Sunday, 26 October 2008

18th October - Collobrieres / Beaulieu sur Mer

Saturday and our last day in Collobrieres. It's been a great week and we managed to cram in a lot of sightseeing. But for today it was a chance to take some pictures of the village itself and the apartment as a reminder of our stay.

Just a bit of geography before I begin, Collobrieres is a village approximately 1 and a half hours drive south-west of Nice. It's in the heart of rural Provence albeit in the mountains of Les Maures. Nearest major town is Toulouse on the south coast. On reflection we would have preferred to have been a bit closer to Nice but with a bit of organising and pre-planning we managed to use Collobrieres as our base and have day trips to the more popular areas of Nice, Monaco, Cannes etc. Looking back the effort for staying outwith the main area of Nice was rewarded by having the ability to sample and enjoy local, rural France. We were lucky to have found a village as friendly and welcoming as Collobrieres. If we had wanted to we could have found everything we wanted in the village - great local produce, fabulous eateries and restaurants, Post Office and some gift shops.

The village is centred round a main street with many narrow, tall side streets off it. This is typical of the streets around the apartments. Many buildings I think it fair to say would benefit from a little upgrading but in some parts of the village buildings have been renovated and are of a high standard.

The apartment itself was advertised as a one bedroom apartment above an artists studio. Inside it was very clean and comfortable and furnished with very traditional French furniture. The kitchen was spacious with room to eat in it and a lovely painted mural on the wall above the cooking area.

As is typical of a lot of small French properties the bathroom is off the kitchen!!! A bit unusual from what we are used to in the UK but hey it worked fine. Just so long as you remembered to shut the door before you did your business.

The living and dining area was semi open plan. Judging by the archways it looks like it may have been two separate rooms in the past.

One of the key features of the apartment was the tall windows with shutters leading out onto shallow balconies. It overlooked the main street of Collobrieres. That I thought was a lovely feature of the apartment, very French. It was lovely to open up the windows and shutters in the morning a let the light and sounds stream in. You can see the windows and shutters in the middle picture above.

The one bedroom was a fair size and the built in wardrobes were spacious and partly shelved. However unlike our traditional sliding doors they had ceiling to floor drapes which you pulled apart using long wooden rods. Strange but I assume typical of these types of apartments.

We also had a long window and shutters in our bedroom.

The first impression of the apartment is a bit daunting to say the least. The apartment is on the second floor and you get to it by climbing up a large spiral, terracotta tiles stairway. A bit tricky with luggage!!! And certainly not worth attempting after a night out on the town!!!

This is a view of the apartment from the front. It's the second floor and spans 3 of the windows. There is considerable privacy afforded by the large chestnut tree in front. The art gallery/studio is on the ground floor.

Another view of the main street in Collobrieres.

Having packed up the car with our luggage we were set for our last trip to Nice, to the airport to begin our journey home to Scotland. We stopped off for lunch on way taking in some nice little towns of Villefranche, Cap de Ferrat and Beaulieu sur Mer. We stopped off at the last place for lunch, in a little bay area. It was quite an unexpected find.

Looking up from the bay were large expensive looking villas built precariously close to the cliff edge.

But the gem of a place was a delightful white painted house close to the beach area itself. One of my favourites from our entire trip. You can see it centre right of the picture below, just above the beach.

and here is a close up of the house itself. I could imagine myself sitting on the terrace there reading a book with an ipod on. Oh yes.

Amber enjoyed our last lunch spot too. Here she is admiring the sea, again with my lovely house in the background.

And from here we waved goodbye to the south of France. It is fair to say a fantastic week and not so much a goodbye rather than "until next time."

Hope you enjoyed our blog of our holiday.

Andrew, Angela and Amber

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