More Snow, Madeleines and the Cote d’Azur!

This winter’s weather is getting to me and I’m feeling really “blah”.

We’re in the middle of the snow storm we should have had in January. Or February. It’s been snowing all day with no end in sight.

Out the front door

Out the front door!

We will not be dining on the deck any time soon!

I know that when life gives you lemons you make lemonade. Right??? Well…when life gives you snow, you bake! Or at least I bake!   Earlier today I baked a couple of batches of cookies and Madeleine’s for Monsieur Bonaparte!

travel thursday 010There’s more where this came from!

Pans prepared and epic bumps on those tasty little cakes!!

He deserved it! After all, he’s been taking Chippy out to do his business while I do nothing except lay on the sofa like a queen waiting for somebody to peel grapes for her! Nah—not really.

Today’s batch of Madeleine’s turned out superb. Check out that “bump” on the back. Gorgeous!   My “go-to” recipe is Dorie Greenspan’s. I’ll repost it for you:

Dorie Greenspan Madeleine Recipe

All I want to think of is traveling. Our annual visit to France is now on my mind. My love of Paris will never subside. Paris, for me, is a place where I can absolutely lose myself. I can spend hours—and I mean hours rummaging through old books in my favorite used book shop on Rue Dauphine or pursuing French music CD’s at Boulinier on Blvd. Saint-Michel.   Fun and lively dinners with Bonaparte’s family are the norm, as are running the many errands needed.

Paris Tour Eiffel Closer

The Eiffel Tower..

Paris seine AM

Walking along the Seine….

Paris Sacre Ceuor

An “Amelie” moment at Sacre Coeur are familiar sights!

But our true vacation starts when we leave Paris for Nice. The moment the plane lands, ten days of relaxation and stress-free living welcomes us.

Our time is spent Theoule-sur-Mer, a small town south of Nice and next to Cannes. It’s paradise. We stay in “La Galere”, a gated community, and have rented the same apartment for the past five years. Bonaparte must have been a travel agent in a past life, because he is the most disciplined and budget-minded traveler on earth. Is it ok if I tell you how we manage to do this?

La Galiere

La Galere, Theoule-sur-Mer

First of all, we save a set amount of money each pay period. We do this all year and have a “vacation” bank account. I’m telling you, once you get used to not having that money in your pocket, you don’t miss it.


Save and cut corners–even if it means a sacrifice or two!

We live frugally. I don’t mean we live like cheapskates either. We only go out to dinner a few times a year and when we do, it’s to a really fine restaurant. No matter how much of a chore cooking dinner can be at times, it’s less expensive and more convenient than getting dressed, getting into the car, driving to “local chain restaurant”, waiting for a table, waiting for your food, and so on.

We don’t go to bars. Let’s face it, we’re at that “empty nest” age, and if we want a drink, we’ll make a couple of “Kir Royale’s” and have some good conversation at home. Saves money—especially with the price of drinks these days!

kir royales

Cassis and Champagne (or Blanc de Blanc) = Kir Royale!

When we take a long weekend away, we’ll check the specials that Hotels have to offer. Really—sometimes the hotel sites have better “special” rates than the online discount sites.

We travel to France before “high” season. We travel mid-June through early July. We beat the European vacationers. This means we pay about half of what the cost is to rent an apartment in the Cote d’Azur during July and August.

Calendar%20Image-1524x975Taking a vacation during “off” peak season saves a ton of money!

Although the number of people who also do this is increasing, the amount of people at the beaches and sightseeing is still very manageable.   The only place we’ve had to wait on a line is Geant, the hyper-marche in Mandelieu. We get our groceries there—and the place gets crowded—especially on Friday and Saturdays because it’s closed on Sunday!


This is where the grocery magic begins…and..

Cote d' Azur. Geant. Lines on a Friday.

This is where we wait to pay for that magic!

Renting an apartment also affords us many conveniences. We can pack light because I can do laundry. (I travel with more beauty products than I do clothes!). It allows you to live like the locals. When you live like the locals and do daily shopping at the hyper Marché, you learn to speak the native language very quickly. It’s also fortunate that we’ve got a rapport with the owner of the apartment we rent. He knows we are excellent visitors and we make sure we leave the place immaculate upon our return to Paris!

Flowers along the walkway to the apartment and that spiral stairway lead us to….

Our lovely rental. The living room leads out to a great terrace and…

The cute little kitchen has plenty of room to cook for the two of us. Isn’t that little window adorable?  But the best part is………….

The terrace–check out the view! It’s amazing! And….

We spend our meal time here enjoying each other’s company and the sea!

We have our daily routine. We get up early; enjoy coffee and croissant and either head down to the beach or the community’s pool for a couple of hours. Then we’ll spend the afternoons sightseeing, or discovering places unknown. Our evenings are spent on the terrace, enjoying dinners of fresh produce, fresh seafood, and fine wine.

We hit the pool early, not crowded at all. Check out the cool diving board !

We always spend a day in St. Tropez, Bonaparte’s dad lives there and I love spending time with him. He’s one of the funniest and flirtatious Frenchmen I’ve ever met! There’s so much to see in the South of France –and it would be impossible to see everything in one visit, that’s why we love to return. A day trip to Eze is on the top of our list for this year.

Here’s some random pics I took last summer:

Boat docked in Cannes. Outdoor flea market in Cannes

Roosters in Biot. I have to go back to bring some home with me!

Driving through Massif d L’esterel on the way to ….somewhere!

Two “artsy” pics. My Old Navy flip flops on the beach in Frejus and a random pic from a rocky little cliff.

Theoule. Found this in a book at the apartment. An Article about Vincent's Grandfathers House in Provence

Talk about “divine intervention” and “coincidence”–THIS is a page from a book that was in the apartment we rent. It’s about Bonaparte’s grandfather. How cool is that?

Cote d' Azur Me so happy to wake up in the AM here!

Me. With a REAL tan and a load of freckles. Do you think I would go away and NOT be able to find a salon that can give me a blow-out and give me straight hair?  Top priority baby. Top priority! Also–I take a break from foundation and blush. Just light eye makeup for me! Funny thing is I still travel with a ton of beauty supplies!

Sitting here and looking out my window at the snow that is still falling makes me long for nights on the terrace in Theoule—listening to the music of the Cicadas and toads in a cadence with the sea that just rocks me into a deep slumber!


This song is for you. “Assedic”—it’s the name of the French Unemployment benefits department. Only the French can make a sexy song about this subject. I love it because of it’s relaxed summery vibe. Enjoy!

About Catherine

Far from perfect, but enjoying life as a non-perfect and flawed individual at 60 years young. I'm still wondering what I'll be when I grow up! The characters in my life's screenplay include my better half. He is a refined Frenchman who grew up in Paris and summered in St. Tropez. I grew up in Long Island and summered in Long Island. I am not refined. My three grown children are also a big part of my life. For their sake, they happily live where their careers have taken them! But I can still mother them from a distance! I write about the mundane. I write about deeply shallow issues. But whatever I write or muse about--it'll always be a bit on the humorous and positive side! It's all good!
This entry was posted in Biot, Budget vacation in France, Cannes, Geant, Kir Royales, Paris, Snow, Theoule sur Mer, Vacationing in France and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to More Snow, Madeleines and the Cote d’Azur!

  1. nathalie says:

    Bonjour ! i’m French and i love your blog ! you are so funny and look so young!!! may be one day in France !!!amitiés;Nathalie

    • Catherine says:

      Merci Nathalie!

      Je suis heureuse! I’m truly happy that you are enjoying my blog! Please continue to follow my adventures from doing nothing at all, to my travels. Cannot wait to get back to France!!!! XOXOXO!

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