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After yet another sumptuous breakfast provided by Babette (including some extra entertainment provided by her gorgeous labrador Tango), we said our fond farewells – yes, including more cheek-kissing and hugging from Phil, who is right into it now! Roger sadly missed out on this ritual since he was bringing the car for us to load up.

With Phil at the wheel and one wrong turn which added ten minutes or so to our journey, we headed off to Aix-en-Provence , sadly, in time to see the market on the Cours Mirabeau closing down at 1pm. While the Cours Mirabeau is one of the most famous streets in France, I was a bit disappointed to see that the beautiful plane trees had been pruned back, so it was less spectacular. However, I satisfied myself with sitting on the famous street, devouring a delicious Caesar Salad.

After lunch we set off to explore what we could in the hour we had available, and it is surely is a lovely place, with some stunning architecture. I found my obligatory church, complete with Gypsy beggar on the steps, and went inside. It was another amazing structure and as I wandered around, open-mouthed at the beautiful stained glass and religious statuary, I managed to trip on the kneeling pad in one of the pews, and my camera fell heavily onto the flagstones, smashing the lens. I was so upset!

I consoled myself with a visit to Zara which was near our parking building, and duly found a couple of things I wanted to buy – but it seems as if Zara stores everywhere are the same, with a long wait in a queue to try garments on. Having made it into the changing room, and deciding to purchase a lovely blouse, I went to the cash desk, but the queue was just as long! I reluctantly replaced the shirt as the others were waiting – I shall seek it out in Nice!

On our way again, we reached Draguignan where we decided to stock up for the villa, and luckily I was able to replace my camera there. After somewhat of an adventure in the supermarket, since we didn’t realise veges had to be weighed before you got to the checkout, we were on our way again, and this is where things turned to custard. Our GPS lady had us going up goat tracks which seemed to lead to private property – pretty scary when you have crazy drivers coming at you from the other way!

With a bit of lateral thinking on Roger’s part, we outwitted the GPS lady and finally arrived at the villa an hour or so later than we expected. It was worth the long drive – Etoile du Sud it is just lovely! The rooms are well-appointed, well furnished, with everything we could possibly need, including a heated salt water swimming pool and expansive views. Plus, it is close to the Cote d’Azur and many other beautiful towns.

Having unpacked and had a few wines, we christened the barbecue and had a delicious meal, before crashing in the very comfy beds after a very long day – this place is going to be delightful!

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