July 23, 2014

Port-Cros Island

Port-Cros Island, a tiny island that makes up a cluster of island called Îles d'Hyères.

I took a one-hour a ferry from Le Lavandou, about 15 minutes from where I was staying.

The ferry conductor was a jolly man who told colorful tales of the area.

Such as: former French first lady Carla Bruni lives in this area. The owner of this house had a funicular built so he could get to the beach easily.

During WWII, an elite American and Canadian commando unit fought against 150 German soldiers. Port-Cros became a national park in 1963.

Fort du Moulin, a military fort built in the 16th century. The island has a handful of forts, but this one is the most visible.

There are a smattering of shops, restaurants, and hotels around the pier.

Le fort de l'Estissac, which is higher up the mountain that Fort du Moulin. It was built around 1640.

There was a detailed permanent exhibit on the local ecosystem and history.

Up the stairs to the tower.

The tower boasts an amazing 360-degree view of the island and is highly recommended, especially since it seems few people bother to climb up.

July 21, 2014

A Quick Stop in Cannes

As a lifelong lover of cinema, and as someone who works in the film industry, being able to pass through Cannes on the way to pick up a friend in Nice held a special meaning. (Though I missed the film festival by a couple of weeks.)

We went around 8 in the evening, when the sun was just starting to set.

On the way, we passed by a water park for children, with its weird Shrek head.

I also found it odd that an apple core was considered something enticing to children.

There was a colorful fellow who spent a good portion of the time the cars were caught up in traffic sitting on the window of the car.

Qatari license plate.

I thought this was a gas station shop, but it turned out to be a giant vending machine.

There was a fire on one of the main streets leading to the famed Crosiette.

A couple enjoying the view.

Drum players.

Without the film festival, Cannes is simply a beach town where the French like to vacation.

A nun and a bum.

The famed Palais des Festivals et des Congrès, with its iconic red-carpeted staircase was on display for tourists, but I was surprised by how Cannes itself has the feel of a town that loves cinema. Case in point: the huge mural of Buster Keaton that you see as you exit the town.

Hike through Gaou Benat

Gaou Benat, in southeast France.

You wouldn't know from this photo, but the area is dotted with people's second homes. The houses are positioned in such a way that even a house 100 meters away is hardly ever visible.

If you trek through the hills, you can make your way to a popular beach. There is a vineyard close by.

Even someone taking a fairly arduous walk to the beach is impeccably attired, like this lady.

A beautiful but mostly abandoned church.

There are a handful of restaurants by the beach -- perfect for a meal break after a swim.

The area even houses the President's former summer quarters, but the location was changed last year after it was determined that it lacked security.

Considering how easily we were able to reach it, I would have to agree.

Little shrimp in the water.

Anemones, all closed up.

We foolishly tried to get back to the house via the rocks. It ended up taking five hours and was probably the most physically exhausting thing I've done in my life.

Sea urchin and seaweed.

Dried up starfish.

Military boat in the distance.