Back in the d’Azur Groove! (Sing it Loud)!

Saturday, June 18th

It is, once again, a pleasure to wake up with the doors that lead from the bedroom to the terrace wide open and to greet the sun with a smile and a spray tan that hasn’t faded!

Weekends can be pretty crazy around the beach areas so we’ve decided to take the day easy and relax by the pool.  And since it is early in the morning, we’ll take a trip into Cannes to Marché Forville. We can pick up great produce and cheese and whatever else strikes our fancy!

Bonaparte has left the apartment to make his daily trip to the little l’epicerie down by the pool.  The shop is owned by a husband and wife who have been living in the area for a long, long time.  They are always cheerful and welcoming and Bonaparte looks just as forward to seeing them each morning as he does to his daily croissant purchase!

While he’s gone, I get ready.  Since my face is fake tanned, I’m happy to not load a ton of makeup.  Actually, in the process of doing my face, I realize that I packed way too many cosmetics.  Anyway, I got my mirror and tweezer and sat down on the terrace to pluck away. The lighting here is great for plucking those unsightly chin hairs!

Quickly, I apply a neutral shadow over my eyelids.  Then I pencil in my brows. A few coats of mascara, a swipe of liquid liner, a bit of blush and clear gloss and I’m done. That’s it!

Theoule. Me Terrace Ready for the day. GOLD

My three-minute face!

Bonaparte is back and making the coffee.  The morning air isn’t dreadfully hot so there’s a coolness surrounding us and it makes the hot coffee taste more delicious and gives off a feeling of warmth.

The morning view never fails to please. It remains the same but changes every day in small ways. On this morning, there are no boats within view.  The sea is as smooth as glass and she is somewhat silent. The cicadas aren’t chanting and the wind is still.

Theoule. Another morning view from the terrace

The sea is incredibly calm with no boats in sight.  This is a view we never tire of. Year after year!

I throw on a simple gray maxi dress over my bathing suit.  Slide into my sandals, grab my older-than-dirt Longchamp bag and we’re off to the market!

Theoule. Rondini and Longchamp. BETTER BLOG Gold

That’s one of the things I love about being here. It’s so casual. An old Longchamp bag and old Rondini’s are a perfect fit for running errands!

Travel Tip: When running errands or out and about in a resort or summer vacation area, it’s really best to get the job done early in the morning.  The longer you wait the more traffic you’ll have to deal with and the larger crowds.  Tired? Sleep on the beach or at the pool.  You’ll still be rested and your tasks will be completed in a timely manner!

We parked at the lot across from the Market.  I’ve mentioned this before, but the first hour’s parking is free.  There are quite a few parking lots throughout the area where the first half hour to first hour are free. If you have a car, take advantage of it!

Cannes. Marche forville sign

The Marché Forville is always a fun place to be..and the fruit and produce…Wow!

Marché Forville was thriving.   Vendors calling over to you to try their products.  People inspecting each piece of fruit to make sure that perfect ripeness has been set.  Sounds of laughter from friends running into one another.  The scents of fruit and flowers giving off a delightfully dizzying aroma.  The waft of spices.  Men and women emptying their trucks of yet more produce.

Cannes. Marche Forville. Check out them tomatoes GOLD

Check out the produce!

Cannes. Marche forville. Checking out the goods

Vendors are always happy and willing to engage with customers!

It is a colorful, fun, busy and happy place and the hectic vibe adds to the charm!

Cannes Spices. Marche Forville GOLD

I almost fell into these bags head first because the scents were so enticing!

Cannes. Marche forville more cheese


Cannes. Marche Forville. Goat cheese. Yes. We did.

more cheese! We purchased the Herbes de provence Chevre and it was spectacular!

Cannes Marche forville. Flowers. You can get a ton of flowers for 6 euros.

If I lived around here, my home would always be filled with a ton of fresh flowers–they are so inexpensive!

But before any purchases are made, we take a walk around to check out the best prices. On one end of the market cherries are 6 €, 95 a kilo. (That price isn’t bad considering a kilo is the equivalent to about two pounds). At the opposite end. 3 euros.

Cannes. Marche Forville. Yer damn right I filled that bag with cherries.

We bought the less expensive cherries and they were so sweet and delicious. They were gone in two days! 

We stop for our annual supply of tapenade and luckily, the tapenade guys are up and running.  They are also selling a ton of product.

Cannes. Marche Forville. The tapanade and olive guys. They are fun!  GOLD

The tapenade guys!  The guy on the right gave me so many samples of different tapenades that I had a complete lunch!

Bonaparte wanted to also stop off at Nicolas for wine, and at Ernest for his favorite pissaladière, an onion, olive and anchovy tart that is best served hot!

Cannes. NIcolas. The greatest store for wine ever.

Too bad we didn’t have Nicolas in the States. The people who work at the various locations throughout France are very knowledgeable about their wines!  Naturally–it’s France!!!!

Cannes. Ernest sign. Great caterer and take out.

Ernest. For all things prepared!  Did you know that “traiteur” is French for caterer?  I just found that out.

Cannes. Ernest window of food. GOLD

Bonaparte’s pissaladière is resting on the platter above the little pizzas to the left!

Our expert timing allowed us for a return to the car within the hour of gratuity parking!

Back home to drop the goodies off, and literally throw towels, goggles, sunscreen and other necessities in a bag and make a dash for the pool!

On our way to the pool I practiced the same words I’ve repeated almost every day during our stays here in previous years. And I’ll repeat those words every time we arrive at the pool and I am greeted by the pool guy!  Only this year the great pool guy from the past two years isn’t here. His replacement is a young man with a smile!

Bonaparte explains to him that I’ll be practicing my French….

I greet this young man with “Bonjour! Je voudrais deux matelas et un parasol s’il vous plaît!”

 He smiles and upon paying him for the cushions and umbrella, he tells me in broken English “Thanks you very much”!

I’m so fluent…………….in my broken French!

It was great to be back at the pool.  We took a little walk around and snapped some pics!

Theoule. Pool. Diving board

The too cool diving board gives the pool quite the quirky appearance!

Theoule. pool. Snow covered alps from the pool.

I stood up on one of the pool’s decks to snap this pic of the snow-tipped Alps.  We are in the department of the Alpes-Maritimes!  Isn’t this view beautiful?

Theoule. Pool BLOG gold pic.

We both like the pool best this time of day!

Theoule. Pool. More view

The new pool guy is making sure everything is orderly!

Theoule. Pool 2016 foot shot.

OK. Time to give my fake-tanned feet a rest!

Slathered with sunscreen and under the umbrella, I started the first of three books that I brought along—The Apprentice by Jacques Pepin.  The book is an autobiographical account of his life and career in food. He also adds recipes too! This is my kind of book because I get to enjoy all the food he writes about without adding calories to my well-rounded body!

I’m envious of Bonaparte as he swims because if I go into the pool, my fake tan will wash off. I have to wait a few days. Besides, if I get my hair wet, my bald spots will show through.  The things I do for beauty…..


A bit later and it really feels like home. “The Bathing Suit” girl has arrived!

Let me explain.  Every summer, at the pool, there is a girl selling bikinis and cover-up skirts.  She sits at a little opened cabana of sorts and the swimwear is displayed on the counter.

Theoule pool Bathing suit tops

An assortment of bikini tops.  I swear my goal for next summer is to fit into one of these!

She has the perfect body. She also has a great tan and great hair.  She should be illegal!   Every so often she will take a walk around the pool area wearing a different suit with matching flowing skirt.  She doesn’t have to say a word.  Her body and breezy tone sell the suits for the swim apparel company she is representing—Dolores Cortés.

Theoule. Pool. Virginia. The adorable seller and model of swimsuits.

Virginia! The Bathing Suit Girl! How adorable is she? I should copy and paste this pic to my fridge as inspiration!

This year, I muster up enough courage to talk to her because I want to write about her in my blog.  Her name is Virginia and she’s worked as a graphic designer since 2006.  She loves fashion and I must say, fashion loves her!

She’s very sweet and pretty much popular with the regulars as many of the women come to greet her with hugs and pecks on each cheek.

Theoule. Pool. Virginia selling the bathing suits.

Virginia gets the crowds going. She has a steady clientele! It’s really nice to see!

When she told me that she needed to work on her tan I almost passed out!  She was pretty tanned to begin with.

I’m feeling bad because I never lost enough weight to actually buy one of the suits, but I’ll make it my goal for next summer!

Three hours of pool time gave way to gray clouds hovering overhead.  Bonaparte is convinced that our entire trip will be a wash out.  I ignore him and am happy I remembered to bring my umbrella with me.

We left the pool to return, once again, to our happy place. Geant!

Presently, I feel like I discovered gold.  I headed over to the cosmetics area, which, in itself is an oasis of beauty products so wonderfully displayed.  I needed moisturizer because what I thought was moisturizer  that I picked up yesterday was “shampooing”.

Geant. L'Oreal products. BLOG GOLD

Look at this cosmetics display. In a hypermarche no less–the equivalent of one of our large supermarkets. Ain’t no displays like THIS in a supermarket back home!

Geant. Makeup display. I couldn't resist.

This is almost too much for me. I’m ready to go into a frenzy!

Anyway, I saw a display against the wall. Little spray tubes of perfume.  I had never seen such a selection in my life!  I could see the seed of a new obsession being planted.

Geant. Adopt'.  Inexpensive perfume for your purse at 7euros. Best deal ever. BLOG GOLD

I’m in love with these scents. In LOVE with them. Woody Citrus is my fave!

While Bonaparte started shopping for food, I started playing with these fragrances from adopt’. Made in France AND the fragrances are long lasting! I casually slipped two fragrances into the cart:  Amber Orange Blossom and Woody Citrus.  Hey. I need fragrance to place into my purse anyway. Just in case I start to smell bad! These little tubes are a steal at 7€ each!  .

Our food shopping completed for today, we headed back to the apartment in the rain.

Back “home”the rain has stopped and sun has come out once again.  But the weather is also cool as I sit on the terrace writing and observing the goings on below me.

Birds are chirping but the cicadas are in hiding. It’s clearly too cold for them.

A lone man is walking down the path below and his dog is slowly lagging behind.

The sea is relatively calm with one yacht anchored in the distance, and a sailboat floats closer to shore. Three motorboats are racing and leaving a trail of little whitecaps and waves that are shaped into large curves.  The yellow buoys in the water bob up and down in quick rhythm.  And the sound of the small waves hitting against the orange rocks are the percussion to the songs of the birds flying over the sea searching for a seafood dinner.

The one mosquito bite on my face itches and I am overjoyed by the scent of the Amber and Orange Blossom that I bought home from Geant!

Palm tree and azaleas to my left. Bright purple Rhododendron to my right. Aubergine petunias in a large ceramic pot all contribute to a view that brings a simple pleasure to me.

Theoule. View of plants and houses from the terrace

Another view from the terrace but this time focusing on the landscape!

Bonaparte is napping because he’s disgusted by the weather. I feel bad for him, but I’m enjoying this time to collect my thoughts and write.

I make my way into the small kitchen to start the prep for this evening’s dinner.

We’ll start with the Tapenade we purchased at Marché Forville.  Naturally, we have a fresh baguette.  Bonaparte also made sure to pick up some saucisson. He’s having his favorite –Tournedo of beef and I’m going to enjoy my fresh Lotte—that’s French for Monkfish! (I’m so pretentious!)

I’ll also serve a salad—just to be healthy.   And for dessert figs and cheese! That’s until Bonaparte takes the ice cream out of the freezer!

As we sip our aperitifs, we agree that it is just nice to sit back and talk about nothing and everything.

After dinner, Bonaparte, in a panic, announces that we forgot to eat the Pissaladière from Ernest!


Don’t worry Bonaparte. The pissaladière isn’t going anywhere!

We can have it tomorrow!

Sunday, June 19th.

Today is Bonaparte’s Birthday! He is 72 years old and has the energy of a man thirty years younger!  Today is also Jean Dujardin’s birthday and my parent’s 62nd wedding anniversary. I hope my parents are looking down at me with love and affection!

Happy Birthday

Happy Birthday Bonaparte! May you have good bread and wine!

It’s early in the morning and I’m up before Bonaparte.  It must’ve poured last night because looking down from the terrace, the ground is wet and the large drops of water are dripping from the plants and flowers.

The skies are overcast.

A half hour later, the clouds have left and the sun is shining. Mother Nature has given Bonaparte a nice birthday gift!  The air has warmed up and it looks like another day at the pool!

We ran into the owners of L’epicerie. They informed us about the restaurant that we enjoyed so much, L’Aiguille, (click for the story) did, in fact close and that the owners would not be opening another restaurant.  I tell you I felt so local to be a part of that conversation. But I also felt sad that the restaurant is gone.

The pool was pretty much empty and there wasn’t much going on. The only excitement was when I stood up and the bottom of my bathing suit felt a little loose.

Not only was it loose, but it untied and was falling off me.  Thank God nobody was there to catch that comedy of errors!  Four hours of sitting under the umbrella and the thunder and rain crept in.

Theoule. Pool. Bonaparte Spitzer after a swim.

This was pretty much the birthday boy’s expression when my suit bottom became untied!

Four sunny hours of reading for me and swimming and baking for Bonaparte (He’s his own birthday cake!), ended with the sound of thunder and a sprinkling of rain.  I guess the sun became tired of shining.

Sunday isn’t the same here in France as it is back in the States.  Many shops are closed. Our very own Geant doesn’t open on Sundays until next week—at the official start of summer.

Bonaparte was visibly shaking with worry that he wouldn’t be able to find a baguette tradition.  I mentioned to him that there was a small boulangerie in St. Raphaël.

Off we drove. The back roads along the shore.  Past L’Esterel. And past some wonderful vistas.

L'esterel 2

Sorry, I know it’s raining but I forgot to snap a photo of l’esterel in the rain! I had to add a sunny pic instead!

We found the boulangerie and once again, Bonaparte received another gift in the form of an opened shop!  Not only did we get the coveted baguette, but we also picked up a Tarte Tropezienne as a substitute for birthday cake!

St. Raphael. Bakery from last year GOLD

Le Fournil du Port is the little boulangerie that was opened on Sunday.  I don’t know WHAT Bonaparte would have done without his baguette! I shudder at the thought!


It’s a good thing it was Bonaparte’s birthday or I would have started picking at this baguette!

The surprises didn’t stop. He was over-the-moon thrilled when I received a text from Oona wishing Bonaparte a Happy Father’s Day! Yeah. I was also Father’s Day!

I’m giving the writing a rest for now dear journal.  It is off to celebrate Bonaparte’s birthday with a nice dinner, his baguette and the pissaladière that he forgot to eat yesterday! Oh. And the Tarte Tropezienne too!

Food. Tarte Tropezienne. GOLD

Tarte Tropezienne. One of the greatest desserts of all time.

And for anyone who has a birthday coming up. Here’s a French Happy Birthday song for you cleverly performed by JB Craipeau!

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!
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35 Responses to Back in the d’Azur Groove! (Sing it Loud)!

  1. You are such a wonderful writer. Thank you!! I am so enjoying your trip. Do you rent a place? Could you tell me which one it is? Last September I went with my mom to Paris and then spent an amazing week in Nice right on the promenade. I LOVED it!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Ronny. Thank you for your compliment. It really is greatly appreciated. We DO rent a place. ( I need to mention that in another post!) It is in a community called La Galere in Theoule-sur-Mer. Damn! I can’t post a link from this reply. But you can Google and get some information. It’s a beautiful place! Thanks again. I’ll be posting a lot more about our trip! XOXOXOXO!!!

  2. Irene Albert says:

    I am so envious of your trip. A few years ago I read the autobiography about Pepin and enjoyed it very much. I also enjoy reading all of your blogs. Thanks for the birthday song, my birthday is July 7th!

    • Catherine says:

      Happy Birthday Irene! I’m truly happy that you are enjoying my blog posts. I’m especially happy that you are enjoying the trip posts. There’s more so stay tuned!!! Thank you so much! XOXOXOXO!!!

  3. Leslie Preston says:

    I knew it would be this good! I’m having so much fun reading about your trip! Yay, yay, yay!!! Thank you!!!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Leslie! Thanks. I’m having a big “Whew” moment right now. I want to add my Instagram account but the photo that keeps coming up is on that I took of tapenade after we squeezed it from the plastic bag and onto a plate. It looks like dog shit and I’m freaking out because some people may think I take photos of weird things…I gotta fix this! LOL!! I’m so glad that you are enjoying! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  4. Trice says:

    Your writing is exquisite. I felt like I was right there with you. I love how descriptive you are. I need to hear more!

  5. Adryana says:

    That was a great post! 😄 Did you buy any makeup while you were there?

    • Catherine says:

      Adryana. You are not going to believe this but I didn’t! I swear, I’m still in shock. I went fragrance happy. Those adopt’ scents and I stopped at Fragonard for more of my favorite scent (working on that post now) and Guerlain’s La Petit Robe Noir–my winter favorite scent. We’re going back in a few months so I’ll be purchasing cosmetics then! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • Adryana says:

        Wow! Yes, you are right, it is hard to believe. I don’t think I could have /not/ buy any cosmetics. But that can also be my lack of self control too haha. I’m glad you had great time! Next time, if you see a store called Etam, take a look inside. They have really cute clothes (lingerie and sleepwear) and makeup is also pretty good 😊 I love their matte lip cream.

  6. spearfruit says:

    What an amazing trip – I love the scenery! And the tapenade guys, who cares about the fruit. Great post Catherine! 🙂

  7. Christine says:

    I am loving every lovely and funny detail of your trip!

  8. JulietC says:

    Ohhhh that was a heavenly read! Happy belated birthday to your Bonaparte and your photos are fantastic – next year we are ALL coming (sorry Bonaparte, but we can stay the other side of the swimming pool or down slope or somewhere nearby so we don’t totally cramp you) as we need to have a personal guided tour – please and thank you (and I also want to get to know some of the other ladies who post comments, I think we’d have a blast and get on great). That pissaladiere looks amazing – but I am a total sucker for anything with a stray anchovy…

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet! Now that would be fun!! I would love to give a guided tour–provided the car is automatic and not the shift kind. Bonaparte is quite the strategic gentleman as he always rents a shift car so I can’t drive. I think there’s a reason for that somewhere! You like anchovies too? OMG. I love them. So briney and salty! Yum! XOXOXOXO!

  9. theturtle says:

    I’m loving this trip 🙂 you’re taking us on with you ! Even the rain sounds fresh and French 😉
    And you’re making me hungry 🙂 I want everything including that Pizza “bacalhau” on the display 🙂
    Glad you had such a great time and that dear Bonaparte had a good Birthday
    Turtle Hugs

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Turtle! It’s great to hear from you! I’m so happy that you are enjoying the trip. There’s more places to come so stay tuned!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  10. It’s so nice to read that you are having an amazing time in Cannes! Your pictures make me sooo want to visit this beautiful place!
    Happy Birthday to Bonaparte! Have fun you two! 🙂

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Rashmi! Oh we had a blast. It’s fun to not have an ambitious schedule sometimes. We definitely like to take it easy and enjoy every moment. I’m incredibly happy that you like the pics too! Thanks again! XOXOXOXO!!!

  11. Carolyn says:

    Joyeux anniversaire, Bonaparte! Catherine, I am enjoying your Cannes photos & memories! We rented an apt near the corner Avenue du Docteur Raymond Picaud & Blvd du Riou for 3 weeks. The woman I rented from is named “Catherine,” and the owner of the apt is named “Danielle,” Catherine’s aunt!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Carolyn! Holy Cannes-oli! Catherine and Daniele! It’s like me and Daniele. I have to tell Bonaparte about this! I’m so glad that you are enjoying the photos and my memories. BTW, we had our last meal of the trip at Gaston et Gastounette. I’ll be writing about it–but the dinner was outstanding! How did you like Cannes? When did you rent? It’s such a great area. Thank you so much for commenting!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  12. mareymercy says:

    Wow! What a treat to get such a detailed glimpse into your vacation. Thanks so much for thinking of us and sharing all of these lovely photos. I am green with envy!

    • Catherine says:

      Oh baby girl. There’s a lot more to come! I’m so glad you are enjoying. OHHH..I received hair extensions today..I’ll be writing about them after I finish my France posts. They are unbelievable great!!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  13. gk says:

    Ahhh, I feel like I’ve been on the Med along with you! So relaxing! Belated birthday wishes to B. 🙂

  14. KaboodleMum says:

    It sounds so lovely, even though the weather was in and out. I’ve loved reason about your trip so far 🙂 looking forward to more xx

  15. So you married a French man so cool. Nice picture of the cote d’azur. I am glad you had a great time. Have fun.

  16. painterwrite says:

    Seriously? All this gorgeous marketing and you were able to drag yourself back to the U.S.?

    • Catherine says:

      It was hard. I was crying on the plane ride home. It was incredibly hard–especially after looking at the latest violent events here in the States!

      • painterwrite says:

        I think I might partake in some rabble-rousing when I’m there in September to encourage every airline to strike so I can’t come back. 🤔

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