Saturday, June 25, 2016
Note to self. Please stop drinking water from the tap whenever you travel. Your stomach gets “weird” whenever you are far away from home.
I mean it. My stomach was killing me last night. And when did I go from being incompetent to being incontinent? I’m continental dammit!
My OOTD–taken when we got back to our apartment. And perhaps after a few aperitifs. Note. This was the last time I used the selfie stick. It’s just too much work for me. I’m wearing a $9.99 skirt from Loft..it was so light and airy. A very light and strechy T from J. Crew and my old faithful Rondini Tropeziennes on my feet. The sandals were GREAT for walking around all day!
Saturday and I’m feeling much better. Bonaparte and I have an incredibly ambitious itinerary. We are going to Eze Village, Monaco and making a last stop in Menton. All in a day!
We certainly picked a great day to embark on our touring. Clouds are looming and the weather report is for clouds and sun.
For quite some time, I’ve wanted to visit Eze. I’ve read about how charming and story bookish the village is, and I’ve also read many reviews validating this. We tried to visit last year but we arrived late in the afternoon to no parking available whatsoever. So we left and figured that we would have to leave early in the morning to visit this enticing and magical village.
In addition, I’m a big fan of Jean Cocteau. The Musée Jean Cocteau is in Menton, a short drive from Eze and was on my “2016 to-do” list. Bonaparte wanted to make a visit back to Monaco so we decided to tackle all three places. In one day!
We took the “Bord de Mer” as far as we could to get to Eze. There are actually two roads that lead to the top village. One is a bit narrow and windy and kind of dizzying. The other is more –I guess you could say-direct and easy. We took the easy (or shall I say “Ez-ee”) road.
On the road to Eze. Up in the clouds…
Within minutes we arrived at the foot at one of the cutest villages I’ve ever been to
Directions posted just at the end of the municipal parking lot. (Note the word “Bastide”. This will be popping up in a future post)
Travel Tip: If you drive to Eze, by all means—plan to arrive early in the morning. I mean it. The earlier you arrive, the better your chances of a decent parking space. Spaces for locals are reserved on the street. For visitors—you need to pay. We learned through trial and error. We arrived in Eze at 10:30AM and the municipal lot was almost full! The tarif for parking at the municipal lot is 1€40 for the first hour. If you don’t go to the exotic Jardin at the top of the village or eat a meal, you CAN tour the village from 1 to 2 hours.
We arrived to lots of clouds. Trust me this was a great thing because it is so comfortable walking around when the sky is a bit overcast. The temperature lends itself well to exploring.
This was the beginning of our ascent to the top of the village. See how cloudy it is? It was great!
Travel Tip 2: There are tons of steps leading to the top of the village so wear shoes that won’t have you slipping and sliding. I cannot stress this enough. Especially if you have bad knees. For me, I have no depth perception so luckily, there were railings to hold onto while making our descent.
Eze is fairytale country. Had Rapunzel been throwing her hair out of one of the village’s towers, I wouldn’t be surprised. If I had spotted Snow White or Sleeping Beauty in the flower-filled cemetery near the church at the top, the sight would have been welcomed! I would have stayed until both Prince Charmings arrived!
Little stone steps in clusters..
..random little bouquets of flowers growing from the rocks. Damn. I just noticed those cigarette butts. That’s so disgusting. I wish I knew how to photo shop them out…
..little pathways. We were lucky to be here when the crowds hadn’t yet arrived.
Flowers and vines holding us in like bookends.
And more steps.
Our way up the village was slow and full of little discoveries.
A stop for a moment in a little square gave us a photo op and…
…a close up of this fountain. After last night’s result from tap water I wasn’t even going to attempt.
…closer to the top.
In all my 61 years, I’ve finally give validation to all the people who told me that “my head is in the clouds”. Well–now it is!! Or rather–it EZE!
When we made it to the top, we stopped into the church that is dedicated to Our Lady of The Assumption. Another old and in a “state of disrepair” church, the interior was filled with the ethereal scent of mustiness combined with the remnants of frankincense. I lit a candle to St. Teresa the Little Flower and Bonaparte made a donation for the maintenance of this precious place of worship. The many churches in France are the best places for reflection—and you don’t have to be Catholic either! It’s like Levy’s Jewish Rye Bread—you don’t have to be Jewish to enjoy it!
The climb up to the church made it seem more like a pilgrimage.
Even though the interior was run down, the ceiling remained beautiful.
St. Teresa seemed a bit happier to see me than my friend St. Rita did!
A candle for my special intentions (me) and a donation rounded out our visit to the church.
We stopped at a memorial for War victims, made our way to a little cemetery and stopped on a bench under a shaded tree to watch people.
A memorial for all the residents from Eze who were murdered in wars. Let’s hope there are never any more names…
The tiny fairy tale cemetary. Close your eyes and envision Sleeping Beauty and Snow White waiting for their Prince Charmings…
Travel Tip 3: Another tip I cannot stress enough about. What to wear—freakin’ wear what makes you comfy when traveling. I’m beginning to take offense when I read about what slobs Americans are (and I’m even guilty of saying that). Tourists from MANY other countries dress down. Way down. Don’t be intimidated. Remember—you are a tourist. You are looking at sights and climbing up and down stairs. You are walking through dirt. Comfort comes first.
Yes. We are in France–but we aren’t in Paris. Touring for the day? Don’t worry about being the fashionable American. Trust me, NONE of these tourists were American. Can you spot the chic? I didn’t think so.
Since it was still rather cloudy and we had more to see, we passed on the exotic garden. The admission tariff was 6€ 50 per person. We agreed to come back next year on a day where the sun would be shining on the flora, fauna, and cacti!
Back in the car—and offering luck to another driver by freeing up a parking space, we were on our way to Monaco.
I honestly can’t remember whether this pic is on the way to Monaco or Menton. But hey, it is one or the other.
For some ungodly reason, we always get lost in Monaco. This is a strange phenomenon because the area is no bigger than NYC’s Central Park. But the streets are winding and it does become a bit confusing. I can’t even. This year was no different.
We’ve been to Monaco quite a few times. We didn’t go to Monte Carlo because, quite frankly, after walking around that area once years back—it was enough. Pragmatically speaking, we don’t travel above our means and MC is a wealthy jet-setter’s playground. We’ll be back when I win the lottery. Or when I discover that I really am an heiress who was abandoned many years ago by her unwed mother.
A quiet street in the Old Town section of Monaco. Can you believe how clean it is?
You never know what you will stumble upon. At first I thought this was how Monegasques dressed to check their iPhones. Then we discovered..
They were wedding guests! I wished we had been dressed better so we could blend in with the wedding! Isn’t this the perfect tourist timing moment?
Instead we revisited the Old Town area of Monaco. This area is wonderful for walking about, stopping to admire the buildings, making the way to the Grimaldi palace and some fantastic photo ops.
I’ll bet these windows are washed twice a day..
Why the crowd at the Grimaldi Palace? I’m sure they aren’t coming to see me!
Another regret. I should have taken a video of this guard marching up and down in front of the palace. He had fancy footwork and everything..
I wanted to slip him a note asking him how he got his whites so bright and if he wanted to meet my beautiful daughter. I think Oona would do well in Monaco!
By this time the sun was playing hide and seek every minute or so. Monaco is so densely populated–but with wealthy residents!
Another view–with sunny skies!
I couldn’t resist this little porch. Everything here is just so perfect.
They say that residents of Monaco can be cold at times. Well, THIS guy certainly proved it when I gave him a goodby kiss! He probably didn’t like my trashy Walmart earrings! Seriously. I really like Monaco. A lot!
You will be fascinated at how immaculately clean Monaco is. I swear Disneyworld is filthy compared to this pristine principality! If I dropped an ice cream cone top first, I would still manage to lick it because there would be no dirt upon it at all!
After walking and frolicking in Old Town, we were back in the car and headed to Menton.
Travel Tip 3: Back to parking. Like the parking garage at Marche Forville in Cannes, the parking garage which led us to Old Town in Monaco also offered a free first hour. Why can’t the garages in NYC do this? It’s a great way to bring in tourism—you actually get something for free!
Approaching Menton. A view from the car. I think. Maybe it was when we exited the car and walked toward the Musee Cocteau.
Visiting the Jean Cocteau museum was big for me. His film “La Belle a la Bette” (Beauty and the Beast) is one of my favorite films of all time. He turned this fairytale into a dream. He did. Add to that, one of my favorite French actors, Jean Marias, was Cocteau’s partner in a very tumultuous relationship.
View of the Courtyard in the front of the Musee Cocteau. That sculpture of the whale is really cool.
The collection Severin Wunderman was jaw-dropping incredible!
A poster of one of my favorite films!
Sketches by the talented Cocteau included his friends…
..and those he loved–such as Jean Marais
I’m so angry at myself for not taking a pic of this poster which was at the museum. I was so enamored with everything that I completely forgot to take more photos. I’m sorry. I’m sorry because there were posters such as this one by the great Alphonse Mucha . Although I didn’t take this photo, I have photos of his work from exhibitions on past visits to Paris. He’s the father of Art Noveau.
Jean Marais tidbit: Danèle knew Marais. She said that he was absolutely “adorable”. Bonaparte told me that to call someone adorable in the French language is a pretty high compliment. That made me love him even more!
Jean Cocteau was a true Renaissance man and was multi-talented. He was a writer, an artist and made some intense films. We need more Cocteau’s these days.
This photo pretty much sums up who Cocteau was. Writer, artist, editor, filmmaker–oh, and lover of cigarettes.
I could have spent all day in this incredible, fascinating building of wonder and treasures! A viewing of his film “Les Infants Terrible” was on screen. I needed a chair to sit my expanding rear upon but Bonaparte wouldn’t let me watch the film. We were on the meter. We parked on the street and only had a limited amount of time.
Another surprise was a showing of an 80-minute short of the film “Orpheus”. Danièle’s ex-husband, the actor Daniel Gelin was starring in it. This time I did manage to park my rear on a bench. And once again, Bonaparte reminded me we were on the meter.
I’m coming back here next summer! I need to take more photos of this wonderful place1
I have to. What I didn’t realize was that across the street, on the edge of the beach, was another small, older version of the Musée Jean Cocteau!
I have no idea what treasures are in store here, but I’ll find out in the future!
Speaking of beaches, Menton’s beaches and shoreline are quite different from that of L’Estagnol and some others along the Riviera. Menton’s beaches are pebbly and rocky.
This stretch of beach is directly across the Cocteau museum. If you like a rocky beach, and are visiting the museum, you may want to wear your bathing suit under your clothes and spend some time here.
Sunbathers and swimmers in Menton.
Another view of Menton
If you aren’t crazy about fine sand, such as my dad was, the Menton beach is a definite for you!
What’s great about the Cote d’Azur is that the shoreline gifts you with many different types of beaches—there’s one for everybody!
The Marche in Menton. Had we arrived earlier, we could have spent quality time here!
We took the scenic route back. I wish we had come to Menton earlier because the Marche, which was just about closed, looked like a great place to visit. Especially since I saw signs for Socca—a chickpea crepe that I’ve been wanting to try (I make chickpea pancakes and they are delicious!) Next year!
Our drive back also made me realize just how bad my sense of direction is. I had no idea that Nice airport was so close to the sea. When I mentioned this to Bonaparte, he almost jumped the car onto the median.
I end my journal entry for today here. I am getting my lazy on.
Here’s another Laurent Voulzy song for a nice slow drive: “Belle-Ile-Mer: Marie Gallant”
NOTE: All photos, except where noted, were taken by either me or Bonaparte. If you want to use them, please shoot me an email! Thanks!