Did I “Menton” How Great France “Eze”?

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!

EZE. Me. Eze outift of the day. BLOG GOLD

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.

Eze. On the road to

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

Eze autre directions in village

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.

Eze hard to look down from this high.

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!

Eze pretty house BLOG GOLD

Little stone steps in clusters..

Eze flowers in the rocks GOLD

..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…

Eze little passageway

..little pathways. We were lucky to be here when the crowds hadn’t yet arrived.

Eze. Path lined with fleurs

Flowers and vines holding us in like bookends.

Eze. More steps to walk. Chateau Eze on right.

And more steps.

Our way up the village was slow and full of little discoveries.

Eze. Little square with fountain

A stop for a moment in a little square gave us a photo op and…

Eze. Eau no. Fountain close up

…a close up of this fountain. After last night’s result from tap water I wasn’t even going to attempt.

Eze. Up the steps to the steeple.


Eze. Top o' the world. BLOG GOLD

…closer to the top.

Eze. My head is in the clouds. Literally!

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!

Eze. Exterior of Eglise Notre Dame de l'Assomption

The climb up to the church made it seem more like a pilgrimage.

Eze. Ceiling at Eglise Notre Dame de l'Assomption

Even though the interior was run down, the ceiling remained beautiful.

Eze. St. Teresa.

St. Teresa seemed a bit happier to see me than my friend St. Rita did!

Eze. Candle for St. Teresa.

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.

Eze memorial for those killed by the Nazis.

A memorial for all the residents from Eze who were murdered in wars. Let’s hope there are never any more names…

Eze Cemetary at the top.

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.

Eze. A mix of French and Italian visitors. Who's chic now

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.

Menton. On the road 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.

Monaco. Quiet little street

A quiet street in the Old Town section of Monaco. Can you believe how clean it is?

Monaco. Wedding guests

You never know what you will stumble upon. At first I thought this was how Monegasques dressed to check their iPhones. Then we discovered..

Monaco. Wedding BLOG GOLD

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.

Monaco. Where every building is spotless.

I’ll bet these windows are washed twice a day..

Monaco. The palace that really should be my home.

Why the crowd at the Grimaldi Palace? I’m sure they aren’t coming to see me!

Monaco. Oh My Guard!

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..

Monaco. Everyone is so perfect.

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!

Monaco another vie from atop.

By this time the sun was playing hide and seek every minute or so. Monaco is so densely populated–but with wealthy residents!

Monaco. Another view

Another view–with sunny skies!

Monaco. Cute porch photo BLOG GOLD

I couldn’t resist this little porch. Everything here is just so perfect.

Monaco. Me kissing a statue. He did not turn into a prince.

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!

Menton. View from the car.

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.

Menton. Outside of the musee jean cocteau

View of the Courtyard in the front of the  Musee Cocteau.  That sculpture of the whale is really cool.

Menton. Musee Jean Cocteau. Severin collection exterior

The collection Severin Wunderman was jaw-dropping incredible!

Menton. Jean Cocteau Musee. La Belle a Le Bette poster.

A poster of one of my favorite films!

Menton. Musee Jean Cocteau. Sketch 2

Sketches by the talented Cocteau included his friends…

Menton. Musee Jean Cocteau. Drawing of his and my hearthrob Jean Marais.

..and those he loved–such as Jean Marais

Mucha Medee

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.

Menton. Musee Jean Cocteau. Head shot BLLOG GOLD

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!

Menton. OLD Cocteau musee.

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.

Menton Beach scene 1

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.

Menton. Bathers on the beach.

Sunbathers and swimmers in Menton.

Menton. I'm sure of it.

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!

Menton. Marche

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.

Jusqu’à demain!

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!

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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24 Responses to Did I “Menton” How Great France “Eze”?

  1. mareymercy says:

    Oh I so agree with you about dressing for comfort when traveling and sightseeing. The important thing is to SEE THE SIGHTS. You’re not interview for jobs or trolling for dudes so honestly, wear what you can throw on and then forget about!

    And those photos of Eze actually remind me of this little condo complex here in Houston I lived in for a few years – it is tucked away in this not very nice part of town, but it was built in the 60’s to resemble a little European villa or something and all the units were centered around cobblestone courtyards with all these little balconies and archways and little sprouts of flowers growing out of the stone walls…it was gorgeous! Although I know the real thing is much better. But- the added fun was how often film crews came out there to shoot scenes because of how unique it was. 😉

    • Catherine says:

      Cynthia. I would love to see pics of that little complex you lived in. I’m sure you took photos! But about the sightseeing wardrobe–right? I cannot stand when unrealistic fashun bloggers have to pose in designer clothing in places that call for more casual dress. I’m tired of smoke and mirrors. Actually, I’m tired. The rain is making me sleepy! XOXOXOXO!

      • mareymercy says:

        Not to mention they dressed and went there to TAKE PHOTOS and not see the sights. Totally not fair.

        And when I lived at those condos it was the 90s and I took zero photos back then. Nowhere near the digital age yet! But I might be able to search online and find some, if I can remember what they were called AND if they haven’t been ruined by now.

      • mareymercy says:

        Oh well…I found photos of its DEMOLITION. LOL. Typical Houston, if it’s over 40 years old, we tear it down.

  2. maidsdayoff says:

    Eze looks like an absolutely magical place! Thanks for letting us enjoy your trip vicariously!
    Also, thanks for the tip about the card of Walmart earrings. I took a pack of 6 pairs of hoops and studs with me on vacation this year. No worries about losing them or leaving them behind! You’re a genius! 😉

    • Catherine says:

      OMG. Rita. You just made my day! Am I right about the cheapo earrings or what???? Yes. I do feel like a genius right now. Who is going to be able to tell whether or not your earrings are cheap or the real deal? They won’t get that close to you!!!!! I am so happy that you took my advice about the earrings. You are my little grasshopper! Thank you! XOXOXOXO!!!

      • maidsdayoff says:

        And I just kept them on the card and threw them in my toiletry bag. Didn’t take a separate jewelry case and never had to search around for them. 😀

  3. Leslie Preston says:

    Loving all of this! Thank you so much, since I doubt I’ll EVER travel “abroad….” BTW, when Voulzy started singing, I at first thought it was Paul McCartney….but in French…..
    I’ll be quiet now…

    • Catherine says:

      Leslie. Why are you being quiet? You gave me an epiphany. Voulzy DOES sound like McCartney! He’s the French Paul! No wonder I love him!!! I’m so glad that you are loving this. My new delusion is that I win the lottery–but like 400 million bucks and all my blog friends get to come to France with me!!! XOXOXOXOXO!!!

  4. MELewis says:

    Eze looks like a fairytale place indeed! And that advice about getting there early? Pretty much applies to anywhere and everywhere in France, all the time.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Mel. So true about getting there early. We are still learning that–after many years! Ugh. The weather here in Pnilly today is just so soupy and humid. I do not like the summers here in the Northeast. ARRRGHHH!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  5. bookishchick says:

    Eze looks gorgeous – I love the idea of plants as bookends (I love plants full stop – thats why our tiny garden is so messy) and Menton! Wow – Katherine Mansfield territory (NZ writer) where there is still a house for aspiring NZ writers to stay on sabbatical so I gather. As for dressing like a tourist – dress comfortable (and dress respectful for any churches) but mainly dress for the climate/circumstances – nothing wrong with wearing what you like as personally I think it is rather nice to see a range of people happy in their clothes and their skin. Nothing worse than people yanking misbehaving straps, tottering in ridiculous shoes (and tripping in front of others – cobbles people! cobbles! save your ankles – wear shoes you can actually walk in), sucking in bellies and hoicking at hemlines – for goodness sake enjoy the place you are lucky enough to visit. As for all these very staged photos some people take, meh – too busy exploring thankyou – I have friends that I go on jaunts with, except everything has to be trout-pouted and then stuck on Facebook before they’ve even done it – I have too little patience to sit still and besides no matter how much sucking, pouting, primping and tweaking I still look like me

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Bookish! Um..can I be an honorary citizen of NZ so that I might find that house and stay there??? But seriously. You’re correct about the dressing. I completely forgot about noting to dress respectfully for Church. But what can you expect these days when even brides walk up the alter in strapless dresses and ones cut so low that the statues of Baby Jesus can practically jump down and breastfeed? Its crazy!
      But when we were in Eze, there was a woman who was dressed in heels, a short skirt and a great Longchamp bag. She was teetering all over the place. Those cobblestones can be dangerous–and they are so old that they have acquired a sheen and are slippery.
      Don’t even get me started on the trout-pout. I’ve been reading many travel blogs lately because it’s vacation season. And I cannot begin to tell you about the incredible amount of blogs that are not focusing on the scenery but are focusing on photographs of the bloggers! Really???????? XOXOXOXOXOXO!!!

  6. susanburpee says:

    What a lovely day you had. And me too now that I’ve read your post. Love that a reader above mentioned Katherine Mansfield. I’m such a fan of her writing. I visited Mansfield’s birthplace in Wellington NZ a few years ago…saw the doll’s house replica and sighed over “the little lamp.” Don’t ask. Mansfield joke.

  7. painterwrite says:

    Thank you! Hubby and I dress nicely when in Europe, even though we’re not ever going to be mistaken for fashion models or anything. Still, I see PLENTY of non-Americans dressed like slobs in Europe and wonder, why is no one making fun of their lack of fashion sense, where is their Bella Figura?! Sigh. Ahhh, but your photos are great…I love little mysterious, stony stairways and passages. Have you been to Vernazza, Italy? And I think I’ve seen those guards on Rick steves!

  8. Marsha Calhoun says:

    Just wanted to say, I only recently discovered your blog, and gosh, I’m enjoying it!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Marsha. Thank you so very much. I hope that you keep reading and continue to enjoy! XOXOXOXO!!!! PS. This was a lovely comment to wake up to today. Thank you!

  9. calensariel says:

    That picture that you called the little fairy tale cemetery or something like that, was just gorgeous, and so interesting.

  10. Jill Barth says:

    Wow, what a lovely & generous post. Life EZE good! Thanks for sharing. Cheers!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jill!! Merci!!!!Life Eze very good! At the present time, my French better half, Bonaparte, and I are on opposite teams. It’s France v. USA for women’s soccer. At least one of us will be toasting our team at aperitif time!! Cheers back atcha!! Always happy to share my fun times! XOXOXOXO!!

  11. lorigreer says:

    I enjoy the detailed, informative and whimsical account of your visit. The photos were superb. The best part is that you were having fun! I am going to save this post for my next trip to France. Thank you for sharing!!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Lori. It’s so funny that you should comment about my having fun. Last night Bonaparte and I were kind of discussing my blog posts on our visits to France. He said that I could come across as snobby but I don’t. I was so happy he “got” that. I’m not snobby traveler. I’m fun traveler. And I thank you for your comment about my having fun. You got it! YOU. GOT. IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Seriously. Nobody needs to dress to impress. Nobody needs to act any differently (with the exception of being more polite and respectful). Just. Have. Fun!! XOXOXOXO!!!

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