Another Change in Plans and a Surprise in Monaco!

Thursday, June 30, 2022

There was a change-up in the plans for today.  The original plan was to head to my favorite beach, L’estagnol.   But the Frenchman nixed the beach trip due to the news last night about…………………. an invasion of…………Jellyfish!

Why we're working to put Africa's jellyfish on the map

The Frenchman had been stung when he was in his youth. It hurt so much that he no longer swims with the jellyfish!

Yes. Parts of the beautiful bodies of water along the coastline of Southern France were invaded by these translucent orbs of painful stings.  The invasion was bad enough in some areas that sun worshippers were forbidden to enter the water!

Lucky for us, we had the pool. And at this juncture, we followed the ritual we had been following for years.  Pool time in the morning, then heading out on our adventures in the afternoon.  As such, this was a beautiful day for doing so.

Another glorious morning by the pool!

Reclining at the pool, I was ready to multitask by reading, journaling, and swimming in water that was invaded by children and not jellyfish. Hmmmmmmmm. I need to ponder that thought.

Anyway, after a morning of fun in the sun, my husband decided we should take a drive to Monaco. We were planning on revisiting but hadn’t had anything set in stone, so what the hell? I was on board. Besides, I enjoy the drive along the Bord du Mer.

Monaco–the Disneyworld of The Riviera. It’s so incredibly clean!

Okay. The thing about Monaco is that, other than the casinos in Monte Carlo, it isn’t the most exciting place—and I don’t mean that in a bad way at all. In fact, I kind of like the fact that Monaco is pretty chill and quiet.

Quite possibly, the most risque thing I’ve ever seen in Monaco!

It’s cleaner than any Disney Park and more sterile than any hospital. It’s Monaco. Where even the money that is exchanged has a just-washed glow to it.

…it really is a lovely municipality to wander around in!

With the mindset that we would walk around this quiet municipality, we received quite the surprise as we exited the indoor parking.

My initial reaction was WTF is this anyway?

There was a crowd. At the Monte Carlo casino. A big crowd. Mostly men.

I’m not a car person so this was a total “ugh” to me. The Frenchman, on the other hand, was quite enthralled!

There were Ferrari’s abound. Many Ferraris. In fact, I think most of the very expensive Ferraris throughout the world were in Monaco. It was a testosterone convention!

Forget the cars, I wanted to go to Goyard.

This was as close as I got before my husband dragged me off.

There were women, but mostly arm candy and trophy wives.  I’m pretty sure I overheard someone mentioning I looked like household help. But it was a unique experience and humorous one—at least for me it was. The Frenchman was awestruck by the cars. What else is there to say.

Seriously. I do not think I resembled the household help. Unless, that is, household help gets to wear Lilly Pulitzer as a servant uniform.

Goodbye Monte Carlo.  I hope next time we don’t run into a car convention!

An enjoyable drive back and we were ready to get dressed for dinner at the club.  In all the years we’ve been staying at La Galere, dinner at the clubhouse has never disappointed us and this evening, it was one of the best meals we’ve ever had.

Back from Monaco and on our way to a wonderful dinner at the club!


The Club House at La Galere has always given us the greatest dinners but tonight’s was the best. I need to send an email to the chef!

Tonight’s menu.

View from our favorite table.

I love a crisp, white tablecloth. All the white table linens in our home are stained!

Kir Royal time! Tchin Tchin!

This appetizer: Vitello Tunado–veal marinated in a fish sauce was outstanding!

The Frenchman played it safe with a salmon remoulade!

My husband then went with the beef..

And I with the loup–sea bass and this was, hands down, THE best fish dish I’ve ever had in my life!

Espresso to finish the meal then it was back to the apartment for some sleep!

Friday, July 1st

Are you $hitting me? It’s July already?  Summer is zooming by!


Bright-eyed and bushy-tailed and tanned, it’s off for a day trip of adventure!

Today was a good one. It was Day Trip adventure day to Marseilles and Aix.

Today we go straight. No turning in the right-hand land to St. Trop!

Marseilles holds sentimentality for both my husband and me.  His mom had the cutest little home on the outskirts in a little area called Ensues La-Redonne.  Her home was rustic and charming with the greatest terrace of all time.  Fig trees abound, the scent was delightful and mesmerizing.  And it was my first experience in the South of France. And I fell in love. Sadly, after Evie passed, the home was sold (due to tax reasons) and is now a Gite or B and B if you will. I will say, though, that it is thanks to Evie that we now have our current home.

Behind that fence is the largest, greatest terrace of all time. This is the first house I stayed in that introduced me to the South of France!

It is rustc, charming and beautiful at the same time!

Figs waiting to ripen!

And figs almost ready to eat!

The little cove down the street

A stroll through the terrain.

And through memory lane!

We took a stroll through memory lane then headed to the Port at Marseilles. It was crowded and fun to walk around on this leisurely, hot day.  The cool breeze coming from the sea made it quite comfortable.

The port at Marseilles. It’s so old-school and quaint.

And I actually prefer the port at Marseilles to that of Cannes. 

I could have stayed here all day!

This “Bubble Man” was a highlight! I felt like a kid again being enchanted by the bubbles!

There were a plethora of restaurants along the port and they were all crowded!

Farewell to Marseilles and on to Aix!

Then we headed to Aix.

Truth be told, I’ve enjoyed Aix more in the past.

I need to let you in on something. I’ve always thought Aix was such a lovely, gorgeous gem in Provence. This time around I was disappointed. The beautiful trees that shaded the main streets appeared to be either cut down or replanted. And, it just seemed so overcrowded this time—it could have been due to the summer sales. I dunno but we didn’t stay long. We spent a large part of the day traveling so we decided to head back to Theoule.

Although I do love the fountains..

I was not “wowed” this time around.

A good number of the beautiful trees were cut down. I was lucky to snap this pic!

But..I was able to stop in yet another church and light yet another candle. This one also to St. Rita!

A pleasant surprise awaited me on my phone.  One of my friends, and she was a bridesmaid in my first wedding, reached out to me. We are friends on Facebook but we haven’t seen each other in over 35 years.  She and her husband were in Marseilles.  This is to be continued because we later met up with them!

Our Friday dinner on the terrace consisted of copious amounts of Cidre after our aperitifs and wine.

I needed those drinks to take the stench away from the Andouillette that I pan-seared for The Frenchman.  The scent is so horrific that it is gag-worthy. Think of the smell of the effects of what exits your lower-back bodily orifice after food-poisoning. Mix that with the solids found in a baby’s diaper and add to that the wafting odor of an over-flowing septic-tank. Yes. It is that bad.

Served with an overabundance of contraband mustard, my husband was in his glories.

I settled for tomato and  crevettes again!

Saturday, July 2nd.

Given the fact we are now in the month of July, and it is the weekend, we were better off staying at the pool and not venturing out to the beach. The Frenchman, despising crowds, just wanted to stick around. I was fine with it.

After a week of reading, I finished Honoré Balzac’s Lost Illusions. The book was big, juicy, shocking and validated how awful humanity is. Some things just don’t change—although at the end, there was hope.

Lost Illusions (Barnes & Noble Classics Series): Balzac, Honore de,  Wormeley, Katharine Prescott, Logan, Marie-Rose, Logan, Marie-Rose:  9781593083151: Books

It took quite a few days to read but boy…this book is JUICY!!! I’m beginning to realize the  Housewives franchise and soap operas are all based on classic books!

This was the day we spent the most time at the pool simply because we were reveling in our laziness. A dip in the pool, a chapter from the book. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.

And after lolling around, we headed “home”, showered, and were on our merry way into Cannes for some shopping.

Back to Cannes for some late-afternoon shopping!

We picked up a racing suit for Owen at a touristy souvenir shop. Actually, we hit this place every time we visit because the owners are so stinking nice.  I started off the conversation with “est-ce que” and for some reason I got tongue-tied and started to laugh. The proprietor repeated what I said and we both started laughing. Then my husband explained, in French that I was practicing my French. Hey. I don’t care what others say but I’ve never had an issue buying or ordering anything in the French language—as bad as my French is, simply because I’m having a fun time. And the response has always been welcoming. So, the next time you hear that French people are rude or unwelcoming—it is most likely due to American arrogance and the fact Americans feel that everyone should speak English.

The Frenchman found this so adorable. With my second grandson due in  September,  I think this will be a welcomed Halloween costume!

Next it was back to Ernest. This time, thank God it was not for andouillette!  We bought a pissaladiere, more Socca chips and headed to the patisserie for more dessert.

Back in the d'Azur Groove! (Sing it Loud)! | Atypical 60

Unlike the andouillette, the Pissaladiere is absolutely beautiful, smells great and I would LOVE to know the secret of Ernest’s ability to create a crust that does NOT get soggy!

The only time I can get Socca Chips is when we are on the Cote d’Azur. Why aren’t these sold in the states? I’m addicted!

And on the way back to the car, we picked up a French market basket for 17 euros. Let me tell you something. Those French market baskets are the greatest baskets on earth. I purchased one over ten years ago, I paid 10 euros for it and it is now starting to show signs of wear with a little tear on the side.  We use it constantly to haul groceries. And they are sold all over at various stores and I’ve seen them sold for as high as €99.  If you seek, you shall find an inexpensive one that’ll last years.

Don’t even get me started on how much these baskets are at home. It’s robbery.  We got this for 17 euros. And that’s a fair price!

An additional stop at Geant Hypermarche and I picked up Octopus for my main plat!  It was the first time I ever attempted to cook it. I Googled for the simplest recipe, found it and simmered for 40 minutes. It was delicious!

Looking at this beautiful entree is now making me sad. Sad that I can’t buy octopus in the Philly ‘burbs. I cannot find tomatoes or eggs like this either. Honestly, I could eat this every night for the remainder of the summer!

Sleep came easily for me but for The Frenchman, it didn’t. There was a party at the Pierre Cardin Bubble House. And boy, I wish I was invited! There was loud music, which didn’t affect my ability to fall asleep and loud voices, which also didn’t affect my ability to fall asleep but did affect my man!

Ab Fab: The Movie Filming Locations: Bubble Mansions and Hampstead Homes -  Find That Location

My two favorite ladies, Patsy and Eddie filmed..

Pierre Cardin Sells 'Bubble Palace' for $336 Million

…part of the AbFab movie at the “Bubble House”.  I couldn’t get near the place..

Oh well…tomorrow is another day and read how I am most likely on security footage at the “Bubble House”… be continued

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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23 Responses to Another Change in Plans and a Surprise in Monaco!

  1. Violeta says:

    This has to be one of your greatest posts! Love it, I feel as if I had been there. Actually studied the menu, then there were photos just as I was wondering what you had for dinner. A tip on your complaint about white linen tablecloths at home.Take them to a good cleaner. They can do magic. I decided when I reached your age that I was no longer going to iron the beasts, but send them out. Life is much nicer since. Cheers

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Violeta! Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoyed the post! And THANK YOU for the tip on cleaning the white tablecloths. I do think it is about time to send them out! Lost Illusions was such a great book! I just finished Pere Goriot which was so depressing–that Balzac! Now I’m reading Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray. I love it! And I saw the trailer for Lost Illusions. I want to see it because Cecile de France, one of my favorite actors of all time is in the movie! XOXOXOXOXO

  2. Violeta says:

    By the way, I forgot to mention that Lost Illusions is my favorite Balzac and I saw the new movie of it at one of our art house theaters a few weeks ago. Look for it, it’s wonderful

  3. Juliet says:

    Your holiday sounds sublime – although how you managed to eat anywhere near your beloveds andouilette is going to stay a mystery (Nr.1 son has a “”thing” for Lorne sausage, a Scottish “delicacy” of flat sausage that stays pink no matter how much you fry / grill / burn /nuke it) it is VILE and makes me heave, the windows open, I retreat to the far end of the tiny garden and still….. I am gagging as I type… fresh tomatoes and good local produce are just the best. I love a bit of reading on holiday, especially if it can relate to where I am. The husband and I are just starting to plan a summer break – we are going to euro-rail, catching the train from London to Paris, Paris for a few days and then on to Bologna as the start of a plan. I am so excited :). Anyway have you read anything by Sybil Bedford especially Jigsaw, it is based on her childhood/young adulthood mainly in the south of France??? I think you might quite like it or at least enjoy overlap with your husbands family experience

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Juliet. I’m gonna pm you! I definitely want a copy of the book! LOL. Have a GREAT TIME IN PARIS! Ugh. And don’t ever eat andoullette! XOXOXOXO

  4. Juliet says:

    Actually if you fancy a copy, let me know via PM and I can send it to you in the mail 🙂

  5. Jamilla Camel says:

    I had a guy who worked for me in the UK refer to the 5A andouillette sausages as “5 Asshole” sausages and he was absolutely right!!

  6. Liz says:

    This blog cheered up my otherwise sick day… thanks!
    I love looking at the cuisine.

  7. Donna says:

    Catherine, I just love getting your posts! Hubby and I had to google your vile dish and laughed and laughed. Your vacation sounds sublime, in spite of missing ocean swimming due to jellyfish. We are headed to France the last week of August, river cruise from Avignon to Lyon, and then a few days in Paris. I am so excited I can’t stand it! It’s my 4th visit to France and his 3rd. I expect we’ll have hot weather, but will be ready for it. I can’t wait to get your next post!

    • Catherine says:

      DONNA!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Have a great time! Honestly, I am ready to stow away in your luggage. Enjoy your vacation and when in Lyon–whatever you do, do NOT attempt to eat Andouillette!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! XOXXOXOXOXO

  8. Cathe, what a dreamy, dreamy vacation!!! I followed your adventures on Instagram, and now even better, I’m following the comprehensive write-ups on your blog! You make me feel as though I were there. Congratulations on cooking octopus for the first time! I LOVE Owen’s racing suit. But you should have gotten one for your Frenchman, too, since he loves cars, lol!! I’m heading to Greece in September … It’s fabulous to be able to get back to the old routines. It’s been three years since I travelled!

    • Catherine says:

      Walnut!!!!!!!!!!! HAVE A TON OF OCTOPUS IN GREECE! I swear if I were going to Greece I would eat Octopus every night for dinner! LOL. I feel bad that I’m taking so much time writing about the trip but believe me, working ten hours a day and beaching on the weekend–after Labor Day I’ll be back to my blog routine! XOXOXOXO

  9. Susan D says:

    Can’t believe that in two weeks we’ll be there in the South of France via a couple of nights with cousins in a town near Aix, where we’ve never been. I hope the jellyfish have all gone.xx
    Susan D

  10. vavashagwell says:

    What a fun post. I’m reading it while enjoying my morning coffee from Kauai. The part about the sausage, cracked me up. Horrifying!!!! But your trip sounds fantastic. We aren’t traveling this summer, staying home doing our artistic projects (me: garment sewing and beadwork, hubs: jewelry making) and enjoying our time with our 14+ year old white Maine Coon kitty who needs heart medication every day. So, reading about your escapades gives me a chance to remotely join in the adventure!

  11. Bonnie says:

    Very entertaining – Not counting a couple of A–holes along the way. I think it is a great advantage to be traveling with a bonafide Frenchman in the south of France It takes a lot of anxiety out of the equation. I’ve enjoyed all the effort you put into these recaps of your visit there. Much fun to follow along. Thanks Catherine

  12. cathe says:

    Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear about Aix. It’s one of my favorite towns. Can’t wait to hear about the Bubble!

    • cathe says:

      By the way, I have some market baskets purchased on various trips to France and Spain. I would buy them to use at the local markets. My husband would tell me I’d have to leave them behind because they wouldn’t fit inside my carry on luggage. But I’d stuff the baskets full of clothes and they fit perfectly inside my suitcase. They now hang in the hall for use at our farmers market, wonderful reminders of all those great trips.

  13. stillmmers says:

    I am so late commenting on this post but I just had to look up the andouillette sausage. I don’t think I could eat anything described as having “a strong, distinctive odour coming from the colon and sometimes repellent to the uninitiated” (I took this from Wilipedia). I admit to laughing out loud at the description but the retired RN in me would be looking for a source OTHER THAN the food we were supposed to eat! You’re a brave woman to even cook the stuff! Apart from that, your holiday sounded wonderful. Just wonderful.

    • Catherine says:

      LOL! Honestly, Andouilette is the worst smelling stuff on earth. I’m still scratching my head as to how a refined and suave Frenchman such as my husband can eat that! XOXOXO

  14. Barbara B. Contreras says:

    FInally catching up on your posts. What a wonderful vacation! I especially love the food descriptions. Thank you. Thank you. I feel like I went on vacation! I’m particularly impressed by your beach reads. Wowser. You are no slacker when it comes to your reading materials!
    Btw, Hippeas has a chickpea chip. Not sure if it is similar to socca but maybe? The Italian flatbread (farinata) is also called socca and is a fairly easy bread for the home cook. I have no clue if the flavors are similar to the chips. If you over bake it, it can be rather chip like! lol Also, check H-Mart or any Asian grocery for octopus. If Denver’s H-Mart sells it (the non-baby type), I would hope you could find something similar in Phillie. It might be in the frozen section. Isn’t it true about tomatoes? I’m craving one of those meaty tomatoes that’s more like a plum than the orange skeletons we get here! Welcome home. And thank you for all you do for my mental health!

    • Catherine says:

      Hi Barbara! So happy you are enjoying these adventures. I have yet to see a twin for Socca Chips. I’ll look for the Hippeas–sounds like a close match. LOL. My baking will commence when the cooler weather arrives. I refuse to put the oven on when it’s hot out! And forget finding anything special in Philadelphia–it’s a wasteland. I found baby octopus at my local Asian grocer so I’ll be a regular there! As far as I’m concerned–Tomato season has ended! XOXOXOXOXO

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