Exploring Grasse, France

When we originally scheduled this trip, Friday and Saturday were Eric’s day off to sightsee. Sadly, at a relatively late date, his company decided to send him to Luxembourg for a meeting. He was up at 0430 and out the door at 0515 for the airport.

Christi got up with him and took him to the airport. She worked on blogs for a couple hours, took a bath, and otherwise puttered around until 0930. Sure that traffic must have cleared by then, she took the car to the town of Grasse, a mountain village north of Cannes that is the perfume capital of the world. Christi took the highway to the Cannes exit, but instead of heading south towards the beach, went north into the mountains.

Since she had gotten up so early, she was starving at this point. Right off the exit, she found a boulangerie/patisserie  (bread/dessert bakery). She ordered an individual size goat cheese quiche. She wonders if she got the right one, since it was loaded with bacon but didn’t taste much like goat cheese. She also ordered a pain du chocolate (chocolate croissant) and a beignet (donut). She sat in the car and scarfed them down before heading up the mountain.

The road was narrow and somewhat windy. She had read there were flower fields surrounding the town of Grasse, so she was surprised to see that it was completely built up along the road, with no fields to be seen anywhere. The buildings were an odd mix. Some were old, as in Medieval, some fairly new, as in probably the last few years. Commercial and residential properties were mixed, with a mechanic shop next to a private mansion. She noticed signs for three different perfumeries along the way.

The heart of Grasse looked medieval. In the center of town, there was a parking garage. She turned off the main road and headed towards the garage, but she missed the entrance. She found herself on a scary one way road back down the mountain. It had dangerously sharp switchbacks, obviously originally a horse trail, not a car trail. At a couple points the road split, in both cases, she made the wrong turn. The first time, turning around was easy because she came to a roundabout, but the second time, the road dead ended and she had to make 30 point U-turn to get out of the tight little alley.

The road ended near the bottom of the mountain. Sigh. She noticed a sign for one of the perfumeries that said it was close by and decided to go there instead of back up the hill. One, she didn’t want to drive that scary road down again and two, she really liked the name of the perfumery, Fragonard, because there is a Rococo-era (early 1700s) painter by the same name whose works she particularly likes.

The facility was new and modern looking, probably built in the 1960s or later. They had old equipment on display in the parking lot.

Inside, the Continue reading Exploring Grasse, France

Exploring Nice, France Some More

Continued from yesterday… Christi took a different path down from the Lou Castel park than she had taken up. When she got to the park gate, she found herself on the waterfront. The only problem was that she had no idea where on the waterfront she was! Here is a shot of the Tour Bellanda and the staircase that leads up into the park from from the bottom.

Christi headed inland, and after a couple blocks found herself in the familiar Cours Saley street market. She wandered through Continue reading Exploring Nice, France Some More

Lou Castel, Vieux Ville, Nice, France

Today was Eric’s big day–he was scheduled to do a presentation and be part of a panel. He left the hotel extra early this morning to meet with the other panel members to do a run through before the conference started. Sadly, Eric’s session was the very last of the entire conference, so it didn’t have great turn out. But, the session itself went well overall. He was done in the mid-afternoon and went to lunch with some co-workers before driving back to Nice.

Christi left the hotel around 1000 and caught the 217 bus to Nice. This time, she went three stops farther before exiting the bus, which dropped off even deeper into the historic district than she had gone yesterday. She followed the windy roads up the hill until she arrived at the Lou Casteu park’s gate. In the hilly area, the buildings looked even older than in the flatter parts she had visited the other day. This is a shot of the streets of old town from the gate.

From what Christi can tell from Continue reading Lou Castel, Vieux Ville, Nice, France

More Food in St. Laurent du Var, France

This morning, Eric had another 0900 meeting, so he was up and out the door around 0815 since he knew traffic would be bad.

Christi was moving slow, still tired from jet lag and worn out from doing so much walking the previous two days. She spent the morning working on blog posts and took a long bath. Suddenly, it was noon and time to eat.

Wanting another really good meal, she went back to Cafe Sud, which was tried and true great food. This time, she ordered the seafood salad as a starter. Squid, shrimp, mussels, octopus and an unidentified little critter that looked like rings were served on a bed of lettuce with some chopped tomatoes, olive oil and lemon.

For her main, she Continue reading More Food in St. Laurent du Var, France

Exploring Cannes, France

Christi awoke at 0130, wide awake and full of energy. And she had naively thought she didn’t have any jet lag! Ha! She was wide awake most of the night, falling asleep near dawn. Today, Eric’s meetings didn’t start until noon, so we were able to sleep until about 1000 before getting up. We both awoke grumpy and tired. Jet lag really was catching up with us!

Christi decided to spend the day sightseeing in Cannes, so we drove together to the conference center. Unlike yesterday, Eric was able to navigate there without any problems. Traffic was light since it wasn’t rush hour. The parking garage was under the conference center (and apparently visitor’s center and casino, too), which happens to be right on the waterfront, next to the marina.

Christi started her sightseeing tour by walking through the marina. The marina was filled with many high end yachts; though unlike Monaco, there were Continue reading Exploring Cannes, France