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Toulon

Saga Sapphire blog - Captains' blogs

4th October, 2012

Toulon

We followed, at a suitable distance, a French nuclear powered submarine into the harbour of Toulon, one of France’s largest naval bases. Just an hour or so later I was hosting the harbour master and a few local tourist officials to a small exchange of gifts to celebrate the first call of Saga Sapphire into their port. I remarked that it was an unexpected pleasure to have a naval escort for our maiden arrival - smiles all round. I also mentioned the call of Saga Rose when we had been carrying out a cruise to celebrate the 200th anniversary of the Battle of Trafalgar, a little inept you might think, but in fact the harbour master was probably more well informed about Nelson than I. It was a good talking point.

I joined my wife in town around lunchtime and we met up, with others, to sample a little of the French cafe culture. There were plenty to choose from and Toulon, or at least the old part, is a charming city, full of tree lined streets, narrow alleys, open air markets, squares surrounded by grand buildings and of course, cafes.

The narrow alleys had six or seven storey apartments on either side where old cast iron balconies overlooked original ornamental light fittings strung between the buildings. One could almost imagine that, in times gone by, wives throwing over the washing water to the street below, only for it to run away down the pavements centre drainage channel, assuming it hadn’t drenched an innocent passer-by on its downward progress.

Toulon

We came across a small square, half filled with cafe seating and large umbrellas, overlooked by the magnificent ‘Theatre Municipal’, which was celebrating its 150th year. There were, of course, the usual assortment of shops one might expect, but one that caught our eye was ‘Jeux Jouets’ an unusual toy shop for children of all ages and which had a number of toddlers' cast metal pedal cars, of an early 20th century design, sat on the pavement outside. They were suitably secured, no doubt to stop some errant child from racing off down the street. Another shop was named ‘Saga’, with ‘low cost make up’ under the title. Are we branching out?

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.

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