Another Change in Plans and a Surprise in Monaco!

Thursday, June 30, 2022

There was a change-up in the plans for today.  The original plan was to head to my favorite beach, L’estagnol.   But the Frenchman nixed the beach trip due to the news last night about…………………. an invasion of…………Jellyfish!

Why we're working to put Africa's jellyfish on the map

The Frenchman had been stung when he was in his youth. It hurt so much that he no longer swims with the jellyfish!

Yes. Parts of the beautiful bodies of water along the coastline of Southern France were invaded by these translucent orbs of painful stings.  The invasion was bad enough in some areas that sun worshippers were forbidden to enter the water!

Lucky for us, we had the pool. And at this juncture, we followed the ritual we had been following for years.  Pool time in the morning, then heading out on our adventures in the afternoon.  As such, this was a beautiful day for doing so.

Another glorious morning by the pool!

Reclining at the pool, I was ready to multitask by reading, journaling, and swimming in water that was invaded by children and not jellyfish. Hmmmmmmmm. I need to ponder that thought.

Anyway, after a morning of fun in the sun, my husband decided we should take a drive to Monaco. We were planning on revisiting but hadn’t had anything set in stone, so what the hell? I was on board. Besides, I enjoy the drive along the Bord du Mer.

Monaco–the Disneyworld of The Riviera. It’s so incredibly clean!

Okay. The thing about Monaco is that, other than the casinos in Monte Carlo, it isn’t the most exciting place—and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. In fact, I kind of like the fact that Monaco is pretty chill and quiet.

Quite possibly, the most risque thing I’ve ever seen in Monaco!

It’s cleaner than any Disney Park and more sterile than any hospital. It’s Monaco. Where even the money that is exchanged has a just-washed glow to it.

…it really is a lovely municipality to wander around in!

With the mindset that we would walk around this quiet municipality, we received quite the surprise as we exited the indoor parking.

My initial reaction was WTF is this anyway?

There was a crowd. At the Monte Carlo casino. A big crowd. Mostly men.

I’m not a car person so this was a total “ugh” to me. The Frenchman, on the other hand, was quite enthralled!

There were Ferrari’s abound. Many Ferraris. In fact, I think most of the very expensive Ferraris throughout the world were in Monaco. It was a testosterone convention!

Forget the cars, I wanted to go to Goyard.

This was as close as I got before my husband dragged me off.

There were women, but mostly arm candy and trophy wives.  I’m pretty sure I overheard someone mentioning I looked like household help. But it was a unique experience and humorous one—at least for me it was. The Frenchman was awestruck by the cars. What else is there to say.

Seriously. I do not think I resembled the household help. Unless, that is, household help gets to wear Lilly Pulitzer as a servant uniform.

Goodbye Monte Carlo.  I hope next time we don’t run into a car convention!

An enjoyable drive back and we were ready to get dressed for dinner at the club.  In all the years we’ve been staying at La Galere, dinner at the clubhouse has never disappointed us and this evening, it was one of the best meals we’ve ever had.

Back from Monaco and on our way to a wonderful dinner at the club!

 

The Club House at La Galere has always given us the greatest dinners but tonight’s was the best. I need to send an email to the chef!

Tonight’s menu.

View from our favorite table.

I love a crisp, white tablecloth. All the white table linens in our home are stained!

Kir Royal time! Tchin Tchin!

This appetizer: Vitello Tunado–veal marinated in a fish sauce was outstanding!

The Frenchman played it safe with a salmon remoulade!

My husband then went with the beef..

And I with the loup–sea bass and this was, hands down, THE best fish dish I’ve ever had in my life!

Espresso to finish the meal then it was back to the apartment for some sleep!

Friday, July 1st

Are you $hitting me? It’s July already?  Summer is zooming by!

 

Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and tanned, it’s off for a day trip of adventure!

Today was a good one. It was Day Trip adventure day to Marseilles and Aix.

Today we go straight. No turning in the right-hand land to St. Trop!

Marseilles holds sentimentality for both my husband and me.  His mom had the cutest little home on the outskirts in a little area called Ensues La-Redonne.  Her home was rustic and charming with the greatest terrace of all time.  Fig trees abound, the scent was delightful and mesmerizing.  And it was my first experience in the South of France. And I fell in love. Sadly, after Evie passed, the home was sold (due to tax reasons) and is now a Gite or B and B if you will. I will say, though, that it is thanks to Evie that we now have our current home.

Behind that fence is the largest, greatest terrace of all time. This is the first house I stayed in that introduced me to the South of France!

It is rustc, charming and beautiful at the same time!

Figs waiting to ripen!

And figs almost ready to eat!

The little cove down the street

A stroll through the terrain.

And through memory lane!

We took a stroll through memory lane then headed to the Port at Marseilles. It was crowded and fun to walk around on this leisurely, hot day.  The cool breeze coming from the sea made it quite comfortable.

The port at Marseilles. It’s so old-school and quaint.

And I actually prefer the port at Marseilles to that of Cannes. 

I could have stayed here all day!

This “Bubble Man” was a highlight! I felt like a kid again being enchanted by the bubbles!

There were a plethora of restaurants along the port and they were all crowded!

Farewell to Marseilles and on to Aix!

Then we headed to Aix.

Truth be told, I’ve enjoyed Aix more in the past.

I need to let you in on something. I’ve always thought Aix was such a lovely, gorgeous gem in Provence. This time around I was disappointed. The beautiful trees that shaded the main streets appeared to be either cut down or replanted. And, it just seemed so overcrowded this time—it could have been due to the summer sales. I dunno but we didn’t stay long. We spent a large part of the day traveling so we decided to head back to Theoule.

Although I do love the fountains..

I was not “wowed” this time around.

A good number of the beautiful trees were cut down. I was lucky to snap this pic!

But..I was able to stop in yet another church and light yet another candle. This one also to St. Rita!

A pleasant surprise awaited me on my phone.  One of my friends, and she was a bridesmaid in my first wedding, reached out to me. We are friends on Facebook but we haven’t seen each other in over 35 years.  She and her husband were in Marseilles.  This is to be continued because we later met up with them!

Our Friday dinner on the terrace consisted of copious amounts of Cidre after our aperitifs and wine.

I needed those drinks to take the stench away from the Andouillette that I pan-seared for The Frenchman.  The scent is so horrific that it is gag-worthy. Think of the smell of the effects of what exits your lower-back bodily orifice after food-poisoning. Mix that with the solids found in a baby’s diaper and add to that the wafting odor of an over-flowing septic-tank. Yes. It is that bad.

Served with an overabundance of contraband mustard, my husband was in his glories.

I settled for tomato and  crevettes again!

Saturday, July 2nd.

Given the fact we are now in the month of July, and it is the weekend, we were better off staying at the pool and not venturing out to the beach. The Frenchman, despising crowds, just wanted to stick around. I was fine with it.

After a week of reading, I finished Honoré Balzac’s Lost Illusions. The book was big, juicy, shocking and validated how awful humanity is. Some things just don’t change—although at the end, there was hope.

Lost Illusions (Barnes & Noble Classics Series): Balzac, Honore de,  Wormeley, Katharine Prescott, Logan, Marie-Rose, Logan, Marie-Rose:  9781593083151: Amazon.com: Books

It took quite a few days to read but boy…this book is JUICY!!! I’m beginning to realize the  Housewives franchise and soap operas are all based on classic books!

This was the day we spent the most time at the pool simply because we were reveling in our laziness. A dip in the pool, a chapter from the book. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

And after lolling around, we headed “home”, showered, and were on our merry way into Cannes for some shopping.

Back to Cannes for some late-afternoon shopping!

We picked up a racing suit for Owen at a touristy souvenir shop. Actually, we hit this place every time we visit because the owners are so stinking nice.  I started off the conversation with “est-ce que” and for some reason I got tongue-tied and started to laugh. The proprietor repeated what I said and we both started laughing. Then my husband explained, in French that I was practicing my French. Hey. I don’t care what others say but I’ve never had an issue buying or ordering anything in the French language—as bad as my French is, simply because I’m having a fun time. And the response has always been welcoming. So, the next time you hear that French people are rude or unwelcoming—it is most likely due to American arrogance and the fact Americans feel that everyone should speak English.

The Frenchman found this so adorable. With my second grandson due in  September,  I think this will be a welcomed Halloween costume!

Next it was back to Ernest. This time, thank God it was not for andouillette!  We bought a pissaladiere, more Socca chips and headed to the patisserie for more dessert.

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Unlike the andouillette, the Pissaladiere is absolutely beautiful, smells great and I would LOVE to know the secret of Ernest’s ability to create a crust that does NOT get soggy!

The only time I can get Socca Chips is when we are on the Cote d’Azur. Why aren’t these sold in the states? I’m addicted!

And on the way back to the car, we picked up a French market basket for 17 euros. Let me tell you something. Those French market baskets are the greatest baskets on earth. I purchased one over ten years ago, I paid 10 euros for it and it is now starting to show signs of wear with a little tear on the side.  We use it constantly to haul groceries. And they are sold all over at various stores and I’ve seen them sold for as high as €99.  If you seek, you shall find an inexpensive one that’ll last years.

Don’t even get me started on how much these baskets are at home. It’s robbery.  We got this for 17 euros. And that’s a fair price!

An additional stop at Geant Hypermarche and I picked up Octopus for my main plat!  It was the first time I ever attempted to cook it. I Googled for the simplest recipe, found it and simmered for 40 minutes. It was delicious!

Looking at this beautiful entree is now making me sad. Sad that I can’t buy octopus in the Philly ‘burbs. I cannot find tomatoes or eggs like this either. Honestly, I could eat this every night for the remainder of the summer!

Sleep came easily for me but for The Frenchman, it didn’t. There was a party at the Pierre Cardin Bubble House. And boy, I wish I was invited! There was loud music, which didn’t affect my ability to fall asleep and loud voices, which also didn’t affect my ability to fall asleep but did affect my man!

Ab Fab: The Movie Filming Locations: Bubble Mansions and Hampstead Homes -  Find That Location

My two favorite ladies, Patsy and Eddie filmed..

Pierre Cardin Sells 'Bubble Palace' for $336 Million

…part of the AbFab movie at the “Bubble House”.  I couldn’t get near the place..

Oh well…tomorrow is another day and read how I am most likely on security footage at the “Bubble House”…..to be continued

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If It’s Tuesday, This Must Be St. Paul de Vence

Tuesday, June 28, 2022

The weather report is calling for rain.  We had planned on heading to St. Tropez today so I could check out the flea market. My wish list included searching for a vintage Louis Vuitton Samur bag and the market has a great vintage bag vendor. But due to the oncoming threat of rain, we decided against it.

My new jam. Taking my vintage LV Bags and having the Vachetta replaced. I did it with my Speedy and wanted a Samur to remanp. Next year.

We visited St. Paul de Vence instead.

At the ready in a bobbed wig, plaid shirt, shorts and my LV Randonee bag, it’s off we go!

Our trip for today!

But before heading off, we drove to Marche Forville for some goodies.

It isn’t an official visit to the Cote d’Azur until we shop at this marche!

We bought some of the best tomatoes ever. EVER!

We also picked up REAL strawberries that weren’t white inside..

And, as always, the best tapenade on earth!

We revisited the wonderful Fondation Maeght, one of the most underappreciated collections of art and sculpture, and a calming, reflective place to visit.  It’s a very Zen place for me and for The Frenchman, it brings back family memories, as his father was friendly with the Maeght family.

I find this place so peaceful and calming..

The grounds are welcoming and there’s just a wonderful collection of great modern art!

Photo dump below!

We didn’t have time to visit the Chagall museum but we did get to see this!

It was a lovely day  because it wasn’t crowded and, amid, the grounds and various works of art, we ran into quite the cool cat!

My guess is this cat has the greatest real estate ever..

He gave me the side eye when I asked him if there were any dogs on site..

Then he got disgusted with me and sauntered away.

Next, we, and I honestly don’t know what possessed us to do this, decided to drive up the winding, Q-Tip-Narrow streets of St. Paul de Vence.  This is a huge tourist area and there are little shops after shops after shops.  A number of restaurants keep the energy flowing for hungry and thirsty tourists and locals. Honestly, SPdV is a beautiful Kodak moment from afar but close up, it’s just not my jam.

And, we got into a bit of an auto mishap. How can I describe this? There are circular tubes that rise and lower. It’s all about traffic flow. Anyway, we hit a tube that rose. No serious damage just a dent—but when you have a car rental, it’s times like this when you are glad you took the insurance

Saint-Paul-de-Vence France travel and tourism, attractions and sightseeing and Saint-Paul-de-Vence reviews

I was so upset with the Frenchman that I really didn’t take pictures. But the little roads or rather passageways were narrow like this. I can’t imagine anyone with a car living there.

We realized we made a mistake in driving when we started going around in circles and couldn’t find an exit to a way down the steep hill we had driven up. Finally, spotting the exit, we found ourselves flush with a huge, rustic, wooden and steel gate that opened automatically to let us on our long journey downhill to a less narrow road.

At that point, we figured since the rain was eminent, we would head to Cannes for some gourmet shopping at Ernest. Ernest Traiteur, and Patisserie Ernest are two shops on Rue Meynadier within feet of each other. The Traiteur a mixture of an upscale, high-end deli and caterer and the Patisserie is, in my opinion, the best in Cannes.

Ernest has great and interesting gourmet food items. This brought back memories of Daniele’s apartment. She had a leg in a tin box outside her kitchen window so if we wanted a slice, we could always have it.

Everything looked so appetizing!

My husband was in his glories because he was able to purchase his beloved pissaladiere and the most disgusting food item of all time—andouillette. The andouillette being an oversized sausage made of tripe and innards which smells like …you guessed it, shit! I kid you not.

Front row. Middle item. The horrific Andouillette. And yours truly had to cook it. Despite the disgusting odor, and the fact I had to open the kitchen window and a bee flew in, and I had to shoo it out…The Frenchman loved it.

Menu au Ernest Traiteur restaurant, Cannes

I have no idea why I didn’t snap a photo of this fabulous tarte, but I’m fascinated that the crust never gets soggy! I don’t know how Ernest does it!

I was just happy to have found my beloved Socca Chips!

I ended up buying four bags. I do not know WTF these are not sold in the Status!

So, before I go on, I have to tell you something. There is, presently, a shortage of mustard on the Cote d’Azur. Yes. You read it correctly. Mustard.  You have no idea how upset The Frenchman was. I was a bit perplexed to say the least, but I thought the entire mustard shortage was pretty humorous. I mean—It’s France for chrissakes!  It’s the mustard capital of the world and there was no mustard in the biggest hypermarche in the area.

The New York Times even wrote about this: Mustard Shortage in France–it was crazy!!

Apparently, it was a “thing” too because we ended up purchasing a clear plastic tub of “special” mustard from Ernest—you would think it was contraband the way the transaction was handled.  We were not to let anyone know where we got it!

We purchased dessert..

..and headed back to the apartment before the rain came!

Okay, back to the travel.

The rain came as we approached the apartment.  It started as a drizzle then built up to moderate sort of event until, as we arrived home and opened the door, it turned into a full-blown rain storm.  The kind with thunder. And it poured and poured so much that for the first time ever, in the many years we spent at this abode, we ate dinner inside.  We missed dining al fresco but we aren’t fools.  The rain stopped around 8:30 and that was it. The rest of the trip was glorious sunshine and dry heat!

Wednesday, June 29th

Ahhhhhhhh. Today we headed to St. Tropez!  The alarm was set at 5:30 AM.  I took an early shower, we relaxed with coffee and croissants on the terrace, which was, by now completely dried from the heavy storm the previous evening.

Bright (cross)eyed and wearing a sundress because it’s gonna be a hot one, I’m ready for St. Trop!

Rather than drive the entire way to St. Trop, we drove to Sainte-Maxime, parked the car at the dock and headed to Les Bateaux Verts—the adorable green boats that ferry across the bay to St. Tropez.  The great part of taking this ferry across the bay is you ride with all the people headed to work on St. Tropez. It’s just so much fun.

L’Esterel from the highway

Do you know the way to St. Tropez?

Early morning at Ste. Maxime!

Blue sky and closer to our little green ferry!

Lining up already!

Les Bateaux Verts.  All Aboard for St. Tropez!

And the ride doesn’t even take 15 minutes. It’s definitely a bright spot of the morning!

I love sitting at the edge. That sea spray feels soooo stinking good!

St. Tropez coming into view!

Headed into the port!

I took random photos like this. The Frenchman took photos of yachts. My view–you’ve seen one yacht you’ve seen them all!

We arrived shortly before 10:00 AM. Just in time for us to head to my favorite shop—Rondini!!

My mecca of sandals. Rondini. And best get there early before it gets crowded!

A stellar staff at Rondini, the young woman who helped me was wonderful but this guy—he’s helped me in the past and I swear he has, hands down, THE best style of any man I’ve seen. He rocks summer shorts. It’s unbelievable.

It was time for another addition to my family of Rondini sandals. These are, hands down, the best sandals ever! They are custom fit and made and the service and workmanship is stellar.  And they really pay special attention to narrow feet.

My mind was set early on for another pair of Salome sandals. I have the black and was thinking of the natural leather but I went with……..

…Python! They are absolutely beautiful and the fit is perfect!

This year’s purchase was a pair of Salome’s. In Python. They are exquisite!  And after I was fitted, I was told to come back in an hour or more.

I was thinking of another pair of the Bikini model but realized I wear them more for going out. Salome is more of an everyday/office sandal.

There’s always a regret I have from not making a purchase. This year it was the little pouch. I should have gotten one–especially since the dollar and euro are twinning!

Next stop was the cemetery to visit my father-in-law, Dany’s grave.  We paid our respects and reminisced about the times we had with him then we were off to view the home that The Frenchman lived for a couple of years and spent summers.  His home and his grandmother’s were close by; and it’s always nice to head to La Ponche for memories.

I think it needs to be stressed that dogs could dig up the graves..

I can’t believe it’s been five years..

The little butterfly plaque is beautiful. I think Vincent’s brother Martin made it.

Not a bad spot for an eternal resting place!

We continued our morning with a visit to La Maison des Papillions Musée Dany Lartigue.  The little butterfly museum is now a permanent fixture in the St. Tropez govt. sites. And it’s so homey and comfy and the butterflies are beautiful. And the photographs are wonderful.  The Frenchman was thrilled that there were quite a number of people visiting this quaint treasure trove and we had more memories of Dany.

Headed to what is now Musee Dany Lartigue. I didn’t take pictures because I was too busy remembering our time here with him.

However, I DID manage to snap this pic of my all-time, favorite Dany Lartigue painging. of Bar La Ponche. I plan on having this copied on canvas so we can hang it in the house.

Time to head back to Rondini to pick up my sandals, and after a final fitting, we were off once again.

We stopped at the Church where Dany’s funeral Mass took place then headed to our favorite restaurant. La Ramade.

I’m just reading this sign now. I don’t know if I should’ve taken pics but I did!

Why do I have this obsession with church?

The Blessed Mother was all aglow. I think she was happy to see me..

And I lit a candle for the freedom of all women of the world…

I think St. Tropez was happy to see me too!

Okay. Here’s where Covid affected establishments.We arrived at the restaurant and it was closed. Not permanently, but it wasn’t opened for lunch on that day. Presently, opened only for lunch on Saturdays and Tuesdays. The remaining days the restaurant opens at 7:00 PM.  You have no idea how disappointed I was. I almost cried. I could practically taste the kidneys that I always ordered but would elude me on this day.

Thankfully, I have this old menu from LaRamade that I’ve repurposed as a mouse pad.  I was really upset that it was closed.

Instead, we enjoyed lunch at Restaurant la Renaissance on Place des Lice.  Seated outdoors under a tent-like structure it was a pleasure to have Lotte Provençal style accompanied by proper mashed potatoes while Vincent’s appetite was sated with steak tartare.

The steak tartare was pretty darn good!

My Lotte (Monkfish) Provencal was off the charts delicious..

As were my mashed potatoes.

More photo dump as we walked our lunch off..

I love these little passageways.

The Frenchman’s grandmother’s house is on the left..or is it the right? I’m too lazy to head upstairs to ask him.

Beautiful hydrangeas that I cannot grow.

LaPonche where The Frenchman used to live at one point and at another point spent summers.

Clear sea..

Lots of seaweed.

My Rondini Tropeziennes got quite the workout today!

A little sculpture hidden in a nook

Look who showed up. I guess Liberty Enlightening the World wanted to return to a place where women are free to make choices.

Bye bye St. Trop.

With a lazy afternoon ahead of us, we headed back to the dock and ferried it back to Sainte-Maxime and drove along the Bord de Mer taking in the scenery—ahhhhhhhhhh; it was so great to be back.

Our ride along the Bord du Mer took us to passing this landmark Ferris Wheel at St. Raphael.

The drive along the Bord du Mer is so calming. I never tire of looking at the bay and the boats.

The other side of L’Esterel. I was petrified I would fall off a rock.

A quiet evening lay ahead of us with a light dinner on the terrace, me running away from a bee that was definitely out for my blood, and my husband complaining in French about the larger-than-life cruise ships!

Perhaps it wasn’t THAT light but I served small portions!

To be continued……….

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Back to the Côte d’Azur. Nothing Changes Yet Everything Changes!

Yesterday, July, 9,2022, The Frenchman and I returned back to the States from two glorious weeks on the Côte d’Azur. Staying, once again, at the apartment in Theoule-Sur-Mer that we have rented since 2011.

I’m missing this view already!

Our exception years being when Oona got married, and Covid Lockdown. This was the first time back in 4 summers and it felt so damn good to be back.  Not much changed yet, everything changed. There is a ton an absolute ton of construction going on. Add to that, it was crowded but not as crowded as in the past. I honestly think that the cloud of Covid is still looming. There are parts of France that are making masks mandatory, yet again, beginning on Monday, July 11!

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And next week Oona and Sam celebrate Wedding Anniversary Three. And in September, baby boy Number Two!

But enough about that. I’m here to share pictures and fun from our return to Theoule!

Let’s start with the flight:

Actually, let’s start off with my travel outfit. A $12 skirt from Amazon which is now $9.99. (of which I loved so much I purchased two). An old jersey shirt from Target. Old ballet flats from J. Crew and this delightfully lightweight wig from The Wig Company!

It was the first time ever that we flew directly into Nice.  In the past, we’ve always flown to Paris and then to Nice. In the years that Daniele was alive, we would spend time with her in Paris, fly to Nice from Orly, then back again to Paris to spend more time with her. Those days were lovely.

After she passed, it was flying to Paris then changing for Nice. It was a pain-in-the-ass, but since there were no direct flights that could accommodate our working schedules, we dealt with it.

New airport departure requires leaving extra early for the airport. Good thing we did because finding the parking lot was a feat in itself. Now that we found it, we are aware for future flights.  TRAVEL TIP: Always take a photo where you park!

Going through TSA was a breeze and we had time to stop for a late afternoon snack at the airport.  We had a good time!

Finally, this year, The Frenchman booked direct from Newark to Nice directly via United Airlines. I have to say that flying on United was a great experience. We had a slight delay leaving New Jersey but the pilot made up for lost time. And the return was wonderful.

You can see NYC in the far background!

Ready to go!

The food on the flights was better than American Airlines and Air France. Yeah. It was.

A little delay caused our flight to leave as the sun set! 

And a perk of having a loud, annoying voice was that when we landed in Nice, and I observed the incredibly long customs line, I said to my husband “Ugh. I wish your French passport allowed me quick access through customs”.  An agent heard me and said; indeed, the French passport could be used to allow me through customs with my husband. I wish I had known this years ago!  The customs entry was wonderfully quick—especially on the return home.

But enough about the flights.

And at daylight we were over land!

Let’s get to business.

We arrived in Nice mid-morning. Luggage in hand, tram to pick up the car rental and off on A-8 to the second Mandelieu exit!

Coming in for a landing at Nice!

Coming into Theoule-sur-Mer and  La Galere was almost a dream. It had been so long it almost didn’t seem real. But with key in hand and our entry pass into the community, memories all came back.

I couldn’t help myself. Only in France can you spot an “older” gent on a bike in the barest–and I mean barest of swimsuits. This was literally a man thong.

This welcoming sculpture was new. It wasn’t there before Covid hit!

The apartment was just as before save for a new sofa and a few cosmetic touches. The washing machine in the bathroom made me so incredibly happy because, hey—I love doing laundry on vacation—especially after sweating for hours as we see the sights.

View from the bedroom. The only time the doors to the terrace were closed was during a 4-hour rain in the late afternoon through early evening. Other than that the weather was sunny every day!

And we settled into our regular routine with ease. Heading to the terrace to enjoy the view, unpacking. And then a drive to Geant Hypermarche to get essentials and food. Oh. And Cider and Kir Royal makings.

We unpacked right away! TRAVEL TIP: To avoid sticky fingers from other passengers, make sure to use luggage with the filthiest exterior. Also, bring a workhorse bag. I brought my vintage LV Randonee that fits over the shoulders like a backpack. It came in handy for seeing the sights!

Cleaned up after unpacking, changed and ready to hit the hypermarche!

Our first dinner on the terrace proved relaxing and stress-free as I began my first night of nothing-but-fish-or-shellfish.  Crevettes and the best tomatoes on the face of the earth.

Crevettes, the best tomatoes on earth, eggs and mayo. A simple yet filling meal on our first evening!

The sun sets later in France and after a bit of relaxation and boat-watching, we fell into that same beautiful slumber with the French doors to the bedroom wide open and the sound of the Mediterranean Sea putting us into dreamland.

Sunday, 6.26.2022

After eleven hours of much-needed sleep, The Frenchman woke me with coffee, croissants and pain au chocolat.

And then it was back to the pool. There were changes. The pool used to be a freebie if you lived in the community. Now there is a charge. Our charge was an additional 360 Euros charge for the time we were there. However, it was an error and the charge had been included into the rental.

Morning at the pool. All is calm before the crowd arrives!

We used to pay for cushions to place over the chaise lounges for comfort. Since Covid hit, there are no more cushions and the old chaises have been replaced by new ones.

How great is this ?

Due to bees and my bee allergy, we didn’t sit near the flowing plants but moved to the opposite side of the pool. It was hot!! And this was the first year I hit the pool like a freshwater fish. (I didn’t wear a wig either)

No wig. No tan yet. And ready to hit the pool!

That first day, we spent 6 hours poolside. I happily read, jumped in the water, read, jumped in the water, repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Back to the apartment to shower and dress. And off to Geant to get preparations for dinner. Geant is opened on Sunday but was not crowded so it was a pleasure.

The basics people. The basics. Creme de Cassis,  Champagne and butter. And bread.

Dinner consisted of a recipe I saw on Chef Edward Delling-Williams show—Endives with Lardons. And it was spectacular!

The Frenchman LOVED this Endive dish. I followed the recipe and am upset that lardons are not sold in the States. I’ll have to buy slab bacon and cut it but honestly, this was GREAT!!

Another relaxing evening.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Coffee and Crossiants!

Our usual breakfast! On the terrace and a great way to start the day off!

Today it was beach time. Sunny, sizzling hot and a heat haze—not a humidity haze but a heated one.  It was the first time I ever experienced what were waves in the Mediterranean. Not big Atlantic Ocean waves but tiny ones. There was a lot of activity and at 8:53 AM, we had to drive around in search of a parking spot!

Ready to head to the beach in Cannes. Again. No wig. It allowed more freedom for serious sea time!  This striped dress from J. Crew was worn with every beach/pool visit!

I had never seen waves this big at Cannes–and trust me, they were not that big but the sea was so refreshing!

Still life–beach style. The bathing suit top came off. That was the only time because I got bitten my a mosquito on my titties.

After the beach, we drove to Cabris, revisiting this lovely town as always and I stopped by the Chapelle of St. Rita to offer my thanks, light a candle and reflect.

The view from Cabris is always breath-taking..

A quiet, winding street..

…flowers in a window..

..and a local store add to the charm!

St. Rita lives in a chapelle that dates back to 1761!

My girl St. Rita. I thank her with every visit..

…and I say a little prayer!

From there, it was a trip to Grasse to Fragonard and off to Mougins. Mougins is the most adorable artsy community I’ve ever been to in France—and this was the first time I was there. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been in the past.

On to Grasse to get my Fragonard fill!

An old perfume vat welcomes visitors!

Fragonard Haul: Body Lotion, Scent, Hand Cream and Soap!

Next stop–Mougins!

These pepper sculptures were..

An absolute delight to behold!

Picasso sure gets around!

And so does Bart Simpson!

Flowers of Mougins!

Okay. I’m stopping here because I’m off to get a much-needed manicure and pedicure. My feet are gross from all the walking we did.

Here’s a little video. It sucks because it’s so random but it’s fun. The two water fountains?  The first is from the Fondation Maeght. The second water fountain is from Abbaye du Thoronet.  The dead bee being eaten by ants? Vincent had to swat the bee because it was ready to sting me. It fell and out of nowhere a ton of ants finished it off within minutes.  Enjoy!

l continue later in the week…

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Thoughts on “The Coastal Grandmother” Label

Onto the newest trend and stereotype “The Coastal Grandmother”.

Just a sampling of The Coastal Grandmother. Even though a few of them are NOT grandmothers. And WTF is Martha? She’s the Coastal Grandmother Supreme?

I know. I know.  I KNOW! This label is meant to be fun. But personally, I find it inane and elitist and you can read on for my thoughts regarding yet, another stereotypical visual of the older woman.

*sigh* I can breathe now. Here’s Martha in her, what appears to be Easter Coastal Grandmother best. It’s hideous. Thank God the woman can cook and bake!

Somewhere along the line, a younger woman decided that she wanted to go to bed early, thinking that all women over the age of 50/60/70 go to bed early.  Yet, nothing is mentioned about catching the “early bird special” at chain restaurants at 4:30 PM—the way many grannies do. She, bless her heart, had this image in her head of the perfect home–beach house style. And the perfect vision of the perfect woman, grandma age, creating fabulous meals, while dressed in a sweater tied around that perfectly, crisp button-down shirt with the starched collar perfectly popped.  There’s more to it, but to get you “woke” (a trendy phrase meaning nothing more than awakened), on the trend, I’ve come up with some assessments below.

Early Bird Specials in South Florida Are Dying, Thanks to Baby Boomers -  Eater

How about all those wanting the Coastal Grandmother lifestyle head to dinner at 4:30? That’ll pop your bubble!

Why does Halloween have to be on a weekday?! It's bad enough the old rich people  go to bed early. But now everybody else too! | Halloween Ecard

Honey, forget Halloween. Old Rich Coastal Grandmother’s hit the hay after drinking that bottle of wine at 3:00 in the afternoon!

Read on if you are not offended. Read on if you are offended. Read on if you want to become a Coastal Grandmother or already are. Read on if you refuse to follow this trend. Just…………………….read on!

TCG Movie Choices: Most-loved movies of TCG are by filmmaker Nancy Meyers—she’s big with this labeled group.  I saw two of her movies. The first being “Something’s Gotta Give” which I liked. I didn’t love it. I liked it. A lot. I didn’t love it because I’m sick and tired of seeing perfect people and their successful careers on the big screen. Personally, I’m sick and tired of perfect people pretending to not be perfect.

The Beautiful Filming Locations of Something's Gotta Give — LocationsHub

Look what they are wearing at the beach. The BEACH no less. I get so freaking hot at the beach that unless I’m down by the water, my body gets drenched in my own sweat! This is soooooooo Coastal Grandmother–and Grandfather!

Yeah. Give me a dark swimsuit so those ultra-violet rays are even more attracted to me. Hey, something’s gotta give-right? The sun giveth to me damaged skin!

The second being “The Parent Trap”. Not the stellar original starring Hayley Mills but the cheap knock-off starring Lindsay Lohan. I’ll admit, Lohan was great with her clipped British accent but the original version was far better. However, if you want to see one of the best Disney movies ever. Actually the only Disney movie besides Pollyanna, that is greatness, please watch the original parent trap!

Annie and Hallie Are Back With the Cast of 'The Parent Trap' | The Mary Sue

Isn’t she precious? Every Coastal Grandmother’s dream….

Hayley Mills looks back on 'Parent Trap,' Lindsay Lohan remake

I’ll take the original version. Haley Mills was a bit less perfect and was a tad snarky!

My director of choice is Jean-Pierre Jeunet.   Think “Amelie”— quite possibly the greatest film of all time. And Amelie wore cool clothes and had a fabulous hairstyle! There was nothing coastal about her. Granted.  Amelie was too young for Coastal Grandma status, but the movie is just so charming and showcases people who arent’ wealthy or perfect!

The Word Travels Blog: Travel Movie: Amelie

Amelie. THE greatest movie of all time. However, TCG would cringe at the fact Amelie was a waitress, loved a man who was employed in a porn shop, and loved dark colors! 

Think “Delicatessen” An extremely dark and lovely film, also by the same director.  I loved the dark and quirkiness of it.  The cinematography is dark. Furniture is sparce and there is a darkness cast over the rooms.  Nobody is perfect. It’s awesome!

Delicatessen (1991) - Photo Gallery - IMDb

The interior shots of Delicatessen would have TCG reaching for that box of wine on her countertop!

The Coastal Grandma would ban my favorite movies from her bright, white living room or screening room!

The Coastal Grandma Clothing: The clothing style of this group? Loose fitting ensembles. Think Eileen Fisher. Personally, I can’t stand Eileen Fisher’s clothing. The items resemble burlap sacks. And don’t get me started on the way women wear the brand’s clothing. Also, think light, airy, ill-fitting khaki pants, button-down shirts, clothing that doesn’t bring out your feminine side at all.

Jesus. Who actually totes wine around in a wicker tote? I use a brown bag so nobody knows I’m drinking “medicine”. And those pajamas? I think the last time I wore an actual pajama set I was ten. Mules? My feet slide right out of them. I’m highly insulted by the French market basket. TCG will spend a lot of money on hers. I get mine for 5 euros in France!

Despite the fact that TCG wears white and light neutrals, she LOVES Eileen Fisher. This must be the look TCG sports during hurrican season!

Ahhhhhh. Here we go. The “dressed” CG ensemble.


Credit: Anne Hathaway/Instagram

Celebrities are getting in on the act. It’s *eyeroll* Anne Hathaway pontificating how she adores the CG look. But wait. It looks like she’s in Paris or some city in Italy. Screw that. I would NEVER walk around my beloved 6th arrondisement looking like that. And another thing. She’s skinny. She can carry that look off better than those of us with meat on our bodies. 

Look. I have a couple of loose-fitting pants. But I wear those pants with fitted tops to balance the look. I also wear delicate shoes such as ballet flats or delicate sandals.

My rebel Coastal Grandmother look. Loose pants that add about 30 pounds to my ass . But they are sooo comfortable. I wear them with a very fitted top and ballet flats to balance the look.

I also have a ton of black in my wardrobe. All year I wear black. In summer I switch between my black clothing and my Lilly Pulitzer frocks. But I lean more toward the Morticia Adams style of color. In fact, most of my black clothing is being packed for our visit to France next month!

Why don’t Coastal Grannies wear little black dresses?  This baby is already packed for France!

The CGM also wears old-school waspy sunhats.  Years ago, I attended a wedding in Connecticut. It was my ex-husband’s cousin. He married some Mayflower babe. I never saw so many wrinkled, baggy clothing and those sunhats. I think my ex-husband’s relatives may have been ahead of their time. My wigs are my hats. They cover my scalp from sun exposure and look more fetching than those ill-fitting chapeaus.

British Grannies wear fascinators to weddings, while WASP Coastal Grandmother’s wear chapeaus like this. TBH, this is one of the fugliest hats ever..

..and I thought Emily in Paris didn’t know how to wear a beret. These. Are. Awful.

They also favor those ridiculous oversized wraps, tunics and all things Chico’s and Talbots. No thank you. I’ll take J. Crew and Old Navy with a bit of Lilly Pulitzer thrown in for good measure.

The coastal grandmother: easy, breezy, laid-back yet immaculate – are you  ready for the latest on-trend lifestyle? | Life and style | The Guardian

If I wore this, I would be in an emergency room with a broken arm or neck. It would get caught in a door in the house or car, it would fall off me and I would trip over it. Why would anyone wear this? 

I will opt for my Lilly Pulitzer Wynne maxi dress with slits!

My fitted clothing would award me with the label of “Slut Puppy Grandma”.  I’m fine with it. More to follow on this subject later in the post.

 

The fitted Mother-of-the-Bride Summer Wedding look. Black? OMG. It’s so anti-coastal grandmother!

The Coastal Grandmother’s Beauty: Makeup? TCG seems to either eschew it or prefers an extremely natural look.  Actually, many of them can afford  plastic surgery and fillers.  But subtle!  Nobody can tell! Who are we kidding here?   What I find hysterically funny is the young woman who pegged the whole Coastal Grandmother thing, used a filter for her face in her Tik-Tok video. Really? You wanna be a grandmother? Let’s see wrinkles, lines, ruddy complexion and sun spots. God forbid any of them spend up to an hour applying their face unless…unless a makeup artist is coming to the house!

The originator of the phrase “Coastal Grandmother” Lex Nicoleta,  looks older than Diane Keaton with her over-blurred image. IRL, she’s absolutely beautiful. Why would she blur her face like that?  I guess she wanted to look the age of TCG! It’s nuts. She’s incredibly beautiful and ruins her look with those freaking filters.

Coastal Grandmother face? The real face?  The beauty is also in the surgery she had for basal cell or squamous cell skin cancer. The true Coastal Grandmother has spent a lifetime of summers at the beach. Sitting by the ocean with a book when younger, then spending her child-rearing years running around after her children, slathering them in sunscreen while she doesn’t have the time to do so.

Remember last year when I had my overpriced lip filler? Well. These days I make my big mouth bigger by filling in with a five dollar NYX lip pencil. In addition, my eyebrow grew back from my MOHS surgery. 

Would it be fitting to encourage all those Coastal Grandma wannabe’s to damage their skin with baby oil and iodine then decades later have them realized they made a huge mistake?  Real life Coastal Grandmother vs. Wannabe Coastal Grandmother!

tanningsession.info | Skin care tips, Baby oil tan, Baby oil

Quite possibly, the dumbest thing I ever did to my skin. But..it isn’t brought up in The Coastal Grandmother aesthetic. It should be.

The Coastal Grandmother Homestyle: And let’s broach the subject of furniture, shall we?  TCG, surrounds herself with shades of white in that ever-so-beachy way.  Without sounding like a complete hypocrite, I surround myself with shades of white and off-white slipcovers. These slipcovers, upon closer inspection, have traces of dog-paw dirt, spilled wine drops, and fake tan spots. I like that lived-in, kind of dirty aesthetic!

Not gonna lie. This airy and clean look moves my needle. But it’s just too strategically imperfect perfection. 

My version of light and airy. Offwhite with tan and brown. Very uncoastal coastal.

And that splash of color is from a bloody paw of Chippy’s and one of his stray eyelash hairs.

I definitely would be kicked out of The Coastal Grandmother club due to having VERTICAL blinds in our sunroom. They are so tacky and out-of-style! But I’m too lazy to change them.

The Coastal Grandmother lives to read books by Erin Hilderbrand. Like Summer of ’69.  TCG can look back fondly on those years. I look back on my Summer of ’69 in a different way. It was the summer I tried, unsuccessfully to convince my strict parents to allow me to get a mother’s helper job on Fire Island–allowing me the freedom to live away from home (about 5 miles away) for the summer. My parents did not trust me.  It was also the summer I started to spend hours making my frizzy hair straight so I would look “cute”, and the summer I discovered baby oil and iodine.  Causing me to have bad burns and blisters–a front-runner to my MOHS surgery!

My summer of ’69 was spent fighting with my parents, getting bad sunburns and attempting to tame my frizzy hair.

Might I sugges the wonderful read, Where’d You Go Bernadette” My iconic favorite female fictional character, Bernadette was far from a Coastal Mother or Grandmother. She was downright nuts! My daughter Oona loved the book because Bernadette reminded her of me!

Not only one of my favorite books but it was a movie with the great Cate Blanchett! She was my ideal Bernadette! 

Fresh flowers? I love ‘em. But I don’t have a yard to grow them so I buy them from the local grocery store. I do, however, treasure my years-old poinsettia plants.  I’m sure any self-righteous Coastal Grandmother would shudder at the thought that I keep Christmas plants in my home all year!  But, being a good Catholic girl, I don’t like to kill living things.

13 Coastal Grandmother Fashion Essentials - PureWow

I’m so jelly. I would love to have a Coastal Grandmother garden like this. But I wouldn’t have the time to tend to it because I must work for a living. I also don’t own this much property. I’m poor!

 I have to settle for Peonies from the grocery store..

…and repotting poinsettias on the deck…

Poor Chippy. He’s probably contemplating what his life would be like had he been a Coastal Granddog!

Did you know that TCG loves to cook? Cook!! Since when has cooking an actual meal become a part of this aesthetic?  TCG prides herself with comparisons to Ina and Martha.  OK. I love both of those women because they have taken cooking to a simple and elegant level. Ol’ Martha has even gotten many women t