Tuesday, October 17, 2017

GR653A Day 15: Saint-Maximin-la-Sainte-Baume - Puyloubiers

After breakfasting on homemade jam and the best baguette ever, we set out in the fog, back through the centre of Saint-Maximin etc. etc., stopping to see the cloister we had missed seeing the evening before. The former monastery building is now a hotel, but it offers rooms to pilgrims at a special rate of €80, which is not too bad for a luxury hotel in a medieval cloister.

We then left... that town, and I am happy to say I will never need to spell its name again! We headed across farming country to Ollieres, stepping off the road to let a circus go by.

After Ollieres our route took us through a private domain and hunting reserve, with a sign asking hikers to call the guard before crossing the property to make sure no hunt was underway. I did so and got the all-clear. 

After this long, hot stretch of Mediterranean scrub, the next town was Pourrieres. Planning on being there in time for lunch, we had not brought any provisions with us, to save the weight. But the problem in France is that all the shops also close for lunch... and there is not a bar on every corner like in Italy! The only café in town that was open was in the main square, and all they had was toasted cheese and tomato sandwiches. Delicious, anyway, with a glass of lemonade and a hiker's appetite!

The only bar in town

After our lunch break, we left Département 83 - Var and entered Département 06 - Bouches du Rhone! 
We have now crossed two whole regions! 

After 24 km we finally came to our destination: Puyloubier, a delicious little village under Mont Saint Victoire.

Here we were warmly received by Louis and Maggie of Chambres d'Hôte Lou Ribas, who welcomed us with an aperitif of local vin rosé and homemade tapenade, sardinade and anchouade on toasted bread. 

Unfortunately it was a little cool for swimming in the pool, but they gave us the "grande chambre" for the price of a regular room since there was no-one else around! 
As well as plenty of maps and advice, homemade herbal tea... and my first ever glass of Pastis!

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