(France Flag)

(Map of France)

SUNDAY, AUGUST 11, 2013:

Sunday we were docked in the port of Toulon, France from 7:00AM to 6:00PM
The picture below is the Royal Princess backing into her berth at dawn.

All of the images below are thumbnails and can be clicked on for a larger image.

The Royal Princess docking in Toulon, France

I took an all-day shore excursion to Aix-en-Provence, about a two hours drive from Toulon.
The historic city of Aix-en-Provence is located just 20 miles from Marseille France.
The city hotel (City Hall) in Aix is one of the community's most famous landmarks.
It is situated on the picturesque central plaza which features
a stunning 16th century belfry with an astronomic clock.
City Hall in Aix-en-Provence, France A Farmer's Market in Aix-en-Provence, France The streets of Aix-en-Provence, France

The Cours Mirabeau is one of France's great boulevards.
On the south side of the thoroughfare are 17th and 18th century
houses which are occupied today by banks and businesses.
On the north, sunny side, is an array of bookshops and enticing pavement cafés.
The centrepiece of a huge traffic roundabout at the bottom end of the Cours Mirabeau
is the Rotunda Fountain. This ornate structure, 41 metres in diameter and dating from 1860,
consists of two basins. The larger, lower one is guarded by four groups of two lions;
in the water, eight cherubs ride around on swans made of cast bronze. The smaller,
upper basin has a pedestal decorated with leopards' heads. The whole fountain is topped by three
allegorical female statues representing Justice, Agriculture and the Arts. Multiple jets of
water shoot in all directions, criss-crossing in an intricate, sparkling crystal filigree.
The Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence, France Statue du Roi René on the Cours Mirabeau in Aix-en-Provence, France Rotunda Fountain in Aix-en-Provence, France

There was abundant sunshine all day. This was my only day in France this trip.
It was a beautiful sail away from Toulon after returning to the ship around 5:00.
The picture below was taken a couple hours after sailing away from Toulon, France.
Mediterranean sunset off the southern coast of France

The video below is 39 minutes long of my day in southern France.


This morning at 7:00 we docked in Toulon, France. I wasn't ready to wake up at 6:00 this morning when the alarm went off. But I did. I watched us sail into the pretty harbor before dawn, took a shower, ate breakfast and at 7:30 I was off the ship and heading to Aix-en-Provence which is about 90 kilometers from Toulon. Below is the main square in Aix.

Aix-en-Provence was once a Roman town noted for its hot springs. Today it is a pretty little town full of narrow cobblestone streets. The square above is at the end of the Cours Mirabeau, a wide boulevard dotted with fountains and lined with tall sycamore trees.

We walked around the town. Visited a couple churches. Below is city hall and the town belfry beside it behind a tree.

We passed through a busy local market where lots of locals were doing their shopping.

It was a nice stop, lots of local atmosphere. In the tour description it said that we would be given some free time for lunch at the end of the tour. What I didn't know is that would be FOUR hours of free time. That was a bit much to explore this little town, and since it was Sunday a lot of things were closed. And there is only one bathroom in the entire town and it was broken and could not be used. It was also quite warm in the sun. So after a couple hours of walking around I found a shady spot to sit. It was on the side of one of the fountains. I sat there and watched the expensive cars drive by. I don't think there are very many poor people in this town. Of course the sound of running water behind me for two hours didn't help with the afore mentioned problem of no bathrooms.

We got back to the ship at about 4:30 and sailed away at 6:00. The picture below was taken during the sail away of the city of Toulon. I don't know if you can tell in the small picture, but there are a lot of navy ships docked here.

We are now sailing toward tomorrow's port of Livorno, Italy. Which is very near Florence and Pisa where most people will be going. But since I have already been to both of those places, I am going somewhere else. You'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out where.

I really love this new ship. It is the third largest ship in the world. The only two ships larger are those two monsters of Royal Caribbean. There are 4000 passengers and over 1300 crew onboard for this cruise. But you wouldn't know it. Nothing ever seems crowded. As I am writing this I am looking out my window watching the sun set. I will go out on the balcony and snap a picture for you.

The picture above was taken just a few minutes ago, at 8:45pm local time.

Until tomorrow,

Click on email photos for the large full-size photograph.

Click on the arrow above to continue to my next stop, LIVORNO, ITALY!

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