Back and forth, hither and yon – whether on my habitual trajectory between Touraine and Paris or further afield… destinations, encounters, events and observations I can’t resist sharing.

Tamariu, Costa Brava

September 26, 2010

Sensing a wince of regret. Certain places you hesitate sharing, like the stellar friend you’re reluctant to introduce around for fear of diluting your quota of their affection. So I’ve stalled, but failed to repress sparkling flashbacks of Tamariu’s low key charm and exceptional setting.

Sampler of its seductions:

Clearest European seawater I’ve experienced that isn’t icy cold.

Kaleidoscopic trove of softly rounded stones at water’s edge you can’t resist pocketing.

Family tableau featuring three generations of women reclining in scant bikinis or topless – looking more comfortable in their skin than modesty police could bear.

Vertiginous hike along the shoreline to a beach shack bistro one cove over, accessible only by foot or boat.  Clambering over rocks, then up and down a narrow path along the pine shaded precipice.  Unfortunately it was off-season and the kitchen closed just as we scrambled down the hot cliff side at 14h30.  Settled for scrumptious potato chips, a cool San Migel and marveling at the craggy scenery, before confronting the half hour return trek.

Tamariu is fishing village resort gem – crescent moon beach ringed by a boardwalk with a couple of shops and a few more restaurants, all cradled within a backdrop of rocky coastline and a steeply rising pine-covered hillside.

It’s midway up Catalonia’s northeast coast, where Costa Brava juts out furthest into the Baleric Sea, and one of 4 little villages attached to the inland municipality of Pallafrugell.  Dramatic topography diverted the coastal road, which runs up from Barcelona then veers inland just south of here.  Isolation has insulated Tamariu from property developers.

Local roads run like spokes of a wheel from Pallafrugell to each village, so people tend to get around by boat.   It’s best to stay put or time excursions for mid or low tourist season, as roads get busy in summer.  Beach weather can extend from mid spring to mid fall, which explains the resort’s appeal for Barcelona and Girona residents.  Our friends rent year round for a weekend getaway.  They tried a secluded hillside villa but with three teenagers to humor, the buzz of village life won out.

There’s a diving school, boats for hire, a couple of hotels, plus a limited offering of rental flats and villas.  Three star Hotel Tamariu is celebrating its 80th birthday. They are right on the beach with 17 rooms, 8 apartments and a solid reputation for service.  The restaurant is quite good and most accommodating.  They catered dinner on the terrace of our friends’ apartment next door.  Service included tablecloths, napkins and all the rest, plus clearing up once we’d headed for bed after a relaxing meal of local catch, Iberian steak or paella.  Another bonus – mark up on wines sold in restaurants here is modest.  Hotel Tamariu

A casual restaurant favored by locals is Es Dofi, further down the promenade.  Simply prepared grilled mussels, razor clams, lightly fried calamari and a potato tortilla, sated our craving for fresh, unpretentious Mediterranean fare.  21 Paseo Mar. Tel: 972 620 043.

While I’m an ardent fan of  islands and beach resorts along France’s Atlantic coast, the friendly ambiance and casual chic of Tamariu is calling me back.

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