I have finally realized that certain things in life cannot be changed. My legs will never be long and beautiful and much to my chagrin, they will always be a touch more footballer than model but life goes on regardless.
The weather equally escapes our control. Most of the time we grimace and bear it but on holiday we want to be grinning……Nobody wants rain during a treasured break, particularly if you are venturing somewhere with a sunny reputation. Who wastes precious bag space on Ryan Air or Easy Jet to bring their rain coat and wellies when you are heading to the south of France?
We can’t change the weather but we can change our reaction to it. Let’s be honest, moaning does not make you feel better and for most people, it won’t improve your holiday. When guests rent our house, I obsess about the weather, desperate for their holiday to be perfect but there’s nothing I can do to influence the power of the skies.
After a wet Spring in the south of France, the flowers are brimming with happiness, the heat is on and I’m sure the sun will beat down for the rest of the summer but if on the rare occasion the sky has a little cry, here are my top five tips to beat the grey sky blues in our area:
1. Go and find a delicious indoor market, or food hall. In Nimes, Les Halles, is sensational. Go wild and try some local delicacies you’ve never tried before. Once you have filled your baskets with tasty local produce, zoom back in the car and cook up a feast. Equally delicious inside or out.
2. Find a fantastic restaurant, order several bottles of grown up grape juice and solve the world’s problems. Maybe the sun will be shining after the coffee and cognac, even only metaphorically.
3. Seek out the local Aquarium or Planetarium. Kids love them and at least you know you won’t be missing out on precious sunbathing time. Montpellier has a fantastic newish development called Odysseum. Great rainy day, family entertainment all in one place – Aquarium, Planetarium. Ice-rink, Climbing centre, Cinema – just thank your lucky stars it’s raining!
4. Both Montpellier and Nimes have some wonderful museums but there are many more museums in the Languedoc. Inspiring places to hide from a deluge. You are spoilt for choice.
5. Ignore the rain and carry on regardless. Unless there’s a storm overhead, the rain needn’t stop you. One rainy summer day, we went canoeing with friends near St Guilhem le Desert, a magical medieval town in the Cevennes. I have no doubt if the sun had appeared it would have seemed even prettier but we didn’t let the clouds ruin our fun.
At least the weather changes daily, where as I am stuck with my little legs for life!
Blustery winter walks on a damp shore wake up the soul for certain but it’s the sultry, summer sand which is the most seductive. Thirty minutes by car from our house and you can feel the warm sea kissing your toes.
Nearly on our doorstep, there really is a beach to suit everyone. If you are seeking the wild and wonderful, drive beyond the Grau de Roi and arrive at La Plage de L’Espiguette.
Six miles of unspoiled peace and never-ending sand dunes; a massive expanse of freedom. Nature at its best, or naturists at their best, at a far, discreet corner!
If you are more inclined towards beach glamour, glitz and comfort, there are numerous private beach bars and restaurants between Palavas (just south of Montpellier) and La Grande Motte.
A long strip of beach, dotted with gorgeous, private establishments which pop up for three to four months of the year. You can hire a sunbed and parasol for the day and enjoy the luxury of waiter service. An icy glass of rosé whilst gazing at the sparkling sea, truly can chase the cares of the world away, especially when the kids (if any!) happily amuse themselves on nature’s finest playground. For those who love the beach but also appreciate a proper toilet and a shower, this is the beach experience for you. When your tummy begins to rumble, whether it’s a fresh seafood lunch you are after, or a special dinner watching the sunset, you will not be disappointed.
If you don’t fancy paying for the sunbed and you’re not in the mood for food, there is plenty of space between the private beaches to park your towel and bucket and spade.
July and August are obviously the busiest time at the beach and roads can be a little formidable but if you choose your travel times carefully, you will be surprised how empty the roads are. When we need a sandy fix in peak summer, we set off by 9.00am and always have a clear ride in. We then seek the shade of a restaurant for lunch and leave before the surge. Alternatively, we head off at about 4pm/5pm, once the heat of the day has relented and go for a late swim and stay for an aperitif and even supper.
There is nothing like the sea air to make you feel you are truly on holiday, whichever beach beckons your bikini.
- In peak summer, avoid setting off for the beach after 10am and avoid returning between 4pm and 6pm.
- Make reservations for lunch and dinner at the private beaches in peak season. You can even reserve a sunbed – try and ask for the front row, for an unspoiled view of the Med. Easier to keep an eye on any little rascals too.
- Some private beaches have live bands playing early evening in time for your aperitif.
- A few of our favourite:
La Paillote Bambou, La Grande Motte – 04 67 56 73 80
La Plage de Bikinis – La Grande Motte – 04 67 56 10 40
Sun 7 Beach – La Grande Motte – 04 67 12 13 69
Yacht Club Beach – La Grande Motte – 04 67 29 29 29
Carre Mer – Villeneuve-les-Maguelone – 04 67 42 06 96
La Voile Bleu – La Grande Motte – 04 67 56 73 83