Plan A was to ride from Montpellier to Cassis and spend the night, then Cassis to Nice along the coast and spend the night, then on to Italy. As it happened, it pissed down all day in Nice so we abandoned the idea of getting soaked and staying wettish all day, in favour of a much-needed day of relaxation chez his (absent) mate in Villeneuve-Loubet. So Plan B it was.
It's a long way to Nice from Montpellier. On the autoroute it takes four and a half hours. By the road it takes all day which is why we split it up into two. We took the dearest little ferry across the Rhone at Barcarin near Port Saint Louis, which has been in operation since long before WWII. On the other side we should have turned left, but turned right by mistake, which took us to a dead end at the sea 7 km later and a huge packed-sand car-park where a sand-yacht was being hurtled along in the strong wind. There were only a couple of cars of visitors braving the wild woolliness of the weather, one of which was having fun doing hand-brake turns.
|Port Louis car-park|
Crossing Marseille was fun. They've instigated a one-way system along the Vieux Port so you can't drive along it going west to east which means going round the houses, getting lost and almost losing one's temper as one tries to get back to the corniche and the Prado. The last time we were there was when we took the ferry to Corsica/Sardinia and back. Happy days.
Having negotiated our way out of Marseille successfully, we managed to find the route de la Ginèste, which is the lovely scenic road between Marseille and Cassis. It goes over the cliffs and is a much more exciting ride than the normal road. It's also the scene of an annual run apparently too. Bet that's knackering!
Cassis was disappointing. It was as cute as ever, but our hotel was over-priced especially out of season, and the best restaurant on Trip Advisor that we found was just average. The red Château Minuty that we had because it was a tad chilly was nothing like as good as the rosé which is excellent.
The route des Crètes, however, from Cassis to La Ciotat was anything but average.
Fantastic road, glorious views of the coast, cliffs and blue sea, glimpses of coves and calanques, and the dramatic Cap Canaille.
|Winding road and a glimpse of the sea along the route des Crètes|
|Winding road along the route des Crètes|
It was only as we reached the Cote d'Azur at Bormes les Mimosas that the road became enjoyable again what with the flowering mimosas on either side followed by the craggy red Esterel mountains.