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Four days

A town for French tourists, but with overtones ofrdinary people who live here and go about their daily work and play as though their local habitation were Nimes or Bordeaux. So it has a vacation flavor in its streets and shops and restaurants and sidewalk cafes (below), but at the same time optimistic fishermen go out daily and cleaning ladies sally forth and vintners continue to do their farming magic.


Norway isn't the only place where fjords may be found—here they call them calanques. And these skinny water-filled fissures are beautiful in a strange and otherworldly way: hemming in very clear waters, craggy rocks soar upwards while ocean- and wind-worn boulders thrust their mass into the Mediterranean's edge. Everywhere are places to swim, to snorkel, to kayak, to sunburn while asleep on some pebbly beach.


"Go ahead, I dare ya!" is floating around my mind whenever I actually stand there trying to make up my mind which of these ultra-rich and ultra-tasty afternoon happenings. Chocolate, always a safe choice. Hazelnut maybe. Never anything that looks like bubble gum. Something maybe with rum in it. Blissful choices, all of them.

Petanque is not likely to become the national sport of France, nor be formalized as the regional sport of Provence; but I could make a strong case for seriously considering the idea. It's stolid, hearty, imbued with the genial competition of decades-long friendships. With conversations whose sentences that may find their completion the following evening when these little vacant-lot games continue.

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