Au Revoir Jusqu’à la Prochaine Fois. Goodbye Until Next Time

 Saturday, July 2, 2016

3:30 in the morning and the alarm went off but I didn’t even need it.  There is something remarkably annoying about having to wake up before dawn and get ready for your departure home from a wonderful trip.

You are so tired and running on adrenaline to get to the airport that you can’t focus on the great time you are leaving behind.

Theoule. Apartment. DEPARTURE BLOG GOLD. Leaving for home at 4 AM

All my clothing is crammed into the Longchamp bag. All the other stuff  like towels and whatever isn’t clothing is in that big, fugly peachy/pink suitcase.  I’m delighted at how filthy that suitcase got while being handled by American Airlines. Nobody will ever steal anything from it. EVER!

This is so disgusting-but after a bath and not washing my makeup from last night off, I’m ready to get dressed for the flights home. My hair is piled atop my head like a bird’s nest and I’m going to wear shorts, a tee shirt and my old Rondini sandals.

Bonaparte and I are quiet because we are saddened and in no particular hurry to leave, but we need to be on time for the flight.

I take one last look around the apartment that has become our second home.  It is silent. The cicadas aren’t chanting. The frogs in their baritone voices aren’t harmonizing. Even the sea is silent. Could they be just as sad that we are leaving them?

Bonaparte closes the doors to the terrace ending our 2016 visit.

We walk to the car in the darkness of the early morning. A rush of emptiness fills my body because I am reminded of the last time we left France early and in darkness—the weekend of Danièle’s funeral.

Paris. Monday. October 26. On the way to CDG. I miss you

This is how dark it was when we last left Paris in October. It was just as dark when we left Theoule.

The stress of departure is prevalent as we arrive to return the car to Hertz. A locked gate is stopping us from returning the automobile. I get out of the car to see a sign that reads nobody will be at the rental return before 6:00 in the morning.

It is 4:45 AM.  But all is not lost as I also see instructions to drive the car closer to the gate to activate the sensor that will open the mass of iron in order to allow us to return this vehicle.

Others who arrived before us and who didn’t see this sign are pulled over to the side. I’m sure they are now thrilled.

We unload the car, still in silence, drop the keys in a box and head off to the terminal.

This is why you get to the airport in plenty of time. We met with a mad crowd of students who were on their way to Spain. Hundreds of them.

By the time we checked in and passed through security it was about 6:30 AM. We were able to enjoy a bit of breakfast at the terminal and rest up for about 40 minutes before boarding our flight to Paris.

NIce airport

Daylight!  And we are awaiting our departure.

From the plane. Departing nice for Paris

Off we go to head to Paris for a small layover before heading home.

Arriving in Paris was another story. CDG airport was a shit show. I’m not kidding, I cannot understand how an airport as heavily trafficked as this one was such a train wreck.  The place is so friggin’ disorganized that my blood pressure is rising as I’m typing this.

The good news is that our flight from Nice departed on time and landed in Paris a bit early.

The frustrating news is that we had to wait on a line to check in for over an hour. Then it took another hour to get through customs and another 30 minutes to get through security.

Airport. CDG. Crowd 2

Crazy time at the airport. The crowds were completely stopped by security here. Ten minutes later we were on our way..

Hollande better start making sure that this airport not only hires more staff, but better make sure it happens soon.  Now that the UK is no longer part of the EU, the Brits are going to take up unwanted space at customs. And the lines will be longer!  I don’t like that!

Airport. CDG. Lines. Look at that french braid. I was obsessed with this woman's look.

…and more lines.  Ugh. It took forever. You wanna know what made the time fly by?  Take a look at the woman on the far left. What a head of hair. I was fascinated by her braid and the color of her hair. She had the GOOD gray! 

A bit later and a bit calmer, we were at the terminal in time for some duty-free shopping.  All I wanted to get was a refill of my winter scent: Guerlain’s La Petite Robe Noire. I did. And I also picked up a couple of food magazines. It’s fun to translate the recipes and incorporate them into our meals.

Shopping. My two scents worth. Fleur d'oranger and la petit robe noir.

Sorry. I snapped this pic at home. I was too stressed to take any more photos at the airport. But I picked up La Petit Robe Noire for a great price. It’s funny but the first time I ever smelled that scent was at the airport–Orly on the way to Nice!

Shopping. Food Magazines with Recipes. BLOG GOLD.

Simple pleasures for a simple woman. I LOVE buying these French food magazines and then translating them. Believe me, this is a great way to learn how to cook authentic French meals–right down to the measurements!

At the gate, which was more like a cattle ranch, we were advised of a gate change.  Once again, the disorganization was epic as the staff of American Airlines attempted to have us board the flight.

cows out to pasture

Although I took this photo years ago in Burgundy, American Airlines treated us just like cows on a ranch. Actually, these pretty girls were treated better…

Don’t even get me started on American Airlines.  Once again, we had to take a bus to the plane because the plane was NOT at the gate. I swear I need to write a letter to American Airlines because I want a refund of at least ten percent of our airfare for charging ridiculously expensive prices for air travel and then making us take a bus to the plane.

From the plane. Departing for home

On our way back to Philly…

From the plane. Departing for home 2

Can we turn around please???

And so as I become ensconced in my little area of the plane, I start to think about our trip and what I will miss. It’s the small and mundane I’ll miss the most.

I’ll miss that feeling of euphoria as we leave Nice airport and head to the apartment!

I will miss our breakfasts on the terrace and I miss drinking coffee from a bowl.

breakfast on the terrace

I had to reach into my shutterfly account for this pic. But I do miss these breakfasts at the start of the day. 

I’ll miss watching daylight turn into twilight as we begin our meal and I’ll miss twilight that has turned into darkness with a bit of moon glow as we end those lazy and long meals.

food on the terrace

I miss our gluttonous meals that start with Kir Royals and Breton chips and pate’s……

Theoule. Apartment moonlight path on the water GOLD

That’s right. Our dinners go from daylight to this.

I will miss that comforting feeling of sleeping with the doors to the terrace wide open and being put to sleep by the symphony of frogs, cicadas, and the sounds of the rhythm of the sea’s little waves against the rocks.

I’ll miss these sounds combined with..

…the sound of the Mediterranean sea at night. Puts me right to sleep!

I’ll miss going to the pool in the morning and being greeted by Nathalie and Laurent,  the couple who run the little shop L’epicerie, at pool’s entrance.  Bonaparte stops there early each day for his croissant. We also get the local gossip which makes me feel as though I’m a part of the community!

Theoule My Favorite Epecerie Owners!

Laurent and Nathalie are ALWAYS this happy and pleasant. I will miss them. A lot!

Theoule. La Galere. L'Epecerie near the pool

And here’s their little shop by…


the pool!!!!

I’ll miss our daily trips to Geant hypermarche. Oh yes I will. The simple act of picking out groceries in this wonderland of delightful packaging and epicurean surprises never ceases to amaze me.  The cheeses alone bring me into a state of euphoria.

Theoule. Geant. Cheese Heaven! Theoule. Geant. Cicada and other provencial goodies!

Oh, those cheeses. And look at this homage to the cicadas. I’m SO angry at myself for NOT buying one of those ceramic cicadas.  Those cicadas are better than any designer bag! You push a button and the cicada makes sounds! I can’t even…

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

Friday at Geant. Hey. I’ll even miss those weird carts that are nearly impossible to steer!

I’ll miss the thrill that I get when we drive into Cannes, park the car in the lot at Marche Forville and finish our errands within the hour of gratuity.  I love that!

Cannes. Interparking ticket at Marche Forville. Free the first hour.

Look!  0,00 Euros!!  I LOVE THIS!  A free hour of parking. Makes me want to leave then come directly back and do it again! And again! And again!!!!!!

I’ll miss the view of the bay that we see every time we drive from Theoule down along the coast.

Theoule. Back at L'Aguille More boats

Boats in the bay..

view of the bay

..and closer views as we drive downhill toward the coastline.

I’ll miss the feeling of the cool water of the Mediterranean against my toes as I enter the water and I’ll miss being able to swim out what seems like forever and still not get my hair wet.

L'estagnol. My feet in the crystal clear water

There is nothing like salt water and sand touching your feet and toes…

Beach Pic from Var

..another great view of the clear water.

my favorite boat in antibes

One of my favorite boats that has been docked in Antibes for a couple of years. Who doesn’t love a boat christened with the name “Rehab”?  I didn’t see it this year. I’m guessing it checked into….

I’ll miss our trips into St. Tropez to have fun with Dany.

St. Trop. Dany Lartigue and me.  Oh lala

See how much fun I have with Dany!!

I’ll miss the way the salty, briny water hits my cheeks and nose while taking the Bateaux Verts from Ste. Maxime to St. Trop and back again.

St. Tropez. En ROute. Hey Yacht. Outta our way!

On the Bateaux Verts

I’ll miss my daily dose of Nostalgie Radio—93.5 on the dial, and listening to my favorite French pop stars serenading to me as we drive throughout the Riviera.


93.5 on the dial and..

The familiar jingle. It never changes!

I’ll miss waking up to the greatest view.

Theoule. View from the terrace with awning

Yup. Every day this is what greets us!

I’ll miss the smell of Rondini Atelier—the scent of leather is so strong and reminds me of an old-school shoe maker.

Shopping St. Tropez Rondini a peek into the studio

I can still smell the leather!

Shopping St. Tropez Rondini store hours BLOG GOLD

Perhaps next summer, I’ll purchase a tote instead of sandals!

I’ll miss the sights and sounds of the Marche Forville and all the activity and the organic beauty of the offerings.

Cannes. Marche forville sign

My favorite marche..

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

…and the friendly Frenchmen selling olives and tapenade!

I’ll miss the way that our daily routine is ever-changing while remaining the same. Mornings at the pool and then lazily heading off to see whatever sights we feel like going to.

Thoronet. Better courtyard view day and abbaye…

Cabris. Winding street

..the next day, a village. It’s all whatever you feel like doing!

I’ll miss the friendly locals.  I’ll miss the wonderful service we receive when we are at restaurants or boutiques.

Damn. I’ll just about miss everything!

cannes beach

I even miss beaches that are not L’estagnol!  I also love the beaches in Cannes!

That is, I’ll miss just about everything until next year!

PS. Right now, as I write this, I miss the fact Bonaparte is at work because I don’t know if the French title  of my is correct!

What do YOU miss when we leave your vacations? I want to know!

Here’s a song that I hear on Nostalgie that always puts me in a great mood! Phillippe LaFontaine’s “Coeur de Loup”. I have this song on a CD. I start car dancing in my seat when I hear it!

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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31 Responses to Au Revoir Jusqu’à la Prochaine Fois. Goodbye Until Next Time

  1. Jean says:

    Well, I feel very lucky. I moved to my favorite vacation spot from part time to full time 4 years ago. I continue to not take for granted my view, as well as all the beauty nearby each and every day. Now my favorite vacation spot is to visit the kids in their various states and when we return I miss THEM. Other than those trips I’m not much into vacationing any more. I do love Italy but have to admit coming home is the best part for me! Regardless of where we go.😊

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Jean. It must be so wonderful to move full time to your favorite vacation spot. And it is even more wonderful to not take anything, especial the simple pleasures for granted. Oh..tell me about visiting the kids. I always get sad when we leave NYC and I see the boys for lunch or dinner! When I returned from visiting Oona I was depressed for a week. I’m lucky that she’ll be back for a visit next month!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  2. We miss the whole travel experience,… the people, the sights, the food. That is why we’re always looking for our next chance to travel ☺

  3. Judy says:

    If we go on a beach holiday I miss the fabulous weather ((we live in the uk so now you understand), if we go on a city break I miss the constant discovery of new things, places, people and customs. And I also miss exchanging conversations with total strangers and ending up after ten minutes firm friends! I miss trying out new foods, but I am always, always glad to be home to the loved and familiar. Best of both worlds, really!
    Thanks for another lovely post, Catherine. What would we do without you!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Judy. Oh. I feel your weather pain. What many people do not realize is that the weather here in the Northeast of the States is often rainy–especially during the Spring and Winter. And it is gray from November through April. So I get what you are talking about! It’s funny–I feel the same way you do about beach vacay and city trips!
      The only reason I like to return home is because of my kids, the dog and it’s very comforting to come home to your own bed. That’s the first thing I love to do when returning from a trip. Get to bed early and veg out with the TV!
      I’m happy that you are enjoying this last post about the trip. Future posts shall be back to normal–with a touch of humor! Thank you, Judy! XOXOXOXO!!!

  4. mareymercy says:

    Always a shame to say goodbye…but there is always next year!

  5. hipchick66 says:

    I don’t want your trip to be over either!! I’m so glad you shared it with us! Xoxo

  6. Yolanda Baird says:

    Your blog today felt so personal. I felt so sad, it was if you put into words how I feel every time we leave Europe. The good news is you get to go again soon! Thanks so much for sharing your trip!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Yolanda! Thank you. I did write from the heart a bit more today. I just miss so much of the simple, everyday things. I don’t miss the huge department stores or fancy places–I miss what is dear to me. And I’m glad that I was able to put, into my words, how you feel when you leave Europe.
      Yeah. I can’t wait to get back and You are very welcome. It was a pleasure sharing our trip! XOXOXOXO!!

  7. Helena Zenia says:

    Thanks so much for sharing your divine trip to France. I could almost smell the sea air. Sigh…maybe next year.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Helen. You are quiet welcome. That trip is one I look forward to so much and every year I still pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. I’m glad that you enjoyed. Thank you! XOXOXO!

  8. calensariel says:

    Oh how I am envious of having that view of the bay every morning… Sigh…

    • calensariel says:

      I can’t believe you got all that stuff packed in three bloody bags!!!

      • Catherine says:

        Hey Lady Calen! The big black bag belongs to Bonaparte. He also loaded a bunch of stuff into that fugly peach suitcase. Oh yeah. I try to pack as light as I can. And I still managed to overpack clothing. I swear next time, I’m only bringing bathing suits and shift dresses. I wore the same thing over and over! Being at the beach does that to me.
        LOL. Our present view now is the one from our deck. And it overlooks the townhouses in our community. A far cry from the sea!!
        Trust me. I’ll cram whatever I can into that Longchamp bag because I’m very territorial about my stuff. I want it with me! XOXOXOXO!!

      • calensariel says:

        That’s actually the biggest stress about flying for me. Losing our luggage. That’s why we take direct flights whenever possible. Costs more, but it’s a lot less worrisome. And the last time we flew to Baltimore to see the kids we discovered Comfort Plus seating. DAMN near as good as first class! Lots of leg room and you got free alcohol! Cost about $90 more, but so worth it. Dedicated overhead storage, on and off first!

  9. julietC says:

    Welcome back and commiserations on the holiday end – I have really enjoyed the read but am glad you are safely returned home. As for what I miss from my holidays, I guess it is the feeling of absolute freedom that comes from not having to conform to strict timetables, deadlines and boring meetings that self-important people impose on others – I think I am not really a creature of habit once I strip away all the “should” things in normal existence. I love the whimsical, open mindset we have on holiday and wonder if that is always there then why does have to be packed away along with the holiday clothing when we come back home, why is it not valued? Why do we close back down and turn into such small and colourless versions of our holiday selves? You can almost see people fold themselves back into disguise at the airport.
    As for the other stuff I miss – well it depends who I am with and where I am. Way up north in Scotland (Aultbea) has the most beautiful sunsets and serenity I have ever seen, it is just so beautiful. Spain, I miss the food and wine and promenading along the sea front after dinner (try that in our area of Scotland the midgies will have you) and the good manners, I miss how happy the OH is when he has had a long day pointing at rocks and telling me how old they are and where they were before they pitched up in their current position, back home he returns to his grumpy, taciturn self, if he is around at all. Italy – well that depends – I generally go with friends and I miss their friendship and the ease of taking the time to enjoy their company rather than a quick coffee and of course the food/wine and all the stunning beauty of their built up environment as well as the friendliness and again the good manners (the hello and goodbye as you enter a shop, the number of people that smile)… As for back home in New Zealand – I miss seeing family and I miss the smell – the way the pavements smell almost curried when it is hot and sunny after a rain shower, or the cool green smell of the bush, the intense but soft beach smell of warm sand and pounding waves and the heavenly honey smell of NZ flax flowers is possibly one of the most beautiful smells ever….
    I also miss the exoticness of other people – I love a foreign food shop or a magazine or just a window of kitchen implements/gadgetry etc. And as a compulsive people watcher – other people, anywhere, I wonder what their homes are like, how they live what their little rituals are as they go about their business (mind you I am just as nosey here in Glasgow)….
    As for what I DON’T miss – well the coming back, especially being a nonEU citizen returning to the UK, don’t even start me on how unpleasant that can be! (all I can say is NEVER fly into Heathrow if you can help it)

    Sorry that was long – but you asked!!!

    “Hugs and wee winches” as they say here

    • Catherine says:

      OMG. Juliet. I LOVED reading what you miss because so much of it rings true for me as well. It’s so true. When we are on vacation or longer trips, we do forget the timetables and the hours just blend into one another. And the airport. I’m telling you, at the gate for our return to Philly from CDG, people were angry and nasty and pissed off–I think it was a mixture of not wanting to leave France and the crap way American Airlines treats its paying customers!
      And I realize that we are kindred spirits because I LOVE the scent of the street after a summer rain. It isn’t the same in the winter but in the summer mixed with the heat, it is one of those scents that you love and cherish–like burning leaves, mowed grass, the ocean, old-school Coppertone suntan lotion and incense at church!
      Hugs and we winches (at first I thought it read “witches”. My eyes!) back atcha! XOXOXOXO!

      • JulietC says:

        You have inspired me / got me thinking about next time I come back from anywhere – I am going to focus on bringing back the positivity and the feeling of the holiday (rather than just the splendid saucisson – which naturally would come back too NO MATTER WHAT) and thereby carry on the way of life lessons a little longer. I think we are all kindred spirits here – I think you have created an online version of the “salon” that was the centre of french cultural life in the 1700s and very much dominated by smart and interesting women, how cool is that???!

  10. iolacontessa says:

    This brought tears……….THANK YOU!

  11. Jeanne says:

    Hold tight to those wonderful travel memories…memories make the trip live on forever…welcome home and here’s to planning the next adventure!

  12. Karen in Bucks County says:

    If you’re missing your beloved South of France, go to see the AbFab movie. You will LOVE it! i just saw it and thought I was looking through photos of your trip.

    P.S. It’s a great entertainment value for belly laughs per dollar.

    • Catherine says:

      Karen. We are seeing the AbFab movie tomorrow. Edina and Patsy are my role models and icons. I LOVE them. I just may be kicked out of the theatre for laughing too loud!! XOXOXOXO!!!

  13. WOW,
    I am so glad that you both had such a good time in France.
    I admit that I am jealous. Not of France, although it would be a wonderful place to visit…. at you just getting away.
    Danny and I haven’t had a vacation, even a weekend away in almost 9 years. We did have park work related trips for awhile. Those have stopped.
    My son and I use to take road trips and go camping. Then I took them by myself.
    So I travel along with you and Bonaparte in my dreams.
    We are going to see my dad in Arizona in October. Danny took the whole month off.
    Off to read more. Love and hugs, Sarah.

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Sarah. A month!! That’s great. I’ve never been to Arizona but I’ve heard great things about the State! Enjoy your vacation to the fullest and please–report back!! XOXOXO!!!

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