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1st August 2016
Wild Swimming Provence
You may already know that I’m part labrador, on my father’s side.
It’s one of the reasons I’m constantly thinking about food and will leap into every body of water I come to.
I’ll swim in rivers cold (like that frozen one I jumped into in Sweden) or warm, the sea no matter the season and any lake I can get close enough to leap into. Swimming, particularly “Wild Swimming” really is one of my greatest pleasures.
I even have two Wild Swimming books on my shelves.
One of them suggested the Gorge du Verdon for a good dip. So off we went.
We rent a boat on the edge of Lac de Sainte-Croix and made our way into the gorge.
A 700 meter deep, limestone canyon with brilliant turquoise waters.
It’s known as France’s answer to The Grand Canyon, and is one of the biggest attractions in the south.
We joined every man and his dog paddling upstream.
Finally found our own quiet little cove and leapt in.
The water’s warm, safe and clean.
The only boats available are electric, peddle or paddle powered, so no nasty diesel fumes.
The steep walls of the gorge offer many an opportunity to clamber up and leap from as high as you dare.
Which naturally I did with all the grace you’d expect.
Palm print bikini
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If you swim to the bottom or over to the shallows you’ll find the floor is made of squidgy, toe wriggly clay.
Rich in nutrients, as smooth as a mask from the most expensive of tubes, it’s wonderful for your skin.
I mean truly, it’ll make you almost as beautiful as this…
If you’re very lucky.
Along the way you’ll find waterfalls for bathing under and jumping from.
Of course it’ll be much quieter if you go out of season, but even with the hoards it’s a wonderful day out.
After a morning of playing like happy otters in the blue gorge, we headed into the mountains in search of lunch.
We didn’t have to go very far to discover Aiguines, a picture perfect town with crumbling streets and peeling paint, just begging to be explored.
Backless yellow dress* – use woah20 for 20% off
(*Which I wore to death all holiday! So light and comfortable in the heat)
Braided sandals // Aviators
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We shopped and wandered the streets.
Cooling off on cold stone doorsteps whenever possible.
We ducked into a little place on the main square for lunch.
Not that little.
Where we had country paté and trout from the river below.
All washed down with iced local rosé.
But it wasn’t until the afternoon when I came across my finest discovery of the holiday.
Trust me when I say this is not something I say lightly… but I found the best ice cream I’ve ever had.
It wasn’t even Italian.
A soft serve from a shack beside the road. Feast your eyes.
Chocolate on the bottom, salted caramel on top.
Smooth, thick, creamy, not too sweet.
I also tried the apricot, made with local fruit and it tasted just like my grandma’s apricot jam.
Homemade and truly out of this world.
If you make it to Aiguines, you’ll see it as you drive in on the left. It’s run by a charming old French man and it’s going to change your life!
Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I need to go and dig in the freezer.
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