Monday, 11 January 2016

The French Connection: Holidaying on the Côte D'Azur

This month is the busiest time of year for holiday bookings and although, with baby no.2 due at the start of summer, ours is likely to be a staycation, I thought I would share last year's fab vacation for those of you in need of inspiration.
It was a bumper summer for my in-laws so we decided to mark all of the milestone birthdays and anniversaries with a holiday on the south coast of France and it was suitably awesome!

The hubs, bubs and I began our trip a little early with a few days in Marseille where we stayed at the fantastic Hotel Dieu, an 18th century registered national monument of palatial proportions. Among other reasons, we chose it for it's proximity to Vieux-Port, facilities, amazing views (see above) and accessibility to the airport and our next stop, Bandol.

I'd really underestimated Marseille. As well as boasting everything you need for Mediterranean city break, the architecture is just what you'd wish for and the city (France's second largest) has its own Notre-Dame de la Garde and Cathedral, with the former boasting stunning views over the city.

After, what had turned out to be, too brief a stay we headed along the coast to our villa. On the outskirts of Bandol and perching high atop the hillside sits Les Bories. It's an architect designed villa and it shows. We were 8, in total, and there was plenty of room for us to have our own space, enjoy relaxing meals together in and outside and, crucially, no jostling for room around the stunning infinity pool whether we wanted sun or shade!

My brother-in-law booked the villa through Airbnb and, being someone's home (the owner's husband is the architect who designed it), meant that it had a really lovely feel to it, plus she was on hand when we arrived to give us some tips and hints about the area and had been really patient with the various questions/baby-related requests we'd had running up to the holiday.

Having a little one, our mornings started somewhat earlier than the rest but it was idyllic sitting on the terrace watching the sunrise over the Med, tucking into a fresh croissant or taking an early morning dip in the 26 metre pool before the sun's rays really heated things up.

While, in the evenings we sipped our sundowners with the beautiful sunset backdrop before enjoying a bbq dinner or heading in to Bandol for the evening. Bandol itself is really touristy, but if you head back a few streets you'll find some lovely French restaurants tucked down side streets serving delicious French fare and some of the region's amazing rosé wine.

I didn't manage to get any pictures of the inside of the villa before we'd all dumped our luggage everywhere (oops!), but it was just as stunning, with cool polished concrete and wood floors, an amazing entertaining space which we made use of when the evenings cooled or as an air-conditioned retreat from the hot sun, separate cinema room and the most spectacular master suite which we happily insisted my parent-in-laws took as all the other rooms were also fab with spa-like bathrooms!

After a week of bliss, we went our separate ways, with the hubs, bubs and I managing to squeeze in a trip to Cassis. It's a popular seaside town, apparently popular with Parisans, but one which has retained a real Provencal charm and one we wish we'd had more time to explore.
I hope today's post has given you some inspiration or, at least, whet your appetite for wherever you're planning on spending your summer holidays. Happy planning!

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