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Friday, October 1, 2010

Pearls of Provence: Port of Sanary-sur-Mer

I had a really nice week - cooked, cleaned closets (ok, that was the less exciting part) and made way for hopefully some new fall clothes (now we're talking) as I discovered I wasn't quite prepared for the sudden dip in temperature. That's one thing I've learned rather quickly here - the South of France really has some serious seasonal extremes. And let's not get started on the Mistral wind...yikes.

So to cap off the week, we'll be taking a trip to Aix-en-Provence tomorrow (weather permitting) to do a bit of strolling, cafe lounging, and just the tiniest bit of shopping.  And, let's be honest, probably have a really big lunch. I've got my heart set on trying a new restaurant and hopefully it's going to be a nice adventure! And on that note, since Aix surely fits into "the pearls of Provence" category (if not the crown jewel!), I wanted to continue the series this week with the little-known port city of Sanary-sur-Mer.

[One of many cafès lining the port of Sanary-sur-Mer]
Now, if the sur-Mer bit gives you any clue, this lovely little gem of a town is situated on the sea, and although it might not be internationally known, it really is a "hot spot" for tourists & locals alike.  What makes the city so appealing? Well, unlike most beach towns that really find "their time in the sun" during the summer months, Sanary remains lively all through the year.

There is the famous market which is undeniably my absolute favorite for the region.  And it seems I'm not alone in this opinion.  Judging from how our friends and neighbors rave about it and also the flock of German, English, & Dutch tourists I encountered on my last trip there (in early September), the Wednesday market at Sanary is loved by many.  I even bumped into a few Americans - taking pictures of the amazing spices on display just as I was doing.

[Colorful spices at the Wednesday market, Sanary]

And also there are the relaxing and oh-so-South of France cafes that line the port and make for excellent people watching any time of the year. You can spend your afternoon sipping wine and taking in the local color, or even just huddling over a strong cup of coffee & enjoying some time with a good book. Directly behind the cafes, the streets are lined with swanky bistros, chic boutiques, and quirky little shops offering everything from gourmet foodstuffs to garden supplies.

[Boutiques along the streets of Sanary]

So of all the many gems of Provence, the port of Sanary-sur-Mer has to be right at the top.  I'd give it high marks just for all the varieties of olives I can find at the market - but then again, food always seems to make my life better.

[Fun & funky rings at L'Echoppe boutique, Sanary]

Hope everyone has a great weekend full of new adventures...and delicious food! 


  1. I LOVE those rings in the last picture!!!
    Do you know Delana of duJour.blogspot? She lives in Aix and has for two years now. Check out her blog. We talk on Skype every week!

  2. I know Libby, aren't those rings great! Been meaning to go back & pick up one (or a few, they're quite cheap!)...
    I was just over at Delana's blog - very nice! Thanks for keeping me "in the know" & will be following her Aix adventures as well.
    Good luck with your decorating plans & have a great weekend! xx

  3. I'm desperate to go to Sanary-sur-Mer. Hopefully I can drag my husband there soon.
    Have a great weekend!

  4. LOVE those fabulous rings!!! :-) Nearly every time I travel I choose rings as my souvenir. :-) These are perfect. :-)

  5. Me too Krista! Think they are my favorite item to buy when I travel...I have 2 rings I bought in Lucca (Italy) about 6 years ago that I still treasure. Hope you're having an amazing time in Cancun, xx

  6. Those rings are so original and I'm captivated by the colourful spices! Thanks for taking me there. I have yet to visit any "sur-mer" location in France and not like it! :)

  7. Looks like the rings were a big hit..maybe that's the next business I will open, lol. And you're right Corinne, is amazing how many "sur-mer" towns there are..and they are all pretty-much stunning.

  8. It feels so weird to read someone writing about my hometown in such a nice manner! I lived there for 20 years but I just moved out to go to uni in the UK. I'm back in Sanary for the Easter holidays now and I just took pictures of the place too! I never realised how nice it looked before I moved.

    I'm glad you love my hometown as much as I do,
    Elodie x