My arm didn't need much twisting when I got the opportunity to visit friends of mine in the south of France last week. My friend Emmanuelle, has taken a years leave of absence while Padraic, an ex-professional cyclist, is running his online cycling clothing business from the coastal city of Hyeres, approximately 20 minutes north of Toulon.
One of the biggest fashion dilemmas associated with any travel is packing! I inadvertently challenged myself even further by failing to check in a bag with Ryanair. Their cabin allowance of 10kg makes it quite difficult for even the most disciplined of packers. Adding to this was the changeable weather at my destination. Emmanuelle had tipped me off that the weather was still warm during the day but cooled considerably in the evening. This meant that I had to pack for both climates.
The allure of the south of France has been well documented by travel writers, film makers et al down through the years. We took two day trips of note. The first was to St Tropez, the playground of the rich and famous! Having been there before during summers past, this time it was far more pleasurable to stroll around the marina and take in its shopping with none of the overwhelming crowds that summer brings. It is always a delight to take in the exclusive luxury boutiques such as Chanel, Hermes and Prada. What a contrast it was then to visit the lesser known Sanary-sur-Mer, a delightful fishing town just up the coast from Hyeres. Not only was the town picturesque and friendly, but it was populated by delightful independent boutiques, rarely seen in the bigger, more popular towns such as St Tropez. It was so refreshing to discover these little stores, all with their individual signature style and back stories. Sanary-sur-Mer is a must-see if you ever have the opportunity.
No trip would be complete for me without a bit of paddle boarding. Thankfully Hyeres had perfect conditions. Always a good way to wrap up your trip to the French Rivera.