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Cold Warrior
06-05-2008, 03:23 AM
Well, we're past the midway point of our stay here in France and it's been wonderful. An initial glich with the hotel as my girlfriend wanted to pick a "quaint," small hotel (20 rooms) in Juan les Pins (Villa Nina (http://http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotel_Review-g187229-d610104-Reviews-Hotel_Villa_Nina-Juan_les_Pins_French_Riviera_Cote_d_Azur_Provence. html#)). It was a bit awful, with a room so small two people literally couldn't move about without bumping into one another. So, after the first night, we moved to a bit more modern place in Cannes, just off the Croisette.

Thanks in large part to the economic incompetence of this administration, it's quite expensive here now. With the Euro at 1.6 dollars, a bistro meal for two including apertifs and a bottle of wine, which used to be around 220 FF (divide by 6), is now 80 Euro (multiply by 1.6)!! Combine that with hundreds of Euros worth of perfumes (from Grasse) and hand-blown glass (from Biot) and it's turning quite expensive. Ah well...


http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee88/scdiver27/ValbonneHotel.jpg

Valbonne, in the hills above Sophia-Antipolis and one of my favorite places as it attracts less tourists, was the site of the southern France scenes from French Kiss. It's a great place to start a French adventure with cafe-au-lait and brioche.


http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee88/scdiver27/PalaceofthePopes-Avignon.jpg

The Palace of the Popes in Avignon (2 hours west of Cannes on the A8) housed a succession of Popes who initially fled Rome during civil wars there (prompted by the French king).


http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee88/scdiver27/PontdAvignon2.jpg

The Pont d'Avignon, constructed in the 10th century and spanning the Rhone, partially collapsed in 1668.


http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee88/scdiver27/Glassblowers-Biot.jpg

The glass blowers of Biot produce signature glassware prized around the world....

DarkScribe
06-05-2008, 07:41 AM
Nice pics, CW.

Shannon
06-05-2008, 09:01 AM
Excellent! I'm jealous. There is a sign for shoes in your first pic.:D

LibraryLady
06-05-2008, 09:49 AM
Just one more trip to France.........and I could die happy.



Wonderful pictures. :)

Cold Warrior
06-05-2008, 05:44 PM
Rainy day today. Spent the day driving around Verdun and later to San Tropez. Didn't get to Cassis, a fishing village wherein they produce some of the finest white in the region due to the bad weather. Not many pics today, but plenty left from previous days, including...


http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee88/scdiver27/GrandCasino-Monoco.jpg

If you call me, call me Al. The Grand Casino in Monaco has never appealed to me much, but my girlfriend liked it.


http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee88/scdiver27/CentralFountain-AixenProvence.jpg

In Aix en Provence, the city of fountains and the Cours Mirabeau, the central fountain is the largest.


http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee88/scdiver27/CapFerrat.jpg

Cap Ferrat, as seen from the mountain village of Eze, separates Beaulieu sur Mer, in the foreground, from Villefranche.


http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee88/scdiver27/Antibes.jpg

Antibes, perhaps my favorite place on earth, founded many centuries BC by the Greeks, hosts numerous outdoor bistros, all serving fresh grilled poisson from the Med.

Gingersnap
06-05-2008, 06:13 PM
Great pics! I'll bet you guys are having a wonderful time.

What perfumes exactly (name, type, creator, estimated USD and shipping). :D

Lager
06-05-2008, 07:58 PM
nice pictures, thanks for posting them. I'd love to be there as well. What's the best meal you've had so far?

Elspeth
06-05-2008, 08:02 PM
I am very, very jealous.

*Sniff*

:)

Cold Warrior
06-06-2008, 08:04 AM
nice pictures, thanks for posting them. I'd love to be there as well. What's the best meal you've had so far?

Definitely on the sea in Golfe Juan, at almost the exact point where Napolean landed upon his return from Elba and subsequent march to Paris. The first place I lived in France was a 100 year old rental house in an orange grove up the hill overlooking Golfe Juan, so I have fond memories of the place as I used to walk to the harbor regularly for dinner overlooking the sea. The situatation on the plage is that the Route de Cannes runs right along the water with a very nice, wide walkway between the beach and the road. Across the streets are the restaurants who set up tables on the walkway and bring the food from the shop, crossing the street.

Started with a campari and soda as an apertif, folllowed by Fleurs de Courgettes, with a very nice lamb and grilled summer vegetables, accompanied by the inevitable pomme frites. Washed it down with a passable Chauteneuf de Pape. Finished with a taste of my girlfriend's creme brulee, a Calvados, and a double expresso. Very nice.


http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee88/scdiver27/CapdAntibes.jpg

As a matter of fact, the Cap d'Antibes as seen from Golfe Juan. As Fitzgerald so beautifully described...


On the pleasant shore of the French Riviera, about half way between Marseilles and the Italian border, stands a large, proud, rose- colored hotel. Deferential palms cool its flushed façade, and before it stretches a short dazzling beach. Lately it has become a summer resort of notable and fashionable people; a decade ago it was almost deserted after its English clientele went north in April. Now, many bungalows cluster near it, but when this story begins only the cupolas of a dozen old villas rotted like water lilies among the massed pines between Gausse’s Hôtel des Étrangers and Cannes, five miles away.

The hotel and its bright tan prayer rug of a beach were one. In the early morning the distant image of Cannes, the pink and cream of old fortifications, the purple Alp that bounded Italy, were cast across the water and lay quavering in the ripples and rings sent up by sea-plants through the clear shallows. Before eight a man came down to the beach in a blue bathrobe and with much preliminary application to his person of the chilly water, and much grunting and loud breathing, floundered a minute in the sea. When he had gone, beach and bay were quiet for an hour. Merchantmen crawled westward on the horizon; bus boys shouted in the hotel court; the dew dried upon the pines. In another hour the horns of motors began to blow down from the winding road along the low range of the Maures, which separates the littoral from true Provençal France.

- F. Scott Fitzgerald, Tender is the Night



http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee88/scdiver27/LookingupatEze.jpg

Looking up into the medieval hill town of Eze (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/%C3%88ze), one can pay 5 Euros at the top to enter the "exotique" gardens, lots and lots of cacti (which was exotic to my European girlfriend)!


http://i231.photobucket.com/albums/ee88/scdiver27/MonacoHarbor-RoyalCastle.jpg

Monaco harbor, across which you can see Al's place. Real estate is a bit pricy, but if you're looking for 100 square meter apartment (two rooms), with a terrase and a sea view, I can locate you one for 5.5M Euro.