L’Estagnol – the Return to The Greatest Little Beach And a Bit About The Longest Day!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Yet another bright and sunny day. It’s almost overwhelming to me because I’m just not used to this much sunshine in the Northeast of the USA!  The Canicule is hanging around for a few days so today’s beach day will be quite welcomed!

L’Estagnol. The grooviest plage I know!

Our plan is to head off to L’Estagnol as early as possible.  Bonaparte always gets very sentimental when we visit this beach—it’s where he spent many happy summers of his childhood and youth.

The beach itself is a small inlet of the Mediterranean—almost a bay. And the water is calm and you can walk out into the water for what seems like forever and still not reach the “deep” end.

Early in the morning the beach gets some good shade!

The beach is narrow and the trees behind the sand make for good morning shade.

Not a cloud in the sky. Not a drop of humidity and we are off!

Me in my “pricey” Target bikini!  My hair is piled atop my head in a messy top knot and..away..we…go!

Our routine stays the same each year.  We stop at McDonald’s for coffee. OK. I have coffee while Bonaparte has coffee and croissant.  I take the free Wi-Fi with my coffee instead of the morning pastry.

Breakfast at McDo!  Look at those goodies. For me, this is a McDon’t!

The virgin drive for the year is also quite routine. We make the same wrong turn at precisely the same corner. Every year. We end up in the same spot—a small yacht club. Never fails!

It all ends well, though, as we correct our route and end up at the entrance to the beach’s park within minutes of our error.

L’Estagnol early in the AM is my favorite time to be there. The beach isn’t yet crowded and the sound of the cicadas isn’t drowned by the din of human voices.  The water is peaceful and cool.

See how far the people are?  And the boats are so close!

Let me just go to sleep right now. Look how calm the water is!

Out of sequence, but here’s our arrival.

There is a sense of freedom as my bathing suit top comes off so that Bonaparte can put sunscreen on my back without missing any spots.  But I haven’t had a good skin check yet so the top goes back on.

Bonaparte wanders off into the trees to take pictures but I’m too clumsy to climb on the rocks.  I can barely balance with two feet on flat ground.

Some of the Lartigue photography talent going on here..

..and here

..and here…

..and here!

Uh oh!  A group of schoolchildren just arrived. Good thing Bonaparte isn’t here or he’ll get his French on and start complaining to kingdom come.  I move our stuff, hoping he doesn’t notice when he returns.

I’m so annoyed. Not at the children but at the fact I took videos with my phone and can’t post them. This damned laptop! Anyway, that adorable group of enfants almost gave Bonaparte a stroke!

The ice cream man.  I wanted to but didn’t!

I lie down for a while and it feels heavenly to close my eyes and feel the warmth of the sun.  Le Soleil Donne!  The Sun Gives! With my eyes closed, I drift off into another place. The sound of the sea gently breaking at the shoreline. The cicadas are still chanting away.  The sailboats in the near distance rocking from side to side.  This is what makes life beautiful.

My little corner of the world over here

That spray tan didn’t last very long on my feet, I’ll tell ya!  

My feeble attempt at an artsy photo.

I turn on my stomach and open the book I’ve been reading. I’m almost finished. It’s a funny book by Clinton Kelly and I plan on leaving it at the apartment for others who may enjoy it as much as I have.

Bonaparte returns. He isn’t too thrilled because of the large group of children who have been here.  I told him I moved our stuff but he wants to move it even farther away.  I shrug and sigh.  The beach is crowding where are we gonna go?

A family of four sits down in front of us. Bonaparte starts mumbling in French something about them purposely sitting too close to us.  The mother is tall, blonde and attractive and not of the pencil-thin body. She’s normal. I want to be her best friend! Her husband looks strong and is not of the slight French man.  I’ll bet he’s a chef. He looks well-fed. Their two young sons are not only adorable, but they are incredibly polite.

This family was great. They really were enjoying their time well spent!

One son throws a huge rubber ball and it hits my feet. Hey, I’ve had three kids. It doesn’t bother me. But the young boy apologizes profusely. He must have heard Bonaparte complaining.  I smile and tell him, in my best French that it’s ok.

I go into the water and boy; does it feel great!!  The waves are so tiny and small and I walk out what feels like half a mile and I’m enjoying this time of cooling off.

Let’s get in that water!

Look where the boats are and look where the people are!  Is this not heaven on earth?

More beach fun!

As I make my way back to shore, the family in front of us is eating lunch. For a moment, I had a feeling of emptiness. I was brought back in time when my children were that age and they are grown up now. All I have are memories—but good ones.  My empty feeling leaves when Bonaparte comes over to me and sits next to me.  I feel comfortable now.

The remainder of our day at L’Estagnol was spent swimming, sunning, applying sunscreen on moi and people watching.


You know, everyone has this mental image of the French beaches filled with Bardot look-alikes and men who could pass for Alain Delon’s twin.  Not true.  Most peeps are pretty normal looking.  All sizes and shapes. And that’s a good thing!

We pass a vineyard on the way out.

We stopped at a produce stand on the way home. The stand is in Collobrières and has the greatest strawberries of all time. YES. Of. All. Time!  They were great last year, when we discovered this stand and are even more incredible this year.  I swear I cried when I bit into one of the tomatoes—it was that fresh and flavorful.

Look at all this wonderful fruit!

Bonaparte was grabbing those melons with the wonder of a teenaged boy going after a different kind of melon!

I cannot tell a lie. These were the best strawberries I’ve ever had. No white insides at all. Pure strawberry!

Bonaparte gave the woman running the stand carte-blanche to pick the produce for us and boy did she pick winners.  I need to stop because I’m getting hungry.

We stopped in St. Raphael to pay our respect to the fallen Americans during WWII at a Memorial.  It always feels good to thank the many troops who gave up their lives for us.

At the memorial in St. Raphael. This is in honor of Henry Kent Hewitt, from New Jersey

It’s hard these days to be a proud American–given who was elected. But memorials such as this give me faith that one day our country will return to her greatness when a different president is elected.

We enjoyed a picturesque drive back along the Bord du Mer, the seaside road.

The l’esterel in the background

We never tire of this drive

Before going back to the apartment, we made our daily stop at Geant for Cidre.

But before going to the Cidre, I spotted a wall of bathing suits.  Bikinis. Mix and match.  Oh yes. I ended up making a purchase of a great bikini for ….11 euros!!!!


Eleven euros and the best bathing suit I’ve ever purchased. Bonaparte loves this!

I’m going back for another.

Time just flies by so quickly here.

We sat down at 8:30 for our well-deserved aperitifs and dinner.

The phone rang. It was the vet’s office. Chippy has an ear infection. But they took care of it early on!

Bonne Nuit!

Wednesday, June 21st

Hmmm. I woke up at 8AM. That’s a bit late. I don’t want to miss any of the sun!  It’s Wednesday already. Time is fleeting for sure.

Today is the first day of summer and in my doomed way, the worst day of the year because after today, the days get shorter.  Yeah. I’m that person.  The first day of winter is, in a twist, one of my favorite days of the year because the days get longer!

Our plan today is to hit the pool then go into St. Trop to visit Dany again.

Bonaparte dropped me off at the pool and headed off to the clubhouse to check his email.  When he came back to join me, he announced that our rented car had a flat tire.

The car rental company, Hertz, had to be notified, and someone was sent over to the pool to take the flat tire off and replace it with a donut.  After which Bonaparte would drive the car back to Nice airport and get another car.

You following?

Our plans to head into St. Tropez were not going to happen.

By the time Bonaparte took care of the car debacle it was well into the afternoon.  I finished another book.

Keeping it casual for our drive into Grasse. As you can probably tell, once again, I’ve overpacked.  I’ve been wearing a bathing suit most of the time. I clean up nicely though! Thanks to my wig!

We decided to drive into Grasse—I needed to pick up some more Fleur d’Oranger; my favorite summer scent.

I’m very brand loyal with my scents. In the winter Guerlain. In summer, Fragonard! I love this place!

And even though it can be a bit touristy, so what!  The parfum and other items that Fragonard sells are lovely!

We stopped in Cannes to pick up some wine and then off to Geant (which is making a major appearance in my journal) for a few groceries.

I ended up purchasing another bathing suit!  Black with little pineapples!

My other 11 euro bathing suit.  And in a supermarket no less!

A dinner on the terrace and I spent the remainder of the evening doing laundry. And I love drying the clothing in the fresh air!!!

Shortly before midnight , e heard a large “Boom” coming from the water. It was a Fireworks show!!  I’m guessing for celebrating the first day of summer. It was spectacular. We headed to the terrace and enjoyed a front row, private viewing. It was a great way to end the longest day of the year!

What a show!!  We felt it was just for us and only for us and a great way to end the first day of summer!

PS.  My sons are visiting this weekend so I will have another post on Sunday.  I have to tell you–my oldest son is moving to L.A. at the end of the month. I’ll give more deets then but it is an amazing opportunity.

© 2017 Atypical60.com

I’m listening to Frero Delavega now.  The song is “Un petit peu de toi” and it is charming—here you go!




About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
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29 Responses to L’Estagnol – the Return to The Greatest Little Beach And a Bit About The Longest Day!

  1. Great post! Looks like a lovely vacation.

  2. Wow the pictures are beautiful! Looks like you had a lovely vacation. Wishing you two well.

    • Catherine says:

      Thank you so much McKenz. I’m a bit upset though, because I made 26 videos on my not-so-smart phone and they won’t convert to my computer!!! I’m heading to Apple this week to find out why. We did have a fantastic time–can’t believe it’s over!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  3. Miss Bougie says:

    Lovely post(s). Thanks so much. It’s always so interesting getting impressions of my adopted country through the eyes of a visitor. We don’t have a Géant here, but Leclerc and Super U and I hear you when you gush over the delicatessen section. They have great stuff!
    You choose the best time to go to the Côte d’Azur, as July and August are very crowded. June is really the best time with long days, profusion of flowers and the sea getting warmer. September is also a good month, when the majority of tourists have left, but days are getting shorter and plants are thirsty after the hot summer.
    June 21st is Fête de la Musique, when music is played well into the night. It can be individual performers or bands organised by town hall. Maybe that’s what the fireworks were all about; to celebrate the longest day of the year.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Miss B!! Oh..Bonaparte insists on visiting the Cote d’Azur during those June weeks. Like you, he said that later will be incredibly crowded–and more expensive!! Ahhh..the Fete de la Musique–I’ve put it out of my mind because he hates crowds and he only likes classical music so I have to depend on my CD’s and Nostalgie radio for my music–LOL!! Those fireworks were fun!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  4. Penny says:

    Hi Catherine – lovely to have you back. And can I say what a great body you’ve got for bikinis – very envious. Love hearing about your trip. We’re off to France in September for a MONTH – staying in Moissac, which is an hour’s drive north from Toulouse. Can’t wait for those markets and all that fresh produce.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Penny. Well, after that time in France and after having my sons here for the weekend, my diet DOES resume tomorrow!! My body is a little softer-just like room temperature Brie at the moment!
      I cannot believe you will be in France for a MONTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! OMG. I can’t wait till you go either–pics. pics. pics. from you.
      And the bikinis I purchased–frugal fashion at 11 e each!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  5. Q.D says:

    Great bikini choices all round! Well done.

  6. Fiona says:

    Great bikinis, fab figure, even better prices! Your account of the day at L’Estagnol took me back to my childhood when we had holidays on the coté d’azur…do the beignet cart men still throw those caramelized nuts that land in your belly button to tempt you to buy a bag?
    Frero Delavega sound like they are gargling in a galvanized bucket of water to me…it must be the dreadful Wi-Fi here at work.
    À la prochaine. X

    • Catherine says:

      Lol –Fiona. I need go go back to photo s before I started blogging! I have a photo of a beach vendor in Frejus who was throwing those little candied nuts! It was comical because I thought he was giving all of them away and went to get more! I ended up buying them–hmmmm-a future post???? 💗💗💗😂😂😂

  7. Nancy says:

    Hi Catherine- Loved this post as I always love all your posts. I feel like I am sitting down with a good friend and hearing all about her fun vacation. You have such a knack for connecting with your followers. I too have put off having a total body scan by a dermatologist…sure that all those bad sunburns when I was young have caused something…just terrified to find out what…which makes no sense at all.and I have a feeling you understand this irrational thinking…..think I will just face my fears and call this week to book an appointment. Ok…now that i have rattled on…and on…also wanted to ask for a list of your favorite recent reads….also any recommendations from your blog friends would be great…I just read 2 I LOVED: Lillian Boxfish takes a Walk https://www.amazon.com/Lillian-Boxfish-Takes-Walk-Novel/dp/1250113326/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499430185&sr=1-1&keywords=lillian+boxfish+takes+a+walk and Dinner with Edward https://www.amazon.com/Dinner-Edward-Story-Unexpected-Friendship/dp/1616204222/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1499430226&sr=1-1&keywords=Dinner+with+Edward

    • Catherine says:

      Ohhh. Nancy. Thank you so much for the book recommendations. My recent reads, while on vacation were “Girl on the Train”–it was made into a movie, but I didn’t see it. The book was great but the ending seemed a bit “rushed”–as though the author said, OK–I want to get this done with. Still, it was a great read. I also read “Delicious”, which I HIGHLY recommend. About a young woman who gets hired by a food magazine and finds a stack of letters and correspondence to James Beard during WWII. It sound weird but it was GREAT!!!!! I also read “I Hate Everyone Except You” by Clinton Kelly of “What Not To Wear” and “The Chew”–it was very, very funny!!! There’s also two recommendations up more in the comments section here! Thank you so much. Summer is the best time to read. My kids are voracious readers as well. Oona is always reading and the boys too. Reading is just so important!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

      • Nancy says:

        You are second person who loved the C. Kelly book so just downloaded it on Hoopla and started listening this very moment. I will also check out Delicious. Thanks

      • Catherine says:

        Hi Nancy! Oh..the Kelly book was a riot!! A riot!!! He’s adorable! And the Delicious book was one of the best and most interesting novels I’ve read in a long, long time!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  8. Colleen says:

    Thank you for sharing your vacation with me in such detail. I felt as though I was on the beach with you. It struck me that people all over the world celebrate the summer in very similar ways, although the French summer might be a bit more, well French. You know what I mean. Love your blog and appreciate all the time and energy you put into it.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Colleen. Thank you so much for your encouraging words!!! It’s funny but now that we’re home we noticed that the days are shorter here. It was almost dark by 9PM–where in France it was 9:45 PM and still on the light side!! Thank you again!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  9. Jeanne says:

    Bathing suit shopping in the grocery store…I love it! And I love the price and the looks oft the suits! You are a hoot!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jeanne. I swear–it was such a riot!! I can only imagine what would happen if a grocery store here in the States sold bathing suits–people would complain!!! The hypermarches over there sell everything from TV sets, to bathing suits to food!!!! Wait–it’s like Walmart–only classier!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  10. Juliet says:

    Ohhhhh I love the photos – it is so sunny and lovely, it all sounds so idyllic I think even my grumpster other half might like it (he would like the sloping rocks and whatnot). I’d love to visit Fragonard – the geekiness behind perfume creation fascinates me (there is a wonderful website where people describe and rate perfumes if you haven’t already come across it https://www.fragrantica.com/ , it is utterly fantastic to browse and just wallow without the headache I am sure some of those perfumes would actually induce – really go there and enjoy). I’ll also recommend Perfume (a novel by Patrick Suskind you will either love or hate) and another novel The Ornatrix by Kate Howard.

    Loving the wardrobe choices as always

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet. I go on Fragrantica all the time and I find it utterly fascinating that people know so much about top notes, this note, that note and everything else. And I found “Perfume” on the Barnes and Noble Ornatrix looks like a great read as well. I’ll be making the trip…

  11. Margaret says:

    Wow, what a wonderful trip! You look great in those swimsuits, your hard work certainly paid off. I cannot believe that supermarket in your prior post, I’m speechless! Why can’t we have that here?? And macarons and canneles at McDonalds, that sure beats their greasy apple pies here. And the French melons, I’ve heard good things about them and hope to find one someday (I’m a melon lover, lol).

    I love every single photo, they’re all so beautiful. I can see why you love it there. Happy belated birthday to Bonaparte, and thanks for taking us along!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Margaret! Thank you, I’m to believe that the reason French supermarkets are superior is due to the strict regulations that are enforced. No fillers, no garbage. It’s different here. The McDo’s (McDonalds) over there are also under strict regulations. The beef is real. It’s incredible.
      I’m glad that you are enjoying the posts and the photos–and Bonaparte thanks you for the birthday wishes!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  12. I forgot to tell you that you are totally rocking those bikinis! I haven’t worn one since I was a teenager! To wear one at 60, fabulous!

    • Catherine says:

      Good Morning Contessa. Oh..I’m of the school of “Not”…Not telling me what to wear at over 60! If I want to wear a bikini–I will. Funny though. We went to the beach here in New Jersey yesterday. Most women–and I’ll say most women over 40 had those one piece’s on. Only one (me) or two other “older” women were wearing two pieces. It was kind of disappointing that women here won’t take the risk. But it’s cool–we need to wear what makes us comfy!!!! XOXOXOXO!!!!

  13. Yvonne says:

    This is a wonderful few days. I love the beach and I hate it when people sit too close to you or in front and block my view of the water. The trick is to choose the closest spot to the water on the soft sand so they can’t. The summer before I left Australia we went to a beach town for a holiday. It backs a national park. As I was coming back to my towel I noticed a group of people gathering around my towel. A wallaby had jumped out of the bush next to my towel and tourists were coming down the beach to take photos and fed the native animals rubbish. However the worst part was that they were standing on my towel!!! Richard decided to stay in the water until I cleared the scene as he knew how I would not cope with anyone coming near my spot on the beach or worse standing on my towel. The best thing for me was to move and I did with a great deal of huffing and towel flicking. I bought some Fragonard perfume in London and thought of you and love the bikinis.

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