Slowly, ever so slowly, the world is waking up from a year of lockdown. Our strange hiatus in our homes has left us with two overriding emotions. First, we feel penned in and cannot wait to get out into the world again. Second, there is a hint of hesitancy, even fear maybe, of going to places where there might be crowds and close contact.
How can we hope to find our mojo with such competing emotional states?
An answer could be to get away from our homes and be in the outdoors. Rather than go on holidays to places where we would be clustered together, we go on a holiday where we can stretch our legs with peace of mind.
A place that could offer shelter and relaxation in Bandol is known as “Ville Tranquille”, for when the tourist season closes, the beauty of the landscape and the sheltered bay offer the perfect getaway. Bandol is also a place where outdoor activities are an essential component of your stay. There is no need to go to Paris and muse in the art galleries and museums and feel anxious. Instead, take in some of these outdoor activities in the beautiful south of France.
Sentier Littoral is a hiking trail that hugs the coastline. It is a route of such beauty that no matter how many times you tread its path, you will be awed by its beauty. It is a paradise that will refresh and rejuvenate you after such a difficult time.
Along the way, there will be beaches that offer seclusion that will give you peace of mind. Yet, at the same time, the world will feel big again, and you will feel that sense of freedom you craved for so long. Remember to take your swimsuit, as well as a good pair of hiking boots and some water. You could give a whole day to your hike and still want to come back for more.
Plage de Renecros
Although not secluded, Plage de Renecros is never a beach that is overrun with tourists. The area does not have the same trappings of the larger, busier resorts, so it has a quaint hometown feel. While you are reasonably remote, you might find this reassuring – more importantly, the local bars and restaurants are renowned for being warm and welcoming and will do all they can to make you feel safe and happy.
The beach itself is wonderfully clean and perfect for a family. It is the ideal way to feel relaxed and let the world’s worries drift into the background.
Plage du Capelan
Depending on the time of year you visit, you will find Plage du Capelan popular with families or wonderfully tranquil and secluded. It is a mostly unspoiled beach with shallow waters and rocky outcrops. There is a sense of a genuine paradise about this place.
While you might not want to go in high season, when this could be a little too crowded to relax your sense of anxiety, it is a perfect place to feel mindful and present in the offseason.
Foret de Roustagnon
Another hiking trail worth your time is Foret de Roustagnon. Again, it offers beautiful views of the coastline but with the added benefit of providing some genuine exertion. If you have gained a few pounds during the lockdown, as many of us have, then the walk up Du Roustagnon will help kick start your fitness regime. It has been known for people to run up and then down this relatively steep slope, but you might want to work up to this. Yet, once at the top, the view is worth the effort.
While some of the trail offers quite the adventure, with golf courses and railway bridges, it is worth it for those moments in the forest or on the coast.
One of the best ways to find seclusion is aboard a boat in the middle of the Med. Pirat is renowned for its boat tours and water sports, and more. You can hire some time on a motorboat with your own captain or take to the water and enjoy some snorkelling. There is no end to the activities you can take part in and remember how to live and have fun once more.
You do not have to be social. You can take a boat by yourself and sun yourself on the deck. Plus, there are plenty of creeks and islands where you can escape for time with your bubble without contact with others.
We guarantee that no matter who you speak to, they will tell you that their visit to Pirat was the highlight of their stay in Bandol.
If you have never been scuba diving, then it is something that you need to try. The world beneath the waves is spectacular, filled with animals, fish and fauna that defy belief. Yet, what you will experience when you dive is a serenity beyond that which you have ever experienced.
Situated in Bandol harbor, Bandol Plongee is a dive centre where you can try this activity for the first or five hundredth time. You are provided with all the kit and the training required to dive to your ability safely.
If you are worried about being on a boat with other divers, seek a centre that offers private sessions for your bubble.
Why should you give this a try? Well, when life gets scary and seems out of our control, the one thing we should remember is the importance of living. Scuba Diving should be on your bucket list, especially at this time, because it enhances your connection with this planet we live on. It will help your mental wellbeing.
These are outdoor locations in Bandol where you can seek your freedom anxiety-free. We all need to start living again but at the right time. We may need to be patient before we plan our trip and October or November in the south of France is still wonderfully warm. Stay patient, and all this will be yours soon.
Su Stephens is Owner of Olives & Vines. Olives & Vines is a luxury holiday company based in the South of France offering stays at their beautifully designed holiday house and boutique hotel in Le Castellet.
If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.