Along the Côte d’Azur – Giens
We were driving eastward along the French Riviera near Hyères, when we made another of our “why not?” decisions. We took a right that led south across a narrow salt flat road to the Giens peninsula.
It turned out to be an excellent decision, as we wound through clustered parasol pines that opened onto the charming Giens village center and the obligatoire church plaza. We wandered along the main village street, where welcoming shops, bakeries, galleries and sidewalk cafes mixed pastel Provencal colors with French blue shutters and doors. Toward the end of the street, we climbed stairs to reach a garden with panoramic views of the Hyeres and the Ile de Porquerolles.
Those views demanded a closer look, so we drove along the Route du Port du Niel, until we rounded a corner to a magnificent sight. Colorful fishing boats bobbed in the crystal waters by a rock pier, and tree-lined cliffs spilled down to the little harbor. We were to learn that people gather each morning to buy the fresh catch from local fishermen. But on this day, we were alone in the sun to gaze out over the sea.
A coastal footpath offered stunning views of little coves and rocky outcroppings, sweet scents and the ever present orchestra of cicadas.
Not every spontaneous turn in the road led to such perfection, but this day, this turn brought us a touch of heaven. Giens is definitely on our ‘short list’ of places to find a vacation rental and absorb the peace of a village far removed from the rush of the city.
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