Happiness: Immerse in the loveliest little island of Porquerolles

Happiness: Immerse in the loveliest little island of Porquerolles - view of the jagged coastline

It’s early morning when we turn around the bent to glimpse, in the distance at the croissant shape of our destination. I breathe a sight of relief. The loveliest little island of Porquerolles may be small but the ride to this point is nothing short of rickety.

A little over a 20mn bumpy bicycle ride later, from the margins of the heavy dust road, the beach stretches onwards. I therefore stop at the small lookout overlooking the beach. It’s a warm 21 degrees celsius already. The ever changing dawn light reflecting on the trees and the water creates unusual shadows. At the same time the sky is steadily changing from that deep blue tones and ready to explode in an array of colours. The view on my right is that of thick bushes, oak, pine and other trees. In front me, the sea. On my left, a dusty steep set of steps leads down to the sandy beach. La plage d’argent. A crescent of golden sand. Above all a gem that was recently voted the most beautiful beach in Europe. And it’s rather easy to understand why.

Suddenly, the sky burst open in an array of colour

My mate is watching the sunrise from the lower part of the beach. I heard the sound of silence meanwhile as i seat on the ground watching daylight unfold. As the sun rises, an explosion of colours appears. It ranges from pinks and purples to yellows and oranges. At the same time birds are softly chirping away. The smell of pines trees and sea salt is softly enveloping. No interferences. The natural acoustic system. Just the sound of life unfolding. The passing breeze. The shifting tide. It is both romantic and magical. 

It does feel like everything here has stopped in time. Yet it is in perpetual movement. In other words my body just settles as i take in the boundlessness of the sky and the vastness of the landscape. Similarly my mate and i both feel this overwhelming sense of stillness and calm. Beauty. Joy. Above all it is a pressing need to just be mindful of this moment. Being present. 

Swiftly back on our bikes one hour later, we meander through the dusty road as we head for the northwestern tip of the island. Chirping cicadas and chatty birds keep us company. Unspoilt provençal landscape complete the picture. 

The loveliest little island of Porquerolles is a storybook of magic and undeterred beauty

We therefore pursue the remaining of the journey on foot after sweating our way up a steep and jagged hill. The soft morning mist threading its way through the landscape is gently disappearing. We embrace the final bent to glimpse at the tip of the hill. The air is cooler on this side as a gentle breeze from the aquamarine waters greets us. The inexorably indolent blue sea and the morning sun shimmering on the surface beckons us as we move closer. 

This part of the island has an almost unnatural brilliance. On one hand salty blues spread as far as the eye can see. The two brothers rock formation surges from the sea like a jewel in the coastal crown. On the other hand the craggy landscape is reminiscent of that on the other side of the island. A landscape of twisty cliff paths. Dramatic calanques; Deep limestone cliffs. In addition, this part of the island is a sanctuary for birds. Nonetheless they are seemingly unphased by our presence. Content with the beauty we have taken in we turn round. Above all we carry with us the scents, light, the rising sun and the majesty of this natural setting. 

Catch-your-breath vistas” around every corner

The day stretches out as we cycle past vineyards and pines. We cruise past sorbet-coloured buildings drenched in bougainvillaea and other flowers. Energetically we pedal further as we explore the nooks and crannies of the islands. We ride straight into tree-lined dust lanes and olive groves. 

Leaving our bikes behind we walk towards the legendary 18th-century landmark Moulin de Bonheur (windmill of happiness) followed by Fort St Agatha. The windmill is a bed of popular stories. One story states that the owner of the windmill was on the hunt for love and happiness. He therefore places an “advert” in which he refers to the mill as his villa of the french riviera.

It is also believed that the windmill was THE dating spot for the ladies of Porquerolles and military men. So, which story do you choose to believe? In addition to these stories, the viewpoint amazes by its gorgeousness. It stretches over the northern side of the island and the thrilling beaches on one side. On the other a viewpoint over the Côte d’Azur.

The loveliest little island of Porquerolles is in short knockout views and unbeatable historic heritage

I read an article that perfectly summarises what i feel the loveliest little island of Porquerolles is. The island “bites deep; it is a dream place that isn’t quite real when you are there and becomes beckoningly real after you’ve gone”. Porquerolles is remarkable by what it is. It is even more remarkable by what it doesn’t have: the parade of flashy. Here we have stared. We have shared some deep stories about ourselves. Emptied our minds and wandered into unchartered reveries. We leave with the indelible soft imprint of the island’s sea breeze in our minds.”

You can read the first part of this Porquerolles exploration here. The remaining of our Provence Alpes Cotes d’Azur road trip is here.

xoxo M. Let’s share our travel inspiration