Thursday, 11 June 2009

Saint Florent

Ah, Saint Florent! What a beautiful town full of colourful buildings, equally colourful characters and huge yachts that look like something off a film set.

Most people visiting Saint Florent for the first time park in the car park on the port, but a few years ago the town hall realised they were missing a trick and starting charging. I always park in the parking area in front of the citadel which - so far - is free (follow the road in the direction of Bastia, turn left immediately before the Hotel Bellevue and follow the signs). The views from up here are lovely and it’s hard to know whether I prefer the view down over the rocks with the church in the background, or the mellow yellow Citadel against the deep blue of the sea…

It was over 30 degrees and very humid so I wandered down to the waterfront with the help of two scoops of mandarin sorbet (I think it’s the law when it’s that hot!) and did a spot of people watching. Saint Florent is a two star ‘village fleuri’ and June is the perfect time to see it as all the flowers are in bloom and it is simply lovely.

There were lots of people around which gave the town a really vibrant feel, but I still managed to find a quiet spot in the shade by the water fountain to enjoy my lunch.

From here it was just two steps to my next point of call – The Cave Lazzarini. The Lazzarini family produce a whole range of wines and aperitifs (the Muscat and Reds are particularly good). I always come away having spent more that I’d intended, but never regretting it! Today I was particularly envious of the clients who book their apartment and are treated to a full tasting without having to worry about the car afterwards!

After having been force-fed chestnut cake for the journey, and persuaded that I really couldn’t go another day without some home-made fig jam, I was on my way again, this time to the tourist office. I picked up a leaflet of the walks in the area, and although it was too hot to do one of the longer walks – anything up to 6/7 hours – I fully intended to do the first section up to the start of the Sentier du Littoral which is about 45-50 minutes each way.

However, once I arrived at the starting point of the end of the Plage du Roya, I realised that I’d forgotten my socks, so not wanting a repeat of the Evisa/blister incident, I decided to content myself with half an hour on the beach instead. I also managed to lay my hands on a bargain pair of rock shoes for 9.90 euros to replace the ones I melted last year in a cave in the Pays Basques. Hurrah!

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