Our all time favorite summer slow-life things to do (2020 update)
We’re looking forward to the summer : it’s the time of the year we can kick our shoes off, meet up with friends, make the most of the looong summer days, have loads of drinks with our mates and practice slow life.
If you’re unfamiliar with the expression, Slow Life, means taking things at the proper pace to make the most of life. There’s always a slow way to do things : from preparing dinner, our hobbies and our philosophy. Slow life is everywhere at Le Mas des Lecques.
This isn’t an exhaustive list of things to do and places to visit, but it is clearly 8 slow things we can’t wait to do this summer:
1/ Drinkies at Sporting Plage
Every inhabitant of St Cyr sur Mer has their favorite hangout place. For us, it has to be le Sporting Plage. It’s a private beach located between the Grain de Sable and La Patouille. Every Friday evening, we try to go down to the beach for an “apéro” and admire the sunset.
Stéphanie and Eric Gaia are there to welcome you every day with a beaming smile. We personally know most of the employees there as we saw most of them growing up. You may even bump into one of our children who help out from time to time.
For a “pumpitup” evening, you can count on le Sporting Plage as your go-to place. The rosés and beers are great, plus they offer nibbles with charcuterie boards, local cheeses, cheesie toasties and loads of other finger foods. The Sporting Page closes when the sun goes down, so don’t hesitate to move on to one of our favorite restaurants : find the list of our favorite places to eat here.
Of course, we can’t mention the Sporting Plage without mentioning their counterparts : La Plage de Sophie and Chez Nono (but we really love going to Le Sporting).
2/ Breakfast at Papillon
Papillon is the best placed restaurant in the neighborhood. It faces East, and is located at the crux between the port and the beach. Papillon offers traditional French breakfasts with Croissants and Tartines, and you’ll be at the front seats to admire a classic Lecquois morning facing the sun on one of the most beautiful bays in the world.
3/ Snorkeling at the Pain de Sucre
This is my summer ‘madeleine de Proust’ : I love biking down to the port with a pair of flippers, a mask and a snorkel and paddle all along the coast close to La Madrague port (don’t worry, you won’t need a wetsuit in the summer). The snorkeling starts on a tiny beach off La Madrague port.
To get there, go to the big dirt colored house with red shutters that’s on the far left of the port (when facing the sea). Just below this villa is a mini beach where you can leave your belongings and get into the sea without too much difficulty. I usually get in the water there and paddle until the Pain de Sucre which is a large rock that kids like to jump off. The underwater views and turquoise water is to die for!
L’île verte is an island off the coast of La Ciotat. You can see it from the beach in Les Lecques. Its claim to fame is that it is the only island in the Bouches du Rhone that has trees on it, but it is also inside the Calanques National Park which protects the biodiversity of the site and beautiful beaches. A boat leaves the port of La Ciotat several times a day See the boat schedule here. Beyond the beautiful scenery there’s an amazing restaurant (the only one on the island) called “le restaurant de l’île verte”. The food is gorgeous (fresh fish, grilled meat, salads and pizzas). It’s not to chi-chi but that makes it even better!
You will have to book in advance if you want a table (especially if your party is large), but it’s well worth the day trip.
6 / A Stand-Up Paddle session
On the beach, next to Le Sporting Plage, there is a surf club called LEC (Lecques Energie Club). William, Ludivine and their team are super helpful and rent out all sorts of shapes and sizes of Stand-Up Paddle (SUP) boards
To rent a board, it’s only €20/hour and SUPing (as the pros call it) is a great way to get a workout (it is said that you burn no less than 600 calories / hour!) and to get a tan. When the sea is really calm, it’s like walking on water!
Tip: in the summer, it’s best to go for a SUP session in the morning (or before the winds build up). Especially if you’ve never done it before, you’ll be better off SUPing on completely calm water. Ask the LEC staff about the winds before you venture out as well, as you can quickly feel confident when the wind is pushing you, but the paddle back can be a nightmare. If you have booked a SUP and the wind is picking up, we suggest you paddle out opposite the wind and paddle back “downwind”. Also, the sea gets a bit choppy around lunchtime, so we suggest you go out around 9am or 5pm for a better experience.
7/ A healthy meal at the Olala Café
The Olala café, is a bit of Byron Bay and Bali imported to France. The café offers delicious freshly sqeezed fruit and vegetable juices, avo on toast, salads and sandwiches which are as healthy as they are delicious and colorful. It’s a great place to eat without having a guilt trip!
The Olala Café is on the beachfront between the port and the Post Office.
8/ A day trip to Porquerolles
OK, so this is a bit of a trip, but it’s worth doing once, especially if you’re staying for a couple of weeks. This is a family friendly day trip to one of the most beautiful islands in the region. Porquerolles is a car-free island so everyone has to cycle around and that’s exactly what makes it into such an adventure. The beaches are virtually empty and made with a magical white and sparkling sand making the sea look like the Bahamas!
In the same day, you will be crossing the med on a ferry, biking, and swimming in the clearest waters of the mediterranean. You can rent a bike in situ (plus they have all sorts of options for families and small children) and buy a picnic or have lunch there in one of the delicious restaurants but we definitely recommend cycling to the Plage Notre Dame. Don’t forget to bring flippers, a mask and a snorkel : the sea beds are stunning.
The ferry to Porquerolles leaves a port called Presqu’ile de Giens (Near Hyères) and it will take you +/- 45 mins to get there from Le Mas des Lecques. It would be a pity to miss out if you had the time.