Provence 1986

This was the last family summer holiday, although just 3 of us for this one. The parents had been on an spring break to Sanary in the south of France in 1984, travelling down by coach, and decided to get the coach down to Provence – specifically Port Grimaud, just over the bay from St Tropez.

London to the Med is a long way on a coach, basically 24 hours with a couple of loo and fuel stops, and not a great experience. I had my first Walkman and a few cassettes – I can only remember Suzanne Vega’s first album, but there was probably Marillion’s first one in there as well (the pictures show me wearing 2 Marillion t-shirts so it’s not a difficult assumption).

The company offered two main day trips – one to Monte Carlo and the other around the Gorges du Verdon. To this day, I have no idea why I decided not to go to Monte Carlo, something I really regret now. That trip seemed quite exciting as there were forest fires in the area, and the coach passed areas where the central reservation on the autoroute was still smouldering.
The trip around the Gorges du Verdon was pretty spectacular, especially when you consider we were in a coach. I’ve driven around the Gorges as well and it’s tight in a car in places!

As well as the big day trips, there were also excursions over to St Tropez and we went over a couple of times. On one evening, there had been some big party on one of the huge yachts and there were all sorts of glamorous people in gold and white making their way away. The crowd seemed to recognise them but we had no idea who they were – although we do suspect there was a Monaco Princess there.
As we went past one house in St Tropez, Eamonn the rep told us it belonged to Brigitte Bardot and that you can sometimes see her there, although she’s very private. Pretty much as he said it, a lady sprang up and dashed into the house – there is a very good chance it was Bardot herself.