Wednesday, April 19

Easter in Provence

GrenobleWe spent the Easter weekend in Provence - our first visit to the region in the lovely south of France. On the way down there, we stopped for the night in Grenoble (pictured left), which is about 1.5 hours drive from Geneva.

Les Gorges du VerdonOn Good Friday we drove down through the French countryside to our destination: Entrecasteaux, a small village in the department of Var (see map).

On the way, we visited the Gorges du Verdon, Europe's answer to the Grand Canyon. It was very picturesque, but hard to find a carpark to stop and look properly.

Once in Provence, we stayed at the gorgeous Maison Marianel in Entrecasteaux . Our hosts were a lovely Danish couple, who bought their house 2.5 years ago and have done an beautiful job of renovating it. We were in one of their three fully self-contained apartments. It had plenty of space and a lovely terrace overlooking vineyards.

Maison MarianelView from our terrace

On Saturday we gladly took the advice of our host Leif (pronounced 'Life') and set off on a lovely 40km bike ride from Entrecasteaux, to Contignac, Sillans la Cascade, Salernes and back to Entrecasteaux. It was all uphill until lunchtime, then all downhill back home. Perfect after pizza et une petite carafe de vin rouge! Before lunch we visited the waterfall at Sillans la Cascade.
La Cascade
On Sunday, we drove 60km to Saint Raphael on the Cote d'Azur. Despite the beautiful weather (about 25 degrees), we found it difficult to enjoy the cycling along the busy, narrow road. After about 18 kms, we decided to stop at a very nice restaurant overlooking the sea. Lunch was great, but the coast was so packed with cars and people. I'd hate to see it in summer!

Overall it was a great weekend and way too short! We could have easily spent a week or two there. See the rest of our photos on Flickr.

Sunday, April 9

Spring has sprung

NyonIt's now a rainy Sunday evening following a glorious sunny Saturday. This combination of rain and sun makes for beautiful spring gardens. The daffodils are out and the tulips are just about to flower. It won't be long before Geneva will look like this again.

Over the weekend, Peter and I spent some time with Bryan and Gail Fitzpatrick, former ABS colleagues who are now living and working in Wales. Peter and Gail at a cafe in VeveyBryan was in Geneva for the ECE meeting I was co-organising. After a busy week of work, it was great to get out into the sunshine for a drive around the lake. We took them to some of the usual nearby tourist spots - Nyon, Vevey, Montreux, Chillon castle and Gruyeres. There was still some snow around 1400 metres, but much of it has melted away. It was a lovely day of market browsing and site seeing, which concluded with traditional fondue and raclettes at a restaurant in Gruyeres. A very Swiss outing!

MontreuxNext weekend Peter and I are off to Provence in the south of France for some cycling, relaxing and great food and wine. This will be the first time either of us has been to this region. We'll drive down on Thursday afternoon, our destination being Entrecasteaux in the department of Var, where we'll stay Friday-Monday.

Happy Easter everyone!