Tuesday, June 20, 2017
Yet another bright and sunny day. It’s almost overwhelming to me because I’m just not used to this much sunshine in the Northeast of the USA! The Canicule is hanging around for a few days so today’s beach day will be quite welcomed!
L’Estagnol. The grooviest plage I know!
Our plan is to head off to L’Estagnol as early as possible. Bonaparte always gets very sentimental when we visit this beach—it’s where he spent many happy summers of his childhood and youth.
The beach itself is a small inlet of the Mediterranean—almost a bay. And the water is calm and you can walk out into the water for what seems like forever and still not reach the “deep” end.
Early in the morning the beach gets some good shade!
The beach is narrow and the trees behind the sand make for good morning shade.
Not a cloud in the sky. Not a drop of humidity and we are off!
Me in my “pricey” Target bikini! My hair is piled atop my head in a messy top knot and..away..we…go!
Our routine stays the same each year. We stop at McDonald’s for coffee. OK. I have coffee while Bonaparte has coffee and croissant. I take the free Wi-Fi with my coffee instead of the morning pastry.
Breakfast at McDo! Look at those goodies. For me, this is a McDon’t!
The virgin drive for the year is also quite routine. We make the same wrong turn at precisely the same corner. Every year. We end up in the same spot—a small yacht club. Never fails!
It all ends well, though, as we correct our route and end up at the entrance to the beach’s park within minutes of our error.
L’Estagnol early in the AM is my favorite time to be there. The beach isn’t yet crowded and the sound of the cicadas isn’t drowned by the din of human voices. The water is peaceful and cool.
See how far the people are? And the boats are so close!
Let me just go to sleep right now. Look how calm the water is!
Out of sequence, but here’s our arrival.
There is a sense of freedom as my bathing suit top comes off so that Bonaparte can put sunscreen on my back without missing any spots. But I haven’t had a good skin check yet so the top goes back on.
Bonaparte wanders off into the trees to take pictures but I’m too clumsy to climb on the rocks. I can barely balance with two feet on flat ground.
Some of the Lartigue photography talent going on here..
Uh oh! A group of schoolchildren just arrived. Good thing Bonaparte isn’t here or he’ll get his French on and start complaining to kingdom come. I move our stuff, hoping he doesn’t notice when he returns.
I’m so annoyed. Not at the children but at the fact I took videos with my phone and can’t post them. This damned laptop! Anyway, that adorable group of enfants almost gave Bonaparte a stroke!
The ice cream man. I wanted to but didn’t!
I lie down for a while and it feels heavenly to close my eyes and feel the warmth of the sun. Le Soleil Donne! The Sun Gives! With my eyes closed, I drift off into another place. The sound of the sea gently breaking at the shoreline. The cicadas are still chanting away. The sailboats in the near distance rocking from side to side. This is what makes life beautiful.
My little corner of the world over here
That spray tan didn’t last very long on my feet, I’ll tell ya!
My feeble attempt at an artsy photo.
I turn on my stomach and open the book I’ve been reading. I’m almost finished. It’s a funny book by Clinton Kelly and I plan on leaving it at the apartment for others who may enjoy it as much as I have.
Bonaparte returns. He isn’t too thrilled because of the large group of children who have been here. I told him I moved our stuff but he wants to move it even farther away. I shrug and sigh. The beach is crowding where are we gonna go?
A family of four sits down in front of us. Bonaparte starts mumbling in French something about them purposely sitting too close to us. The mother is tall, blonde and attractive and not of the pencil-thin body. She’s normal. I want to be her best friend! Her husband looks strong and is not of the slight French man. I’ll bet he’s a chef. He looks well-fed. Their two young sons are not only adorable, but they are incredibly polite.
This family was great. They really were enjoying their time well spent!
One son throws a huge rubber ball and it hits my feet. Hey, I’ve had three kids. It doesn’t bother me. But the young boy apologizes profusely. He must have heard Bonaparte complaining. I smile and tell him, in my best French that it’s ok.
I go into the water and boy; does it feel great!! The waves are so tiny and small and I walk out what feels like half a mile and I’m enjoying this time of cooling off.
Let’s get in that water!
Look where the boats are and look where the people are! Is this not heaven on earth?
More beach fun!
As I make my way back to shore, the family in front of us is eating lunch. For a moment, I had a feeling of emptiness. I was brought back in time when my children were that age and they are grown up now. All I have are memories—but good ones. My empty feeling leaves when Bonaparte comes over to me and sits next to me. I feel comfortable now.
The remainder of our day at L’Estagnol was spent swimming, sunning, applying sunscreen on moi and people watching.
You know, everyone has this mental image of the French beaches filled with Bardot look-alikes and men who could pass for Alain Delon’s twin. Not true. Most peeps are pretty normal looking. All sizes and shapes. And that’s a good thing!
We pass a vineyard on the way out.
We stopped at a produce stand on the way home. The stand is in Collobrières and has the greatest strawberries of all time. YES. Of. All. Time! They were great last year, when we discovered this stand and are even more incredible this year. I swear I cried when I bit into one of the tomatoes—it was that fresh and flavorful.
Look at all this wonderful fruit!
Bonaparte was grabbing those melons with the wonder of a teenaged boy going after a different kind of melon!
I cannot tell a lie. These were the best strawberries I’ve ever had. No white insides at all. Pure strawberry!
Bonaparte gave the woman running the stand carte-blanche to pick the produce for us and boy did she pick winners. I need to stop because I’m getting hungry.
We stopped in St. Raphael to pay our respect to the fallen Americans during WWII at a Memorial. It always feels good to thank the many troops who gave up their lives for us.
At the memorial in St. Raphael. This is in honor of Henry Kent Hewitt, from New Jersey
It’s hard these days to be a proud American–given who was elected. But memorials such as this give me faith that one day our country will return to her greatness when a different president is elected.
We enjoyed a picturesque drive back along the Bord du Mer, the seaside road.
The l’esterel in the background
We never tire of this drive
Before going back to the apartment, we made our daily stop at Geant for Cidre.
But before going to the Cidre, I spotted a wall of bathing suits. Bikinis. Mix and match. Oh yes. I ended up making a purchase of a great bikini for ….11 euros!!!!
Eleven euros and the best bathing suit I’ve ever purchased. Bonaparte loves this!
I’m going back for another.
Time just flies by so quickly here.
We sat down at 8:30 for our well-deserved aperitifs and dinner.
The phone rang. It was the vet’s office. Chippy has an ear infection. But they took care of it early on!
Wednesday, June 21st
Hmmm. I woke up at 8AM. That’s a bit late. I don’t want to miss any of the sun! It’s Wednesday already. Time is fleeting for sure.
Today is the first day of summer and in my doomed way, the worst day of the year because after today, the days get shorter. Yeah. I’m that person. The first day of winter is, in a twist, one of my favorite days of the year because the days get longer!
Our plan today is to hit the pool then go into St. Trop to visit Dany again.
Bonaparte dropped me off at the pool and headed off to the clubhouse to check his email. When he came back to join me, he announced that our rented car had a flat tire.
The car rental company, Hertz, had to be notified, and someone was sent over to the pool to take the flat tire off and replace it with a donut. After which Bonaparte would drive the car back to Nice airport and get another car.
Our plans to head into St. Tropez were not going to happen.
By the time Bonaparte took care of the car debacle it was well into the afternoon. I finished another book.
Keeping it casual for our drive into Grasse. As you can probably tell, once again, I’ve overpacked. I’ve been wearing a bathing suit most of the time. I clean up nicely though! Thanks to my wig!
We decided to drive into Grasse—I needed to pick up some more Fleur d’Oranger; my favorite summer scent.
I’m very brand loyal with my scents. In the winter Guerlain. In summer, Fragonard! I love this place!
And even though it can be a bit touristy, so what! The parfum and other items that Fragonard sells are lovely!
We stopped in Cannes to pick up some wine and then off to Geant (which is making a major appearance in my journal) for a few groceries.
I ended up purchasing another bathing suit! Black with little pineapples!
My other 11 euro bathing suit. And in a supermarket no less!
A dinner on the terrace and I spent the remainder of the evening doing laundry. And I love drying the clothing in the fresh air!!!
Shortly before midnight , e heard a large “Boom” coming from the water. It was a Fireworks show!! I’m guessing for celebrating the first day of summer. It was spectacular. We headed to the terrace and enjoyed a front row, private viewing. It was a great way to end the longest day of the year!
What a show!! We felt it was just for us and only for us and a great way to end the first day of summer!
PS. My sons are visiting this weekend so I will have another post on Sunday. I have to tell you–my oldest son is moving to L.A. at the end of the month. I’ll give more deets then but it is an amazing opportunity.
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I’m listening to Frero Delavega now. The song is “Un petit peu de toi” and it is charming—here you go!