A Provencal Work-out



New Year rolls around again and I’m truly determined this time to add a different fitness regime to my life….

My previous New Year experiences have included the usual joining the gym, but oh what a yawn that is!  I’m simply not a gym girl – it’s truly dull in my world. I always end up working out for 30 minutes and then spend 1 hour in the restaurant sampling un-healthy choices on the menu.  The last few times I went to the gym in London I actually only went to the restaurant….?   Oh dear.  No, this year there will be no gym joining followed by intense cardio vascular running, rowing, stepping…. and ZUMBA (which put me straight in the chiropractic clinic).

This year it’s about the International Hiking Club of Provence.   I was first introduced to this organisation at the CIPEC school mum’s get together last September.  I loved the sound of it so off I went to my favourite sports superstore, Decathlon.   One pair of walking boots and a backpack later and I was ready.  The club, run by the truly lovely Isabelle, Chris and Sharon meets weekly to hike in various gorgeous locations around the Aix region.  There’s a loyal international following and a friendly and welcoming atmosphere awaiting you.





My first hike involved a steep descent down the side of the cliff to a calanque (cove) near Marseilles.  Walking boots on and armed with a bottle of water, swimming costume and a packed lunch, I joined the jovial group on the walk down steep rocky terrain to the sparkling med waters.  Time for the most divine sea water swim I have ever had in the beautiful calanque of Sugiton – I could have stayed there all day but no slacking with this group.   One cheese sandwich later and it was time for the tough ascent.   It was then that I wished that I hadn’t just gone to the restaurant during my previous London gym club sessions.  Oh my……. what a work out!  The reward – a delightful cafe stop on the way home with a great group of people.

Other hikes have followed to locations that I would never find alone, Isabel and team plan them out well in advance for the group and have been going for many years.  My last hike involved a steep walk up a mountain side through rosemary and thyme.  A sensory delight willing you up up up.  Sadly, my cheese sandwich and I were heavily rained on that day and typically, being English, I was not well kitted out apart from a dodgy looking umbrella…..  Still I managed to eat my sandwich before it got soaked.  Now that’s a committed walker !!!






A final treat before Xmas involved a ramble in the Luberon followed by a superb Xmas set lunch.  My little secret was I only made the lunch….!   So my New Year resolution is to make as many of these superb walks as possible and the eating is a reward.   This experience is not like the gym, it’s nothing like a gym and it deserves great support.    Thank you Isabelle, Chris and Sharon for this great initiative and your hard work.  It is must appreciated!

I am so inspired by this new form of exercise that the kids are now walking too.  They did their first hike up Mount Saint Victoire just before Xmas.  Well done kids!!


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