“Look at that sea, girls–all silver and shadow and vision of things not seen. We couldn’t enjoy its loveliness any more if we had millions of dollars and ropes of diamonds.” ― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
We have been to many seaside towns, villages and cities during our stay in Provence, near the French Riviera. We had a picnic in Monte Carlo, ice cream in Saint-Tropez, a baguette in Antibes, and apéritifs in Cannes. We had a rock skipping contest in Nice, a spin on the ferris wheel in Marseille and a swim next to gypsy caravans in Saints-Marie-de-la-Mer.
We even wandered through the mythical marshlands in Camargue National Park accompanied by the pink flamingos and white horses. After all of these experiences, we determined during our day in Cassis, that the French have mastered, and possibly invented, a day by the seashore. They come with their children, their lovers, their friends. They come with their dogs, their music, their déjeuner gastronomique (gourmet lunch). They come in style – navy striped linen, soft blankets and a leisurely amount of time.
The children ride on the Jules Verne vintage carousel as their parents sip wine perfumed by the sea. There is a sense that the sun doesn’t set until the French have completed their day by par la mer (by the sea). As I sit worrying about dinner and what I will prepare and if we will make it home at a decent hour, I realize just how much I have to learn about the seashore from this culture that has made it an art, as they have with so many things.