How I Prepare for the Cote d’Azur!

In three weeks Bonaparte and I will be off to the Mediterranean shores of France.  While I am looking forward to our trip, I’m also a bit less excited than usual because we won’t be in Paris this time around.


Time for me to brush up on my French!

I know, I know.  If you aren’t familiar with my little world, it may sound like I’m an entitled bitch. But I’m not–entitled, that is.  I’m just a bit less excited because it’ll be the first time that we won’t be with Daniele.

It’s tough when someone you love passes…

I need to get it together and start personal preparations. We’ll be gone just short of three weeks.

It’s a different kind of preparation process now. Since we won’t be in Paris, two wardrobes won’t be packed!  I won’t need “city” attire this time around

First I’ll make a list of what I plan on purchasing.  This year the purchases are minimal. My ass got way to wide to even think about buying any articles of clothing.  Besides, working in Retail Hell has diminished my love of shopping.

cote d azur packing 009

Maybe if I gave up cheese,  my ass would have not gotten so wide. Wait. I’ll be feasting upon this in a few weeks anyway. Oh well! Time to size up. Again!

I’ll buy a pair of Rondini sandals when we’re in St. Tropez to add to my collection. Luckily, my feet, unlike the rest of me, haven’t grown wider!  I’m torn between the Bikini’s, the Serpents and the Sahariennes Tressées. What do you think?  Which ones do you like?

I need a new pair of Rondinis. Which do you think I should get? The Bikini’s,top left; the Serpents, bottom left; or the Sahariennes Tressees on the right?  I want all three!

Also on my list is music. I need to add Michel Polnareff,  Michel Delpech, and Juliette Greco CD’s to my collection of French Pop Music.


My collection of French music is sorely missing the ever-hotness of Michel Polnareff…

…the smoothness of Michel Delpech (RIP), and the  sultry sexiness of Juliette Greco. I’ll stop by FNAC in Cannes to pick up the CD’s!

I’ll stop at Fragonard for some more Fleur d’Oranger.

Fragonard Fleur d' Oranger and refill

I’m running low and need yet, another refill!

My purchase list is complete.

Now on to packing and essentials to bring along.


I tell you, if the TSA tries to snag this away from me, you will see me on the nightly news!

Number one on my essentials list is Toppik to hide the menopausal bald spots!  I wish that I was an heiress and could bring Adam, the guy who does my hair with me. He could give me blow outs that would channel my inner Bardot! I’ll have to settle for bringing my big-ass hair rollers instead!

Rollers in the hair

When it comes to my hair. I have not one shred of dignity. My hair rollers will be vacationing on the Cote d’Azur!

I picked up a few books for reading at the pool and beach. I also bought a journal so that I can write during downtime. I’ll be on the lookout for one more journal and a supply of pens before we leave.

Chippy getting ready for a good read

The ever gifted and talented Mr. Chippy is deciding which book he will eat,  read before it’s my turn!

Oh. I have  to pack a magnifying mirror.  Even though the sun will give me a healthy glow and I won’t need foundation, I still need to make my eyes look nice.  And believe me, my eyesight gets worse by the day.  I’ll need that magnifying mirror to see those damned unsightly chin hairs that pop up from hour to hour. The tweezers are already packed!

magnifying mirror

Hey. An old broad has to bring essentials. Magnifying mirror and tweezers ARE essentials for any woman over 50!

Which brings me to clothing.  I’m trying my best to be a minimalist packer. It never works out that way because I always pack way too many clothes.  I’m making an effort…

Naturally the bathing suits will come with me.

La Blanca bikinis

Two swimsuits by La Blanca. On the left is one from last year. On the right, is the most recent budget find from Marshall’s for $29.99. I don’t spend more than that on swimsuits!

More swim suits

More swimwear. I like to mix the suits up a bit. I can’t find the top to the striped bottom. It’s around here somewhere….

Oh. And by the way, contrary to what a 2011 survey stated from UK’s Daily Mail had to say, this 61 year old woman with the not-so-perfect body will be wearing her bikinis!

cote d azur packing 013

And despite my thick middle, I’m still gonna wear a bikini. My 61 year old body said I could!

I’ll also be packing my ever-comfortable and multi-tasking white shift from J. Crew and my chambray shift from Banana Republic.

2 go-to shifts

These are the perfect shifts. In the morning over my swim suit and in the afternoon seeing the sights!  No need to buy new clothes when I’ve got enough in my closet!

One pair of white jeans

white jeans and tees 2

Thank God my Uniqlo jeans from last year still fit.  That little bit of Spandex is a lifesaver. I can stuff myself like a sausage! And, as usual, my Old Navy Fitted Tee shirts will be packed!

White sweater and white t

I’ve already packed 5 white tees and for good measure, I’ll throw in this white cardi from Target.  


White shorts shirts and scarf

My favorite white shorts from J. Crew Factory.  More tee’s. And a scarf to hide turkey neck!

blue and white striped shorts

This pair of shorts from Loft fits wonderfully, a bit longer and a bit more dressy. I can pair it with a cotton sleeveless shell from J. Crew!

Maxi dresses.

Gray maxi

Another Loft find from last year. I LOVE this maxi. I’ll bring another more casual one but I need to iron it–that’s why I didn’t take a photo of it. You can read more about my love for maxi dressing HERE!

Shoes?  I’ll stick to  flip flops and my other Rondini sandals.  I will pack my Cole-Haan Air Nike Ballet Flats from many, many years ago. The bottom sole grips the old and slippery stone steps that are found throughout France. We learned our lesson about that some years ago when Bonaparte almost fell down a flight of ancient steps while wearing flip flops!

Cole Haan Air Nike Ballet Flats. The Holy Grail of Touring shoes!

These Cole-Haan Nike Air Ballet Flats are about 8 years old and they do NOT wear out. These are the best shoes for touring and travel. EVER! Too bad CH discontinued them!

The only label I like!

Rondini sandals….

My three musketeers of flip flops. Just a bit fancier.

..and flip-flops will suit me just fine.

Accessories?  Yeah. I’ll pack a couple of scarfs. As far as jewelry goes, I’ll pass on bracelets and necklaces. I will, however, bring a card of those inexpensive hoop earrings from Walmart. If I lose or leave them behind, it won’t be a loss. And hoops always look great! Besides—I’m lazy. I don’t want to think too much about  accessorizing.


My fancy earrings. From afar nobody can tell they are Walmart specials!

That’s pretty much the basics on the packing—but there’s more to plan…

While on the plane, I’ll make a list of groceries and household items we will need to pick up at Hypermarché Géant in Mandelieu.  Between my short attention span, watching in-flight movies and thumbing through trashy gossip magazines, it’ll take me the seven hours to complete this list.

Theoule. Geant. My favorite store.

Forget Chanel! She was a Nazi sympathizer anyway. THIS is my idea of fine shopping while on the Cote d’Azur! The Hypermarche! Grocery shopping is an experience here!

The plan of action upon arriving in Nice is routine. Get the luggage, run over to the car rental and hope there isn’t a long line. Then it’s off to the familiar drive on A-8 to the apartment.

The film festival at Cannes will be well over and will be in a state of slight relaxation and chill before the summer high and tourist season begins.

During this time, the surrounding areas kind of move at a slow-motion pace. It’s lazy. It’s easy. It’s wonderful.

We’ll drive to Ste. Maxime and enjoy a water taxi ride to visit Bonaparte’s dad in St. Tropez.


As a young girl, I ferried over to Fire Island. These days we ferry to St. Tropez from Ste. Maxime on Les Bateau Verte

Bonaparte and Dany

We get to spend time with Bonaparte’s dad, Dany. I couldn’t resist placing these two photos of Bonaparte and his dad side by side. The photo on the left was taken by Bonaparte’s grandfather, the photographer, Jacques Henri Lartigue. The photo on the right was taken by the non-photographer–Me!

We’ll return to old sites like Abbaye le Thoronet and discover new sites like the Jean Cocteau Museum in Menton.

Le thornet

The Abbaye le Thoronet is a beautiful way to spend an afternoon. The outdoor cafe across the way is even more fun!


I’m looking forward to visiting the Musee Jean Cocteau…

Hens in biot

..speaking of coqs, I came across these guys in Biot last year!

We’ll spend a morning in Eze and afternoon in Monaco.

Monaco. View of the harbor on a cloudy day.

Maybe this year we’ll have better weather when we visit Monaco!

We’ll just enjoy life for a while without computers or iPhones or tablets. And we’ll watch TV maybe for a few minutes before going to sleep at night…

And we will fall asleep listening to the sounds of the Mediterranean Sea hitting the rocky shore while being illuminated by moonglow.

Ttheoule. Last night. The full moon is illuminating and giving us a sign!

This is the view we see before falling off to sleep! The view from the terrace remains the same!

We aren’t glamourous or glitzy. We live like the locals and not the ritzy.  It’s simple and fun.

I HAD to add this clip of the film Le Chateau starring Paul Rudd. It’s hysterically funny. You need to watch this trailer. I speak French the way Paul Rudd does!

It’s our version of the Cote d’Azur.  A bit of paradise for me and Bonaparte!

Here’s some early Michel Delpech singing “Chez Laurette”, it’s just so beautiful! XOXOXOXO


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, Cote d'Azur, France, J. H. Lartigue, Juliette Greco, Mediterrean Sea. St. Tropez, Michel Delpech, Michel Polnareff and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

36 Responses to How I Prepare for the Cote d’Azur!

  1. Olive Ole says:

    Oh my! Im jealous! I wanna go to the Riviera!

    Can not leave without commenting on your packing methodology. You are just like my mother-in-law! She’ll also start 3 weeks before the travel to pack, and it baffles her that I typically pack the same morning as I travel… on early morning flights, that may make my mornig a tad frantic… ☺

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Olive! Oh. I’ll pack and repack from now till the day I leave. It’s an obsession. Presently, I think I’m packing too many clothes. I have to pare down! XOXOXOXO!!!

  2. gk says:

    It sounds like it’ll be a magical trip I’m jealous!
    Love everything you packed, so simple and stylish.
    Aren’t most of the beaches topless in France or have things changed?

    • Catherine says:

      Hi gk. It’s basically up to the sunbather whether or not she chooses to go topless. If I can get my gut to shrink a bit before the trip, I’ll be swimming without the top of my suit. The saltiness of the Mediterranean floats those girls up like pink-tipped buoys!!
      I’m definitely trying to keep the wardrobe as simple as I can!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • gk says:

        You don’t need to lose weight, you look fit and beautiful in your bikini!
        Wishing you a wonderful relaxing trip! 🙂

      • Catherine says:

        Hi gk. Awwwww..thanks so much! And I thank you for your good wishes! We are definitely looking forward to relaxing! XOXOXOXO!!!

  3. suzyjbarker says:

    You are so organised Catherine. Your clothing choices make complete sense. I prefer the serpent sandals I think since you asked. Hope you have a fantastic trip.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Suzy! I’m being a bit pragmatic in my clothing choices. It’s fun not having to pack basically black like I do when I’m in Paris!! Ohhh…I’m glad you like the Serpents!!! XOXOXOXO!

  4. Wow! First off, those are two wonderful photos of Bonaparte and his dad. And you have such interesting connections.

    And Catherine you have such a good body. The pic of you in a bikini is great! Also like me you start packing early – oh yes, 5 days to go and I’ve started. In fact, apart from flimsy dresses my case is almost done – enjoy your holiday. Btw, will you post whilst away? No way am I paying those rates for wifi on board ship, but I might be able to do something in cafes in Norway – we’ll see. Seriously, have a great time. xxxxxxxxx

    P.S I’m also packing my (10x) magnifying mirror!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Penny! Oh. YOU enjoy your cruise my love! And to answer. NOPE! I don’t post while away because AT&T are thieves when it comes to roaming charges. Add to that, I can’t do a post on my phone, it would take me all day just to complete a sentence because my fingers are too thick for my iPhone’s keyboard. I’ll write in my journal and when I return will have a few huge posts about the trip!!!

      LOL. The magnifying mirror is the most important piece of equipment! XOOXOXOXO!!!

  5. Bernadette says:

    Oh, you have made my faux french heart beat a little faster with envy the morning. (My name is Bernadette, after all.)

  6. spearfruit says:

    Catherine, sounds like the trip will be wonderful! And what a planner you are – the bikini – you wear it with class! Have a great Tuesday! 🙂

  7. mareymercy says:

    I think the Sahariennes Tressees – definitely!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Marey. I’m actually drawn to them too. I do believe I’m way to lazy to take the time to lace the Bikini’s I feel like an episode of House Hunters in elimination. It’s now between the Serpents and the Tressees!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  8. First let me say You Rock that Bikini !!! Im Paris in a week and have been “editing” my wardrobe for a couple of weeks, love your selections. Most women bring back fashion, I bring back Butter and french skin care products. Bon Marche Le Grande Epicure is a must..
    Do you have Not to be missed when in Paris? Cafe, Food items, Interesting Non Touristy sites?
    Love your Blog,,,, your awesome
    Have a great trip

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Cindy! OMG. French skincare? You HAVE to go to CityPharma on the corner of Rue du Four and Rue Bonaparte. It is THE greatest discount beauty/skincare store in all of Paris. Go early in the morning because it gets mobbed. You can spot this mecca by the large crowd of men standing outside waiting for their significant others to finish their treasure hunt! I also love FNAC because that’s where I get my French music CD’s! Neither Bonaparte nor I are ones to wait on long lines, so for me, waiting to get up to the top of Notre Dame or the Eiffel Tower is a waste.It’s more fun to be a flaneur and walk around aimlessly because that’s how you discover great places. I would recommend the Musee Eugene Delacroix because it is small and intimate and you also never know what to expect at Le Petit Palais (sp)–there’s always a cool exhibit taking place. For me, the Orsay is better than the Louvre. Invalides is also a great way to spend an afternoon. And of course, either Le Caveau or Restaurant Paul on Place Dauphine are great places for a meal. I’ve written about our trips to Paris in the past and if you can take a look-see in the archives, you’ll find some fun stuff to do!! I’m so glad that you are enjoying my blog. Comments like yours keep me going and I appreciate that so much! LOL. I’m currently getting the side eye from Bonaparte because of my packing pile. My constant editing stresses him out! XOXOXOXO!!!

  9. First of all, I love your blog and your sense of humour!

    Your body looks super nice for someone claiming to be 61, and honestly to me you don’t look a day older than 49!

    When it comes to the shoes I vote for the Bikini’s, as I see it you can dress them both up and down depending on what you wear. Plus they are super trendy right now, but will still remain classical enough to use when the “it period” is over.

    The other ones are very nice but maybe a tad to “hippy” if you understand how I mean?

    Well anyways, as I said I’m totally in love with your blog and style of writing!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Maleandro!! Welcome to the neighborhood! OMG. I LOVE that you think I don’t even look 5 yet. It made my day!!! Now I’m torn and the Bikinis’ are back on the purchasing table. Quite honestly, I’ll bet I end up bringing more than one pair of Rondinis home. They are my favorite sandals–so much so that I won’t buy any others! Again, I’m so happy you are enjoying the blog and come back regularly! XOXOXOXO!!!

  10. MELewis says:

    Paul Rudd speaking French? I am in love. Thanks a million for sharing the trailer. And happy to have found your blog, by the way, via comments on Suzy Barker’s! 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Mel! Isn’t it great? Rudd’s knowledge of the French language is much better in real life than in the movie but seriously, he is so funny in Le Chateau! Meeeemm!!! I’m happy to welcome you to the circle of friends we have here!!! Thank you for coming over! XOXOXO!!!

      • MELewis says:

        Always impressed when film actors can parlez français. Jody Foster is pretty impressive too. Looking forward to reading you!

  11. calensariel says:

    That movie looks hilarious. I’ve never heard of it. Looked it up on imdb to see when it was made. Going to have to find it!

    • Catherine says:

      Catherine, I believe we saw it on Netflix some time ago. A few years back and it is hysterically funny. Paul Rudd is greatness. His best line is “je t’aime Potat” for I love potatoes. Oh I hope you do find it! XOOXOXOXO!!!

  12. Leslie Preston says:

    I’m looking forward to my next trip to the France……via your blog. Yippee!!! Honestly, I love your travel information. P.S. Buy two pair of sandals!

    • Catherine says:

      Good Evening Leslie! LOL–that’s why I’ll be journaling my every move. Hopefully I’ll have lots to write about when I get home! Yikes! I do think two pair will be coming home with me! XOXOXOXO!!!

  13. Haylee says:

    Love the photos of Bonaparte – it’s always nice to see generations together through the ages. 🙂 And yes to hoops and I like the middle pair of sandals the best (but they’re all nice!).
    At least you have three weeks – I have three days and the spare bedroom currently looks like a war zone if clothes were a weapon of mass destruction!! *sigh*

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Haylee. Aren’t those photos adorable??? Yeah. Cheap hoops are the only way to go. Oh jeez. Bonaparte saw the mess of the room where I am “organizing” my packing. It’s the other war zone and he isn’t happy…Oops!!! XOXOXO!!!

  14. For a 61-year-old body, it sure looks good and those sandals are all so lovely that its difficult to pass up any. Have total fun 🙂

  15. beckyabb says:

    Have so much fun! The beaches along he Mediterranean in France are amazing. 🙂 And you have no worries about how you’ll look in your bikinis–I hope I look half as good as you when I reach my 60s!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Becky! Oh I will have a ton of fun. I love the Mediterranean beaches–especially the water because there are no waves! Thanks for the compliment! XOXOXOXO!!!

  16. junedesilva says:

    Shifts, shifts and more shifts! I LOVE shift dresses…

    • Catherine says:

      June! Right?????!!! Those shift dresses get me through the beach/pool time, running errands and seeing the sights. No fuss. No thinking!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

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