Date
September 20th, 2019
Author
Kay

20 September 

Eggs, beans and chips for tea last night! Followed by another episode of The Capture. No one else in the carpark. Very noisy cicadas! Overhead street lighting once again - but quiet night. 

This morning Tintin felt he needed to drive Dave up the hill - and wanted me to take pictures. I videoed it - wheel spinning a bit, and once going, couldn’t stop - well - wouldn’t have started up again! At least no traffic!

We swopped over and I drove for about 45 minutes to a Casino supermarket, as we wanted to top up with LPG. We’re down to two ‘blips’ - out of eight - and haven’t topped up yet. We drove around and around the huge confusing carpark, eventually queued up for the LPG - but none available. On line, Tintin said even yesterday it was available! Not our day. 

Drove another 15 minutes or so to a park4night place we’d found just outside Hyères. Previously we’d looked at other reviews in the area, and it didn’t seem like a good place to stop. Glad we made our own decision!

Our parking spot
Our parking spot

Hyères has a population of over 56,000 - and was once regarded as a gem of the southern Var. Apparently it is now under-appreciated in the glamour seeking mind of today’s Provençal sun-chaser!

We’ve spent about four hours walking today (my husband has just confessed that he’s worn out!) - so at least 10,000 steps! We’re parked at the side of a very quiet road behind the college and police commission. It took about 15 minutes to walk to the tourist office. A very happy friendly lady gave us our map, and we were off to see the old town. Once again, we were warned it was uphill! And yes, they were right!

The itinerary showing the walk of the old town should have taken approximately 90 minutes. We’re usually faster, as maybe not as interested in everything, but we definitely took longer, and it wasn’t even if there was lots to see, just finding all the different places of interest. 

The église Saint-Louis dates originally from the 13th century. There were ladies inside decorating the church - must be a wedding taking place there tomorrow. Again, fairly unobtrusive from the outside - huge inside - and very tall. Would have seemed dark and dingy - but lots of lights everywhere. 

Went through quite a few old gates, mainly from 14th century. There were streets of small little shops. Lots of fresh fruit, vegetables, fish (which didn’t smell like that naff supermarket yesterday!) - oops, I’ve just googled the word naff - I’ve always taken it to mean less than average, poor etc. The guardian definition comes up with “'Naff' originated in the gay slang 'Polari' (as made popular by 'Julian and Sandy' in the 60's BBC radio programme 'Round the Horne'). It originally meant 'not available for f***ing', ie 'straight' - who knew!?

Anyway, lovely street - even all the old flag stones looked polished and cared for. We went to the Knights Templar tower (it was closing at 1pm, but we went back later). The chapel was built in the 13th century. It now hosts temporary exhibitions. You can climb right to the top (theme of the day!) - and wonderful views all around. 

This photo shows where we walked up to from here to get to the ruins on top of the hill. 

This view is from the top of the Knights Templar tower up to the ruins of the Château
This view is from the top of the Knights Templar tower up to the ruins of the Château

We visited the Castel Sainte-Claire. Was built in 1849 by Oliver Voutier upon the ruins of a nunnery. During a trip to Greece, he extracted the Venus de Milo (now shown in the Louvre museum) - so that’s his claim to fame. There are also wonderful gardens you can wander around. All perfectly kept (just like yesterday) - all on many many levels - all going up!

Castel Sainte-Claire
Castel Sainte-Claire

We spent quite a while climbing up to the ruins - not sure it was worth the effort! The Knights of Fos built the castle in the 11th century, chosen strategically to defend the town. It was a military fort in the 13th century before being partially destroyed in 1596 upon Henry IV’s request, and finally dismantled in 1620 under the reign of King Louis XIII. However, there were wonderful views from the top. Access was steep, and mainly rubble to walk over - no wonder the map says to wear adequate footwear!

Villa Noailles, built in the 1920s should have shown us Modernist architecture - but was closed - only the gardens were open - shame. 

We slowly wandered back down to the main square. Tintin had a demi, and I had the delights of a Fanta!  We were hot, and had finished our water a while back. It’s been clear sunny skies again, and probably about 30° - the good thing is that there has been a strong breeze all day. Can’t quite believe it’s due to rain heavily tomorrow...

Has to be done sometimes
Has to be done sometimes

Overall - definitely worth a stop off. Town feels very clean and well cared for. Both yesterday and today, there are plants just about everywhere. Think we’ve missed the best of the oleander, though some is in bloom now. Lots of lovely smells from passing eucalyptus trees or climbing jasmine. 

We’re staying here for the night - mainly because we can’t be bothered to find where to go now, and then drive there!

We’re moving closer to bigger places like Toulon (167,000 population) or Marseille (862,000 population!) - and don’t really like huge places - so back to doing some research tonight!

More photos from our afternoon in Hyères

One of the old gates into the old town
One of the old gates into the old town
One of the old gates
One of the old gates
Bulging house!
Bulging house!
Panaromic
Panaromic
A view from the top
A view from the top
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Martin and Kay Dumont from Guernsey, first time motorhomers and ready to travel. ‘Dave’ is our Mobilvetta K Yacht 85, purchased in 2017 and travelled all the way from Italy. After following Jason and Julie Buckley’s blog 'Ourtour' for years I just couldn’t get the name ‘Dave’ out of my head. So the Mobilvetta had to be another 'Dave’. More...

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