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This morning we debated how we should spend our last day. We decided a trip back to the sea would be a great finale and it surely was. After breakfast we set off for Sainte-Maxine, and having heard that the biggest market in the Var (in Le Muy) was on our route, we decided to stop there first.

Frankly, it was a disappointment – big? Yes it was huge, covering several streets, but was not as vibrant as other markets we have seen in the area, and some of the wares on sale did not seem to be as good quality either. Having explored the market circuit, we left empty-handed and continued on to St Maxime.

What a great choice was. On our previous visit in 2012, we stayed in the outskirts of Sainte-Maxime, but never got into the town. While it is a resort town, it still has a laid-back, relaxed air, and the side streets are well served with cafes, restaurants and boutique style shops – off the beaten track a little, but with a cool vibe. We had coffee in a main street café, then Phil and I went to explore as much as we could in the time we had. We walked the sea wall, and could see St Tropez directly opposite, shimmering across the bay – a powdery shell pink in the hot afternoon sun. We continue our walk up into the little side streets, and met Roger and Frances for a delicious meal at Chez Sophie – we loved its relaxed feel, great jazz music and the tree in the middle of the shady annexe where we sat.

On our return, the pool looked inviting in the heat – two swims for me and then it was Prosecco in the pool for all. I as I dried off, lying on the sun lounger, I looked across the pool to see lavender and olive trees, still as statues, and it dawned on me what a special time this has been for us.

The day has finished for us with a tasty meal, jointly prepared,  and cooked by Phil on the BBQ. As we under ate under the mulberry tree, excellent Provençal rose in hand, we discussed our highlights and lowlights of the trip so far. We all agreed the highlights are too numerous to mention and the lowlights? Of no consequence really – a couple of days of rain, one of which precluded us from seeing Toulouse and Carcassonne, getting lost on the way here, and a bum meal in Paris… (Oh yes, and the ankle incident wasn’t good). On reflection, we cannot believe how much we have packed into three weeks – and we have three more days to go …