Not So France

Some people love to bask in local culture and I do too, within reason. Three weeks in the South of France might be a dream for some people, but they turned out to be more of an ordeal for me in the summer of 2002.

Mostly I had issues with the part of France I was stuck in, not with France itself or my traveling companions. I went with people who have spent every vacation in all parts of the Mediterranean so for them driving almost 20 hours straight from Germany to La Croix-Valmer is no big deal. (Now they fly really cheap, but where’s the torture in that?)

So a condo-based vacation community with absolutely no charm, nightlife or decent food is just fine by them. After all they’ve done Nice, Sardinia, the Spanish Rivera...a beach is a beach and it’s only reasonable to have finally settled on one place for summer. I’m not even going to get into how crappy the beach was. But I will say this: After a storm it was murky and vaguely septic, but still crowded with crispy fried, smoking topless/Speedo wearing vacationers.

I’ve never been subjected to more Madonna or anemic pizza in my life. And the frites, no wonder we call them French fries. They seemed to be a mainstay of every freaking meal. Next time, I’ll meet for dinner but spend my days on the rocky beaches of Nice. If there is a next time after this get around.

The pictures of me, above, were taken in Ramatuelle, an almost perfectly preserved medieval pit. Perched on a woodsy hill, it’s all stone and easy to see why the plague swept through Europe multiple times. Mangy dogs ran free and I half expected someone to empty a chamber pot on my head from one of the quaint shuttered windows overhead.

Anyway, I think the photographic evidence speaks for itself: I had a miserable time.

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