Greetings dear readers and friends. Well, it’s finally here… the sunshine! We’ve had a downright odd spring for the south of France; with a string of thunderstorms, tropical-like weather (crazy humidity), and many overcast days. And let me assure you, Provençal folks weren’t having any of it and were in the grumpiest moods ever. A local newspaper even featured a gloomy-looking cartoon “sun” waiting with a piece of luggage for his chance to finally “shine”. It was serious.
On a brighter note, on the warmer days, we’ve managed to spend an increasing amount of time in our favorite village: Le Castellet. From where we live in Ollioules, it take us about 15 minutes to reach Le Castellet village and we consider ourselves very lucky to live so close to this charming village.
One of the nicest things to do on a visit to Le Castellet is simply to stroll its cobblestoned streets and alleys. Here you will find a series of tempting shops and boutiques – from house wares to clothing stores, and from bakeries to ice cream parlors. Our favorite boutique to visit, and also to take friends and family, is Le Comptoir des Lavandes. With all of its beautiful decorations, lavender products, and French tablecloths, Le Comptoir is also a great place to pick up souvenirs and gifts.
Our other favorite stop is to grab an artisanal ice cream at La femme du Boulanger (a bakery, sweets, and cookie shop). Their bakery display is enough to send you swooning, and we’ve become die-hard fans of their ice cream offerings – rich fruit sorbets like strawberry, melon, and pineapple with basil and fantastic cream flavors like nougat, calisson (a famous “cookie” from Aix-en-Provence), and pistachio. Some of the best ice cream we’ve tasted in the region.
Of course, if you’d like to grab a bite to eat, there are plenty of restaurants including Le Pied de Nez and Saint Eloi. We often enjoy a crêpe and a pint of cider at Roy d’Ys – good, hearty fare with fast and friendly service. Sitting outside on their large patio in the sunshine, watching the comings and goings of the village, is also a huge plus.
And don’t forget to take in the views during your visit to Le Castellet. Since it’s a hilltop village, you’ll find pretty amazing views on all sides. Near the Auberge de l’Ormeau restaurant and the war memorial, Monument aux Morts on Place de l’Ormeau , you can gaze upon the vineyards of the Bandol appellation and the neighboring hilltop village of La Cadiere d’Azur (home to the Michelin-star restaurant, the Hostellerie de Bérard).
On the other side of the village, near the central church, Église Saint Sauveur, you’ll find a breathtaking view of the Plan du Castellet (a nearby village) and rows of vineyards as far as the eye can see. This is the perfect spot for taking a photo under the famous Le Trou de Madame arch. And if you look further afield, you can trace the winding road that leads to the Circuit Paul Ricard – a well-known racetrack that will be home to Formula 1 competitions this summer .
Wishing you a very bon week-end and happy travels!