We’ve rented a car for a few days so that we can check up on La Belle Cour, a two hour drive from Aix. After a stop for lunch by the water, a steaming mini-cauldron of seafood stew, we’re happy to see that, unlike last year when major work was required before the rental season, our little village house is in very good shape inside and out.
We straighten and clean up to make the rooms look as we like them to look…no one leaves it quite like we do: there are always sheets, towels, fans, pillows, chairs and more in different places than we expect. Inside and out, we see what else needs to be done before the renters begin to arrive… a bit of painting, the annual trim of the jasmine in the courtyard, some colorful annuals for the pots. We’ll return after the annual Rendezvous France tourism conference in March to take care of these things, and La Belle Cour will be ready for this year’s line-up of renters to enjoy!
Rather than the speedy autoroute, we take the seaside route home, stopping to snap a photo of the long sandy beach between Agde and Sete.
The next day we’re once again by the Med- iterranean, meeting our friends Jean Marc and Kristin for lunch in St. Cyr sur Mer, near their new home.
Across the bay the jagged peaks of La Ciotat anchor the edge of the shore. When Jean Marc visited us in Virginia last year, he talked about his desire to live closer to the sea and AWAY from the strong mistral wind, while still keeping involved in their vineyard inland near Vaison la Romaine, and when we got together in the summer here in France, they shared with us that this dream was close to becoming a reality.
It wasn’t easy to find just the right place in the very desirable Bandol area, their target, and Kristi tells us how they prayed together one evening, almost ready to give up, that God would help them find what they were looking for. The next day a vigneron friend of theirs told them that he had been offered a hillside farm, as an insider, and did not want it. They were able to see the property, and both knew “this is it!” and one of the first things Jean Marc, who grew up by the shore in Marseilles, did after they moved in was have a tree trimmed so he could have a view of his beloved sea. Kristi tells us how each time the mistral howls down from the north, Jean Marc boasts about this perfect setting, sheltered from that relentless wind.
There is much to do, inside and out, to get the house up to their standards, but the four of them have happily settled in, and Jean Marc has even found a nearby parcel of land where he can plant some vines and grow his own Bandol wine.
Kristi’s often written about her easy-and-delicious yogurt cake recipe, and the chocolate one she’s made for dessert today is as yummy as we expected – merci!
We stop by the sea again before heading back to Aix – the little beach by the port is quiet now, but will bustle when the weather warms up.