Thursday, September 17, 2009

Beach Vacation for the Common Man

On our first pass through the traffic circle we drove right past the hotel gate. By the time we realized the mistake, we were a quarter mile up the road on staring out at the beautiful beaches of Saint-Cyr-sur-Mer and La Ciotat. We hurried back down the sea-side hill, turned into the hotel's parking lot, unpacked in our rooms, and threw open the shutters. The sounds of crashing waves and the scent of the salty sea filled the rooms. Our first floor, beach view rooms were everything that was advertised. Now this is how to enjoy the Côte d'Azur.

La plage

Advice to travelers in France: if you're looking for a guaranteed pleasant hotel stay, look for the Logis endorsement. This independent rating services has not yet let us down. The Hôtel au Tapisde Sable was exactly the Mediterranean getaway that we were looking for - and only at the price of a two-star hotel.

Each morning a class of children learning to surf first took to the sea. It was pretty comical, though I doubt my skills would have been any better. Later, the more daring wind-surfers would take advantage of the morning winds. But by the time we had slept in and found pastries for breakfast, the climate was perfect for relaxing in the sun. The sea-breeze and the view from the private sunning deck at our hotel was perfect.


Relaxing isn't really my thing, so I bought a set to play paddle-ball. The concept is simple, just hit the ball back and forth trying to keep the rally going as long as possible - easier said than done. Mary and Mary Ann took turns playing with me. We tried to find the perfect surface; first, the dry sand didn't work so well; then the wet sand; and finally, out into the knee-high surf, perfect for ill-advised dives. The game seemed innocent enough, until I awoke the next day with a severe full-body muscle ache and a ridiculous sun-burn.

At night we walked along the beach promenade to find a restaurant. Seafood is, of course, the specialty. Our maitre'd on one night reminded Mark and I of the scuba instructor in "Along Came Polly" - without doubt the funniest character in that movie. He was nice enough to make a special dish for our vegan friend Darcie.

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This work by Ken Maschke is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License.