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  France   The Calanques between Marseille and Cassis.


Panorama from the youth hostal La Fontasse.... Panorama from the road from the youth hostal to Cassis.

Panorama from the youth hostal La Fontasse. Panorama from the road from the youth hostal to Cassis.

Youth hostal La Fontasse.... Youth hostal La Fontasse, Francis, Alouette, Nardine and ??

The youth hostal La Fontasse.  Youth hostal La Fontasse, Francis, Alouette, Nardine and ??


When I  was 18  in 1967 I went on holiday hitch-hiking with a friend in France. Ultimately we arrived at a youth hostel (Auberge de jeunesse La Fontasse)  in the middle in the wilderness at Cassis near Marseille. Francis was the hostel warden. ("pere aubergiste") The first day I thought: ,, What am I doing here?” Water was brought by car. There was a bad road to the coast road between Marseille and Cassis. The road from the youth hostel to Cassis was impassable for a car.

Later however I appreciated the place, nature and environment very much. I have gone for some years to the youth hostel. We had a little tent with us and stayed  for a month. With us there were each year acquaintances from a lot of countries (France, Sweden, Germany and even America). We swam in the Calanques (Mediterranean fjords.). First you had to walk almost an hour in the heat and the noise of the cicadas (a noisemaking insect in the Mediterranean Region)
The last year (1972), when I was there with my woman, the swimmingplace was no longer so quiet. That was the last time I’ve been there.
I did keep in touch with der Hermann from Germany (unfortunately passed away in 2019). Also one of the always returning visitors.

On Internet I saw the youth hostel still exists.  

***Stephan Brown mailed me about Francis:
Francis died many years ago (maybe around 1979?) at the tender age of only 39.... something to do with his heart.
Jean Pierre, who was a friend of Francis way back when... took over the hostel.

I remember Jean Pierre. But what a sad  news.

Afga camera

The photos were made with an Afga camera. There were twelve photographs on a photographic film. More I did not have. One year the camera failed and I had no photos at all. The photos are faded, but they show, what I mean (I hope)

panorama fromthe road to Cassis  calanque, Françoise.. panorama Cassis  Harry with te tent in front of the youth hostal

Extra: For visitors, who also have good memories of this youth hostel.

I want to thank Stephan Brown and Gerhard Heller for their mail. They also belong to the returning visitors of La Fontasse.
Hermann (Hermann Schepp) has send me a number of photos. I have placed some of it on this page.

youth hostal La Fontasse youth hostal La Fontasse

panorama panorama youth hostal La Fontasse

 a postcard a postcard Cassis, Calanques

the terrace the terrace

chess chess


  Frankrijk   De Ardèche,  juli 2010

See also holidays 2011 in Picardy and Normandy.and holidays 2017 in Provence.

In 2010 we went on holiday in France. Of course we have visited France more often. But I have written nothing about these visits on the site.

In the many caves in this area it isn't allowed to photograph. So unfortunately ....
We were on the camping near Joyeuse.

The camping near Joyeuse.
A small river runs near the camping.... A small river runs near the camping.
A small river runs near the camping.  A small river runs near the camping.  A small river runs near the camping, where you can swim. I was especially found among the many plants to photograph insects.
It is 10 minutes walk to the vineyards and woods.... It is 10 minutes walk to the vineyards and woods.
It is 10 minutes walk to the vineyards and woods.  It is 10 minutes walk to the vineyards and woods.


It was a few minutes walk to Joyeuse. You cross a dry riverbed.

Like many towns you have nice views from the old town (behind the church), .
Joyeuse means cheerful. According to legend, Charlemagne had a great time here with a lady. According to another legend, it is named after the sword of Charlemagne, which was called Joyeuse. He put it into the ground to indicate where a city to be built.
In the old center is a church, a castle which is a town hall now and a chestnut museum.

Joyeuse uitzicht.
To Joyeuse  To Joyeuse  To Joyeuse.. Joyeuse  Joyeuse 
The chestnut-museum in Joyeuse.... The chestnut-museum in Joyeuse.
The chestnut-museum in Joyeuse. It is located in an ancient monastery of the 17th century. A nice museum, where all kinds of tools and equipment are shown. On one of the pictures you see such shoes with spikes. With this spikes the skin was removed from the chestnut. There is furniture, which are made of chestnut wood. You can also see the products, which are made from chestnuts.
The chestnut-museum in Joyeuse.  The chestnut-museum in Joyeuse... The chestnut-museum in Joyeuse.  The chestnut-museum in Joyeuse.
chestnuts  chestnuts In the surroundings you'll see chestnuts.

A few places nearby:


Ruoms is especially fun to visit on Fridays when there is market. You can walk to the river Ardèche.

Ruoms, the river the Ardèche... Ruoms.. Ruoms, the river the Ardèche
The road to Ruoms... The road to Ruoms
The road to Ruoms runs along the Ardèche. You can see the river in the depth. What you do with the warning signs of  "falling rocks" I will never understand. How do you dodge the stones.


Vogüé is a town near the river Ardèche against the rocks.
At the top is a castle, you can visit. There are paintings exhibited. When we visited the castle, there was the art of aboriginal people from Australia.
The castle belongs still to the family Vogüé. Late 12th century it belonged to Raymond I de Vogüé. In the 14th century there were other owners. But in 1603 came back into possession of the family.
During the French revolution the castle was national property. In 1840it was bought by Marquis Léonce of Vogüé.

Vogüé, castle.... Vogüé, view from the garden of the castle.
Vogüé, castle... Vogüé. Vogüé,art of aboriginal people from Australia in the castle.



Aubenas is the largest city in the area. The old town is situated high above the Ardeche.

The castle is open to visitors. Unfortunately only guided, which lasts an hour and a half. The views are beautiful again.
Furthermore there is the Dome St. Benoit. The monastery is a ruin, but the tower is still there.

Aubenas, castle  Aubenas, view.. Aubenas, the Dôme St. Benoit  Aubenas, view

Bambouseraie de Prafrance

This bamboo park was created in the 19th century by Eugène Mazel. (Start 1856) Unfortunately, he died bankrupt in 1890 in Marseille.
In 1902 Prafrance was acquired by Gaston Nègre. To cover the cost of maintenance there was also a nursery. In 1945 his son Mourice Nègre inherited the estate. In 1953 the park opened to the public. 
In 2004, his daughter Muriel Nègre took over the sole management of the estate. 
It is 34 acres and there grow 150 species of bamboo. There is a bamboo nursery.
There is also a Lao village and there is built a Japanese garden. (Valley of the Dragons)
You can see the sequoias high above the bamboo.

Bambouseraie de Prafrance... Bambouseraie de Prafrance
Bambouseraie de Prafrance  Bambouseraie de Prafrance  Bambouseraie de Prafrance.. Bambouseraie de Prafrance  Bambouseraie de Prafrance
Bambouseraie de Prafrance. The Laotian village.... Bambouseraie de Prafrance. The Laotian village.
Bambouseraie de Prafrance. The Laotian village.  Bambouseraie de Prafrance. The Laotian village.  Bambouseraie de Prafrance.The Laotian village. The Laotian village. The plants grow in Asia. There grow such as banana trees, taro and sugar cane.
Bambouseraie de Prafrance. The Valley of the Dragon.... Bambouseraie de Prafrance. The Valley of the Dragon.. Bambouseraie de Prafrance. The Valley of the Dragon.. Bambouseraie de Prafrance. The Valley of the Dragon.
The Valley of the Dragon.

The year 2000 is the Chinese year of the dragon. This year Erik Borja, a French sculptor and architect,  presented the Dragon Valley project. The water is the dragon.
The green on the photos is not grass but small bamboos. There are many Japanese maples and pruned pine trees.
Bambouseraie de Prafrance. Watergarden.... Bambouseraie de Prafrance. Bonsais There is also a water garden with water lilies and papyrus and a number of bonsai.

Annecy (iets heel anders!!!)

On the way back to the Netherlands we stayed one day in Annecy. Lake Annecy is beautiful. The old part of town is nice, but very touristy.
In the castle is now a museum.
In the park by the lake, you can rest well.

Lake Annec.y ... Annecy
Annecy, castle... Annecy
Lake Annecy   Annecy   Annecy .. Annecy, view  Annecy, park  Annecy, park


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