Bormes is great, but we were itching to explore some new territory. There are three different islands just off the coast of Southern France that we wanted to visit: Ile de Levant, Ile de Port Cros and Ile de Porquerolles. We chose Porquerolles because it’s the biggest of the three islands, just 15 minutes from the mainland, and tickets were only 17EURO round trip (compared to 25EURO to the other islands.)
Did I also mention there are vineyards there?! Oh yeah!
We were dropped off at the port in Hyeres, which to our surprise was not the main port, but a smaller port about 10 minutes outside of the city center. Once we were on board, the trip took only 15 minutes and was a painless sea voyage to new soil. Other passengers already were preparing for their day on the island by passing a bottle of rose around.
Once we officially set foot on Porquerolles, we walked from the port through the main street of the village which was thick with pedestrians, small cafes and local bakeries. Just outside the village we found a path that lead to a 13th century fort. Unfortunately, the majority of the fort was blocked off from tourists, so we couldn’t explore much at all, but the amazing views of the island’s beaches and vineyards made it worthwhile.
We headed down from the fort to visit some of the wineries we’d seen from above. On our way down, we passed an old moulin (or windmill) that was out of commission, but restored for photo-ops. A shame considering the wind on the island that day could have generated quite a lot of energy!
We continued to follow signs to what was listed as one of the wineries. We walked through vineyards, saw more signs, but sadly we found no winery. We kept walking, thirsty and discouraged, but as luck would have it, the dirt road that was supposed to take us to the winery, dead-ended at a small secluded beach called ‘L’Oustaou de Dei’.
This fortuitous discovery was a special glimpse into the behavior of French families. Parents snorkeling with their kids and actually interacting with them, what a concept! We laid out for a short while before our hunger forced us to head back to the village for a mid-day snack. We grabbed a prosciutto sandwich and kebab and looked for a place near the port to eat them.
During our search we finally came across a chateau that offered tastings! To our chagrin, Domaine Persinsky had closed for the typical 3-hour lunch just before we arrived, so we noted the location and vowed to come back after lunch.
Instead, we took our food to the nearest beach, Plage D’Argent, and the second our toes hit the powder-fine sand, we were glad we decided to eat here! The water was crystal clear and so cool against our skin that we decided to stay for the remainder of the early afternoon. Still thirsty, we made our way back to Domaine Persinsky.
There we met Stephanie, co-owner and wife of winemaker Alexis Perzinsky who showed us their blanc, rose and rouge. The blanc, our clear favorite, was unfortunately not available while we were there. A blend of Rolle and Semillon, it danced across the palate with light citrus and honeysuckle notes and would have been the perfect accompaniment at the beach. Needless to say, we weren’t surprised it sold out so quickly!
The rose tasted like biting into fresh strawberries while the rouge reminded us of sipping cherry cola.
After the tasting, we made our way back to the port in time to catch the last boat back to the mainland. This was clearly a day well spent seeing new sights, beaches, and of course, tasting wine!