Back to the Côte d’Azur. Nothing Changes Yet Everything Changes!

Yesterday, July, 9,2022, The Frenchman and I returned back to the States from two glorious weeks on the Côte d’Azur. Staying, once again, at the apartment in Theoule-Sur-Mer that we have rented since 2011.

I’m missing this view already!

Our exception years being when Oona got married, and Covid Lockdown. This was the first time back in 4 summers and it felt so damn good to be back.  Not much changed yet, everything changed. There is a ton an absolute ton of construction going on. Add to that, it was crowded but not as crowded as in the past. I honestly think that the cloud of Covid is still looming. There are parts of France that are making masks mandatory, yet again, beginning on Monday, July 11!

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And next week Oona and Sam celebrate Wedding Anniversary Three. And in September, baby boy Number Two!

But enough about that. I’m here to share pictures and fun from our return to Theoule!

Let’s start with the flight:

Actually, let’s start off with my travel outfit. A $12 skirt from Amazon which is now $9.99. (of which I loved so much I purchased two). An old jersey shirt from Target. Old ballet flats from J. Crew and this delightfully lightweight wig from The Wig Company!

It was the first time ever that we flew directly into Nice.  In the past, we’ve always flown to Paris and then to Nice. In the years that Daniele was alive, we would spend time with her in Paris, fly to Nice from Orly, then back again to Paris to spend more time with her. Those days were lovely.

After she passed, it was flying to Paris then changing for Nice. It was a pain-in-the-ass, but since there were no direct flights that could accommodate our working schedules, we dealt with it.

New airport departure requires leaving extra early for the airport. Good thing we did because finding the parking lot was a feat in itself. Now that we found it, we are aware for future flights.  TRAVEL TIP: Always take a photo where you park!

Going through TSA was a breeze and we had time to stop for a late afternoon snack at the airport.  We had a good time!

Finally, this year, The Frenchman booked direct from Newark to Nice directly via United Airlines. I have to say that flying on United was a great experience. We had a slight delay leaving New Jersey but the pilot made up for lost time. And the return was wonderful.

You can see NYC in the far background!

Ready to go!

The food on the flights was better than American Airlines and Air France. Yeah. It was.

A little delay caused our flight to leave as the sun set! 

And a perk of having a loud, annoying voice was that when we landed in Nice, and I observed the incredibly long customs line, I said to my husband “Ugh. I wish your French passport allowed me quick access through customs”.  An agent heard me and said; indeed, the French passport could be used to allow me through customs with my husband. I wish I had known this years ago!  The customs entry was wonderfully quick—especially on the return home.

But enough about the flights.

And at daylight we were over land!

Let’s get to business.

We arrived in Nice mid-morning. Luggage in hand, tram to pick up the car rental and off on A-8 to the second Mandelieu exit!

Coming in for a landing at Nice!

Coming into Theoule-sur-Mer and  La Galere was almost a dream. It had been so long it almost didn’t seem real. But with key in hand and our entry pass into the community, memories all came back.

I couldn’t help myself. Only in France can you spot an “older” gent on a bike in the barest–and I mean barest of swimsuits. This was literally a man thong.

This welcoming sculpture was new. It wasn’t there before Covid hit!

The apartment was just as before save for a new sofa and a few cosmetic touches. The washing machine in the bathroom made me so incredibly happy because, hey—I love doing laundry on vacation—especially after sweating for hours as we see the sights.

View from the bedroom. The only time the doors to the terrace were closed was during a 4-hour rain in the late afternoon through early evening. Other than that the weather was sunny every day!

And we settled into our regular routine with ease. Heading to the terrace to enjoy the view, unpacking. And then a drive to Geant Hypermarche to get essentials and food. Oh. And Cider and Kir Royal makings.

We unpacked right away! TRAVEL TIP: To avoid sticky fingers from other passengers, make sure to use luggage with the filthiest exterior. Also, bring a workhorse bag. I brought my vintage LV Randonee that fits over the shoulders like a backpack. It came in handy for seeing the sights!

Cleaned up after unpacking, changed and ready to hit the hypermarche!

Our first dinner on the terrace proved relaxing and stress-free as I began my first night of nothing-but-fish-or-shellfish.  Crevettes and the best tomatoes on the face of the earth.

Crevettes, the best tomatoes on earth, eggs and mayo. A simple yet filling meal on our first evening!

The sun sets later in France and after a bit of relaxation and boat-watching, we fell into that same beautiful slumber with the French doors to the bedroom wide open and the sound of the Mediterranean Sea putting us into dreamland.

Sunday, 6.26.2022

After eleven hours of much-needed sleep, The Frenchman woke me with coffee, croissants and pain au chocolat.

And then it was back to the pool. There were changes. The pool used to be a freebie if you lived in the community. Now there is a charge. Our charge was an additional 360 Euros charge for the time we were there. However, it was an error and the charge had been included into the rental.

Morning at the pool. All is calm before the crowd arrives!

We used to pay for cushions to place over the chaise lounges for comfort. Since Covid hit, there are no more cushions and the old chaises have been replaced by new ones.

How great is this ?

Due to bees and my bee allergy, we didn’t sit near the flowing plants but moved to the opposite side of the pool. It was hot!! And this was the first year I hit the pool like a freshwater fish. (I didn’t wear a wig either)

No wig. No tan yet. And ready to hit the pool!

That first day, we spent 6 hours poolside. I happily read, jumped in the water, read, jumped in the water, repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

Back to the apartment to shower and dress. And off to Geant to get preparations for dinner. Geant is opened on Sunday but was not crowded so it was a pleasure.

The basics people. The basics. Creme de Cassis,  Champagne and butter. And bread.

Dinner consisted of a recipe I saw on Chef Edward Delling-Williams show—Endives with Lardons. And it was spectacular!

The Frenchman LOVED this Endive dish. I followed the recipe and am upset that lardons are not sold in the States. I’ll have to buy slab bacon and cut it but honestly, this was GREAT!!

Another relaxing evening.

Monday, June 27, 2022

Coffee and Crossiants!

Our usual breakfast! On the terrace and a great way to start the day off!

Today it was beach time. Sunny, sizzling hot and a heat haze—not a humidity haze but a heated one.  It was the first time I ever experienced what were waves in the Mediterranean. Not big Atlantic Ocean waves but tiny ones. There was a lot of activity and at 8:53 AM, we had to drive around in search of a parking spot!

Ready to head to the beach in Cannes. Again. No wig. It allowed more freedom for serious sea time!  This striped dress from J. Crew was worn with every beach/pool visit!

I had never seen waves this big at Cannes–and trust me, they were not that big but the sea was so refreshing!

Still life–beach style. The bathing suit top came off. That was the only time because I got bitten my a mosquito on my titties.

After the beach, we drove to Cabris, revisiting this lovely town as always and I stopped by the Chapelle of St. Rita to offer my thanks, light a candle and reflect.

The view from Cabris is always breath-taking..

A quiet, winding street..

…flowers in a window..

..and a local store add to the charm!

St. Rita lives in a chapelle that dates back to 1761!

My girl St. Rita. I thank her with every visit..

…and I say a little prayer!

From there, it was a trip to Grasse to Fragonard and off to Mougins. Mougins is the most adorable artsy community I’ve ever been to in France—and this was the first time I was there. I couldn’t believe that I hadn’t been in the past.

On to Grasse to get my Fragonard fill!

An old perfume vat welcomes visitors!

Fragonard Haul: Body Lotion, Scent, Hand Cream and Soap!

Next stop–Mougins!

These pepper sculptures were..

An absolute delight to behold!

Picasso sure gets around!

And so does Bart Simpson!

Flowers of Mougins!

Okay. I’m stopping here because I’m off to get a much-needed manicure and pedicure. My feet are gross from all the walking we did.

Here’s a little video. It sucks because it’s so random but it’s fun. The two water fountains?  The first is from the Fondation Maeght. The second water fountain is from Abbaye du Thoronet.  The dead bee being eaten by ants? Vincent had to swat the bee because it was ready to sting me. It fell and out of nowhere a ton of ants finished it off within minutes.  Enjoy!

l continue later in the week…

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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30 Responses to Back to the Côte d’Azur. Nothing Changes Yet Everything Changes!

  1. So lovely!!! I’m jealous, in a good way. It sounds like the perfect vacation.

  2. Liz says:

    Oh, what a gorgeous trip! Would love to go there. Thanks for sharing your pics and stories!

  3. Jamilla says:

    Newark to Nice on UAL – Glad it worked out for you!! I am scarred by both Newark and United so I applaud your bravery! Did you know Whole Foods and Amazon Fresh carry lardons? The last time I went to Europe was 2019 – three times! Haven’t been since but planning for 2023. Your pictures bring back fond memories-and memories of Côte de Azure traffic in summer! Looking forward to your next installment!

    • Catherine says:

      Thanks Jamilla! Yeah. Surprisingly, UAL ended up being better than American or even Air France–one year we were affected by AF’s love of strikes! I’m not a fan of Newark airport by any means–I still prefer JFK but at least there is a direct flight to Nice and leaving from Newark saves us two driving hours! XOXOXOXO

  4. Bonnie says:

    I love that area. You have such a great view! Very Happy you two were able to finally return and enjoy it all.

  5. Fiona says:

    So glad it didn’t disappoint, it all looks wonderful. Like you, I didn’t want to come home either.

  6. Judy says:

    Wonderful, I feel I was there too! Those crevettes…………!!!!!!!!

  7. Susan D says:

    So loved your post. I can’t believe that we’ll be there in 5 weeks. Your video was wonderful and has made me so excited. Just what I need as my husband tested positive for covid on Saturday and I’ve tested positive today. Fortunately I think it’s the mild version. Looking forward to part 2 and any more parts you might want to post.
    Susan D

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Susan! Five weeks till a glorious time! I’m happy for you! It seems that many of my friends and some family members who have all been vaccinated and came down with COVID came down with extremely mild cases. I guarantee you will be up and about within a week! Getting ready to head to part two now! XOXOXOXO

  8. vavashagwell says:

    what a great trip!!! Glad you had fun!

  9. Are you telling me you went to St Tropez and cooked as usual???? Amazing. Will you marry me?Maybe not. But loved all the shots. I’m so happy you had such a great time. I’m sure it was different but it was Good!!! Now was there something extra in that mayonnaise? It looked kinda lumpy. Always love and impressed with your cooking skills.

    • Catherine says:

      LOL. Sandy. We actually stopped by our favorite restaurant in St. Trop for lunch but it was closed. I was sooooo upset. The restaurant was only opened for dinner. It’s funny but that’s one of the reasons I love having the apartment. We love dining on the terrace so much that we limit our restaurant evenings! XOXOXO

  10. tonisoucie says:

    You are so fortunate to travel there each summer. It looks like heaven on earth and certainly a place I probably will never see so thank you for “taking” us there with your words and pictures.

  11. Juliet says:

    How gorgeous!!! Just loved the video and the whole post has been feeling upbeat, beautiful!!!

  12. Carol says:

    Wow! I loved everything about that post, thank you!

  13. Maryellen says:

    What an amazing vacation and a beautiful video! I would travel with you any time so you can show me the real France! I am so happy for you that you had a wonderful time and made lasting memories!

  14. Ann R says:

    you look so cute with your freckles. Thanks for sharing your pix and video. Enjoyed Grasse and Mougin pix as my sister live in Mouans-Sartoux years ago (in between Grasse & Mougin) and brought back pleasant memories (had my 50th birthday in Mougin).

    • Catherine says:

      Ann! Your sister is so lucky to be living there–and you are lucky to have a permanent place to visit! Your 50th birthday must have been the greatest! XOXOXO

  15. cathe says:

    Love the video. Wouldn’t it be fun to go to a party at the bubble palace!

  16. L says:

    So nice to see a post from your usual trip to France again. I have missed them!

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