Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Porquerolles


 "The sea nibbled at bone-white sand. She stood alone, lost in thought, where shallow ripples nudged shells into lace patterns across the beach."
from The Sea Garden

I am so looking forward to going back to Porquerolles for a few days this summer. The island insinuated itself into my imagination when I discovered its beauties a few years ago, and forms the backdrop of The Sea Garden. This time I want to take far more photographs than I did last time, and sail over to the other Golden Isles - and swim in turquoise sea again. In the meantime, here are a few illustrated extracts from the book. 

   "It was a wide, dusty square dominated by a church with a distinctly Spanish look. Three sides were edged with eucalyptus and the canopies of restaurants and shops. She made her way round, moving slowly from pool to pool of harsh light and shadow, towards what looked like a hotel at the far end." 
 


"In the morning sun, the Place d’Armes was an empty white expanse. Activity was confined to the shops and cafés under the trees. Ellie bought a guide book and a large scale map from the nearest tabac and sat on a low wall in the shade to open out the map. When she couldn’t locate the Domaine de Fayols immediately, an unwarranted spike of panic rose. But there it was, marked on the southern rim of the island, close to a cove and a lighthouse. Until then she had had only the word of Laurent de Fayols that the place would exist when she arrived." 

    "By ten o’clock she was waiting outside the hotel. No cars were permitted on the island and most people who passed were on bicycles: dented, clicking, cumbersome machines of uncertain vintage."
 

  "Where the path split, the beach was signposted, Plage d’Argent. The scent of pines, intensified by a dense heat, mingled with the unmistakably salty tang of the shore." 

 
  "Neither of them spoke. The driver kept his eyes ahead. Scrubby evergreen bushes released a strong scent of resin and honey; forests of pine gave way to gentle south-facing vineyards. The path was quiet, disturbed only by the ululation of early summer cicadas. She craned around eagerly to see what plants thrived naturally, sitting up tall on the seat.

   "It was a wild and romantic place, Laurent de Fayols had written, the whole island once bought as a wedding gift to his wife by a man who had made his fortune in the silver mines of Mexico. One of three small specks in the Mediterranean known as the Golden Isles, after the oranges, lemons and grapefruit that glowed like lamps in their citrus groves."
 

5 comments:

Jo DeHart said...

Sigh. So beautiful.

Marcheline said...

Just finished "The Sea Garden"... lovely!! It's great to see photos of the place that inspired it!

Gill Edwards said...

lovely photos, lovely passages, lovely teasing
Gill x

Muriel Jacques said...

I am from Hyeres, and I go to Porquerolles at least once a year. I love the light there. That said, I am not sure that I could live there full time!

Vanessa said...

It looks gorgeous. I once read a Maigret novel that was set on Porquerolles and captured the sense of it well - but you have no doubt captured it, too, in your usual readable style.

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