nice and charming restaurants. We picked a place called 'Le Mesclun'. The food here was up there with the place we went to yesterday, very very nice.

The south of France can be nice if you visit the right places. In our experience, avoid Marseilles like the plague that it is. Instead, when you get down south, head east for the towns of Cannes, Antibes and of course Nice. They all sound like overly expensive places, but in reality it is not that expensive, and so much better. Of course you will bump into an unfriendly French nationalist once in a while, but just keep on smiling, and think.. 'they are trying their best...'.

Tomorrow we will leave for Italia, lets see what is out there..
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Sarah on

You have to think that EVERYONE is " trying their best! " Doesn't matter where you are!

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