|An open-air art exhibition in the main square at Roquebrune-sur-Argens - with the 'rock' in the background.|
In France, there are two ‘Les Arcs’ – one in Provence and the other, a ski resort in the French alps.
‘Our’ Les Arcs is distinguished by its location ‘sur Argens’ (on the River Argens), but it hasn’t prevented some tourists arriving at the station, complete with skis and puzzled expressions wondering both where the mountains are and where the snow is!
Doubling up again is Roquebrune. There are also two of them – and this time both are in Provence.
|The town at the bottom of Roquebrune. Courtesy Var Matin.|
The local one is in Var, a 15-minute drive from Les Arcs, and like Les Arcs, it is also distinguished by its river – being known as Roquebrune-sur-Argens.
The town nestles on the western slopes of the giant red rock (the origin of 'Roquebrune'), which reminds us so much of the colours of central Australia.
The rock is visible throughout most of the town, its craggy summit towering in the background of many photos.
There is a walking track - part of a Grande Randonnée - which takes you steeply up and around the rock, and offers views over the countryside and to the sea. I have never walked it – one day, perhaps.
|Street art in the town.|
There is a fantastic market – more of an art market than a produce market – though you can certainly buy fresh produce here.
Wander through the streets to see wonderful wood carvers, baskets being made and wool spun before your eyes, beading, book binding, cork making – fascinating crafts where you can stand and watch the practitioners for hours.
Many of them are using the traditional methods of work used in medieval times.
|The distinctive wrought iron bell-tower above the clock.|
Not only that but there is an array of seriously good restaurants – and I challenge anyone to find a better gazpacho than the one we enjoyed – with a dollop of frozen goat’s cheese in the centre of the bowl!
There are walks in the wooded hills to the south – up to a tiny monastery – or you can spend an afternoon at the recreational lake created in the river just outside the town, where you can fish, canoe, hire a paddle boat or just laze around on the shady banks.
There might not be the 500 or so steps that distinguish the ‘other’ Roquebrune, but this one still takes your breath away.