‘Im still standing better than I did before‘ sang Elton John (surprise given the six Martinis he’d just thrown back with Duran Duran) as he pranced on this very street back in ’83…‘lookin’ like a true surviver, feeling like a little kid’ sang I while barely suppressing the urge to skip. And why not? I’m on the Promenade des Anglais…Nice…the Côte d’Azur…France!
A quick sidestep to view the beach delights with a six emotion slam dunk. Curiosity, intrigue, surprise, thrill, fear, reverence. She’s frail, 70+, snowy white curls, helped over the pebbles by two burly lifesavers, plunges in, flips over, topless and backstrokes smoothly out to sea, bosoms a bobbing. Elle est magnifique!
Into a side street to the old town and on through the famous Cour Saleya Saturday markets: poisson and fromage to the left; figues, roses, framboises to the right. Followed by coffee and a wonderfully fluffy omelette with the most interesting frites…slender, concave and just too delish to leave.
Onto the hairdresser where Thierry wields scissors like a chaff cutter while a waif with pouting ruby red lips whisks away a fur ball equivalent in size to a small blond rodent. Fringe be gone!
Another coffee, the pure shot of caffeine jet propelling me up the Avenue Jean Médecin and the steps to the Parc du Château, all the while jabbering step count in French, as far as ‘Vingt‘ that is (213 if you must know). Photo op. Back down the other side to the Porte, a cocktail and aperitif, onto the No.81 and home.
Still jabbering. It’s 2am and I’M STILL BLOODY STANDING!’…damn coffee.
Walked this far, might as well continue
Balls of my feet are aching. A walk from Villefranche-Sur-Mer around the Bd Princess Grace de Monaco, down to Lympia and on to Port Riquier Le Port of Nice will do that. One of those ‘walked this far might as well continue’ moments followed closely by ‘how the feck do I get home’ angst.
Situation needed serious contemplation, and obligatory fortification. Sidestepped into a petite bistro, ordered a vin Rouge and what I assumed would be a cheese platter equivalent to the desperately small cube of cheddar, slither of blue vein, dot of goat’s cheese guaranteed to remain attached to roof of mouth ’till Tuesday, a grape and three small biscuits; the nature of which my beloved homeland is inclined to serve for a mere $20.
Nope…€8 offered up half a side of Roquefort, four dollops of non stick goat offering and two huge gherkins piled atop a salad accompanied by five slabs of Baguette. Holy taste buds batman! What really intrigued was the two butter pats in the mix; usually only proffered after one has begged, cajoled and thrown a small but noisy tantrum for the French just don’t get it. Mon dieu! Voulez vous le beurre??? Oui I bloody well want butter! But this time I didn’t, gave that fight up a while ago – I’m an undercover local now remember?
In the interests of upholding my ‘eat everything in site before the budget limps away sobbing soon’ mantra I fulfilled the duty, all the while chortling at the memory of Rossy ordering a four cheese Pizza (when Jen, Ross and I were last in France) and receiving a 5cm deep pile of melted cheese under which a tiny crust tried in vain to uphold its duty.
Rossy’s gallant effort was well rewarded with applaud from we girls and the crusty old codgers nearby. Mine with discovering Bus 81 went right past my abode, the stop just ten meters away and all for €1.20. Merci dieu!!
Arrived home and discovered this gorgeous woman (and her inherited side kick) atop the Citadel. What can I say?
The sun is gloriously warm, the ocean a sparkling azure jewel, Yachts, pleasure cruisers, and colourful air beds upon which bronzed bathers are lazing bob gently on the swell, the Sancerre’s chilled to perfection and…Oh sorry, did I hear you say you’re too busy buying your ticket to read on? Please do for the Côte d’Azur, well Villefranche-sur-mer at least, is really rather special.
It is also fraught with danger…
Today I learnt that it is pertinent to hide when cruise ships arrive. All that nylon stretched across impossibly large derrières is a tad too much to bear. Why?
Said derrières clearly needed a beach fix. The beach as usual was wall to wall and claiming a smidgeon of territory required the usual cunning, deftness and abandonment of ‘personal space’ issues. Hence my poorly veiled glee as I staked my claim on a square metre recently vacated by a family. And that’s when the shadows loomed. And not of the cloud variety. I’m talking the beach fix derrières.
First they threw down massive beach baskets from which enormous beach sheets, blow up devices, sunscreen, hats, magazines, water and baguettes were exhumed. I swear I saw a small manservant being pushed back in.
With the detritus of beach pleasure released, they then crafted little divots from the pebbly surface in which to park said bottoms. The hollows clearly weren’t suitably sized for once towels were spread; both pairs began to grind side to side until satisfied. It was not a pretty sight, or sound. Ocean view thoroughly obscured, I recompensed with the shade they afforded and a delicious little piece of eavesdropping. And that’s when I discovered they were from the cruise ship…‘Which side of the ship do we need to be on to see the Panama Canal?’ asked one of the other in a strong Texan voice. ‘Other’ didn’t have an answer; she was busy planning her outfit for this evening’s disco theme. Emitting a small shudder from the question intimating one G&T too many and a vision best erased, I gathered my sarong and departed. I had to. Just knew I would not be able to contain myself should ‘other’ ask ‘What happens to the ice sculptures when they melt?’
I know you’re dying for photo proof but I very much fear I’d be hunted down and sat upon. These are from a non cruise ship day.