Part Three! Close to Home, L’Estagnol, and It’s Been a Week Already???

Bonjour on this Thursday of June 22, 2023!

Another day of “cloudy-not-cloudy.”  We were going to head to L’Estagnol, favorite beach of my husband’s while growing up.  However, he did not want to chance it if the clouds and sun were going to compete.

Today was truly a cloudy day. But it didn’t keep us or anyone else from heading to the pool!

Instead, we decided to head to the pool and keep local.  We love Theoule-sur-Mer and rarely take the time to hang out in town so today is the day—or rather, this afternoon is the afternoon!

It may be cloudy but I’m still smiling!

The funny thing about the mixture of clouds and sun is that over the past few days, I’ve managed to incorporate a natural tan with the remnants of the spray tan I received before we left the States. Anyway, it was another pool day where I got to read.  And dunk my body into the pool.  It may be a mixture of clouds and sun but the air’s temperature is still hot!

On another book, “Oona Out of Control,” a uniquely entertaining read about a woman who travels back and forth through her lifetime on every birthday.  I recommend this book for a fun and quick beach read!

Oona Out of Order

Bought at Newark airport simply because my daughter is named Oona, this book turned out to be rather delightful. It is now on the bookshelf in the apartment in Theoule.

I wore sunscreen. On my face. And still managed to get a burn. I sat under an umbrella and Iremain flummoxed as to how this happened. The effect on this burn was that my bottom lip swelled up as though a Juvéderm or Botox injection had been misplaced. Oh well. Merde happens!

I’m jumping the gun here. This photo was taken when we were going out to dinner but check out the swollen lips. The sun did that–not filler. I give new meaning to “what a big mouth you have”. Luckily, the swelling subsided after two days.

Around noon, the clouds really started to roll in and the temperature became (thankfully) slightly cooler.  Note—slightly cooler.

We headed into Theoule, parked the car, and took a little stroll along the beach. And then the drizzle commenced.  At least Mother Nature decided to wait until late afternoon.  The drizzle lasted approximately four minutes (Yes. I timed it.), we walked a bit more.

In case you get lost and don’t remember where you are–here’s a whimsical reminder!

Workin’ that Tan!

My mouth hadn’t reached peak swelling yet but it felt good to traipse around in a maxi dress!

Statue. I think it’s in the parking lot

I’m pretty sure this sculpture was in the parking lot at Theoule. It’s just so pleasant to see little works of art scattered about.

Cloudy Afternoon in Theoule

The clouds didn’t keep this little guy away from the beach.

An empty beach is a rarity during this time of year but it did begin to drizzle.

We then decided to drive to Mandelieu-La Napoule, the next village over to pay a visit to Chateau de la Napoule. This chateau, more of a castle was owned by American Henry Clews Jr.  The Nazi’s took it over in WWII and Henry’s wife, Marie, served as their maid so she could hold on to the chateau and Henry’s memory.

The chateau we can never seem to visit

View of the chateau  remains elusive to us.

The little garden area offered a vision of solitude.

A lone shell embedded in stone.

Statue. I think it’s in the parking lot

Oh wait. I think this sculpture was in Mandelieu instead of Theoule. I must return to make sure where it is.

It’s a great history and for 13 years, we’ve passed by and on many occasions, tried to enter but it was either closed for an event or, as last year, was closed for renovations. This year it was closed until the next week.  We will have to make another attempt next summer.

The port in Mandelieu next to the Chateau.

So, while we were parked and walked around the perimeter, the clouds began to cry. I think it is because they felt sorry for us not being able to get into the Chateau yet another year!

The rain subsided, we stopped for groceries and by the time we arrived home, we were welcomed to another sunny evening for dinner on the terrace. At this point the only liquids I’ve consumed have been Aperol, Champagne, Cidre and Wine.  I am now not ashamed nor am I proud—its hydration. Eau de vie.

Here we go again.  I am both obsessed AND amazed with the choice of frozen and ready-made pastry crusts. WHY in these United States do we have only three choices–Pepperidge Farms puff pastry, or pie shells or store brand filo dough. 

These are the offerings of various flavors for baking. It isn’t limited to vanilla, almond and lemon extracts. I wanted to buy all of this.

And still MORE baking ingredients. I was crying.

We did hear the news this evening that pieces of the sub that went down to observe the ruins of the Titanic had been found with no survivors. It imploded which, thankfully for those onboard, killed them immediately with no pain.  My heart did go out to the family of the 19-year-old boy who perished.  My thoughts on this?  Do not mess with nature and don’t mess with the dead. The site of Titanic is an oceanic graveyard.  Let the souls rest in peace.  The ocean is not to be messed with.

OceanGate sub likely destroyed by "catastrophic implosion" - WIRED ME

The news of this was incredibly sad..and money wasted.

Dinner was kept light tonight–well, sort of light!

Naturally, we started with Aperitifs and Socca Chips. (Don’t judge me)

Egg and Tomato from Marche Forville. And the mayonaisse is great!

Dinner was light.  Tomato and eggs with mayonnaise.


And for dessert? A delicious flan and a berry tart!

Bonne Nuit.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Ahhhhhh, time is fleeting. I cannot believe that a week ago we were on the flight to arrive here. But alas! Today the sun is welcoming us with nary a cloud in the sky.

An early breakfast and off to L’Estagnol! Quite frankly, I cannot wait to get there. It’s my kind of beach. No waves. Refreshing water. You can float out forever with the water being shallow enough to stand. And being I’m the worst simmer on earth, this is the jelly to my peanut butter!

But before I go on about L’Estagnol, please allow me to take a moment or ten to showcase our stop for gas and to go to the bathroom.  I have things to tell you.

I had to take a photo of this very simple, prudent but clean bathroom stall. Notice it lacks a seat.  I am thankful to Jesus for that because I didn’t have to wipe the last patron’s pee-pee off of a seat the way I have to do here when I use a public restroom.  People here actually keep toilet stalls clean.  AND the door is to the floor so nobody has to look at underwear wrapped around your ankles.  Just sayin’.

Also at these gas stations are very interesting stop shops. I swear you can get a plethora of stuff you never knew you needed.  Lots of local goodies.

I wanted to buy this soap dish but then realized I already have about eight soap dishes at home and three bathrooms.

We managed to pick up a ham sandwich. And it was so good. The bread was just-baked fresh.  Why not just stuff my mouth all day. NOTE TO SELF: Try taking the toilet seats off the toilets when we get home. I don’t think Vincent would like that though.

Back to L’Estagnol:

L’Estagnol has always had spots for grilling and an area for children to ride live donkeys.  The site of the donkeys always makes me giggle with delight. This year they were gone. My husband reminded me of the horrific wildfires late last summer into early autumn. My thoughts are that they were rescued and placed somewhere else.

This has always been my favorite beach in the past.

The seaside bistro and brasserie were still standing and, despite our getting lost yet again, we arrived at 10:00 AM.

The seafood here and frites here are delicious!

And at this hour, the beach seemed more crowded than any other year we’ve been there. The cicadas welcomed everyone with their rhythmic chanting.  Paddleboarders were a new sight.  Young families introducing their babies and toddlers to the sea, Parasols making a colorful boarder along the edge of the beach. Old ladies—YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS, old ladies in bikinis looked tanned and lovely. And the ice cream vendor with his colorful cart was walking along the sandy terrain gleefully announcing his glaces!

Beachy still life. My old Tropezienne sandals, my Oona book, water, my tote and my bathing suit top. I decided to give the girls a vacation day and swam topless. Nobody cares! 

The water was beautiful and I spent most of the day floating blissfully in the Mediterranean.  My husband, once again sunbathed like a rotisserie chicken because he seemed the sea too cold for his personal pleasure.

Crystal clear water forever!

10:00 AM. THIS was too crowded for my husband. He thinks people should be charged 50 euros for the day. I kid you not. He continues to feel this beach should remain as it was when he was a child! 

I’m a fan of the shade that the trees offer during morning hours.

The mini-waves arrive in the afternoon. I wish the Atlantic was this calm.

Observing families with young children makes me wish my grandsons were here!

I wish I had a close up of the bikini that this woman was wearing. I wanted it!

I’ll admit, this was the first time I’ve been here when the water had many swimmers but still–it wasn’t that bad!

He was also very upset that his now former favorite beach was overfilled with humanity. And, not locals but..foreigners!!!  How could this happen???  Does my husband not realize that I, his wife, is a foreigner on his home turf?

Anyway, after one last wannabe-swim out to bid farewell to the fishes and boats that were calmly rocking side to side with a lazy cadence, it was time to leave.

Time to head home. The water was wonderfully refreshing!

Our drive home was another pleasant one. We had some time to leisurely take the highway to the Bord du Mer and had spectacular views of the Calanques de L’Esterel that lined the sea’s edge.

I wish I had a boat to float into any of the calanques along the coastline.

I’m petrified of heights and could barely look at these people atop the rocks. It’s frightening to me.

Sorry Charlie but I need a beach to bask in the sun–not a rock!

Quite frankly though, I think the calanques are one of Mother Nature’s greatest gifts. They are absolutely breathtaking!

Quite a few people were swimming but I couldn’t get a decent picture. This is the life–isn’t it?

On this Friday evening we had reservations to dine at “L’air du Temps” restaurant in Theoule.  This is our year to go to places we’ve never gotten to in the past 13 years.  I cannot count as high as the times we’ve passed this place year after year, day after day.  But we are so glad we finally decided to dine here.

L'air du Temps. Restaurant, Théoule-sur-Mer - Restaurant menu and reviews

Photo taken by Restaurant Guru.  I forgot to take a photo of the exterior. 

The restaurant sits atop the many hills of Theoule, offering a bird’s eye view of the bay.  We sat outside as the weather was perfect.  And the restaurant held a good crowd that became even more crowded with time.

Decisions. Decisions. And a Kir is the perfect drink to enjoy whilst deciding!


The service was incredible, from the adorable hostess to our server, I believe her name was Sarah (my apologies to her as am unsure of her name) and she worked her butt off! Her personality was everything I love.  Animated, funny, and excellent service!

Our server, I’m thinking her name was Sarah or a similar moniker. Regardless, she was the GOAT of servers!  She worked hard; and was a pleasure–she’s the server you want to hang out with after hours!

Our hostess was also working hard. Honestly, they both were enjoying themselves. It’s so much fun to go to a restaurant when servers are having just as great a time as the diners!  We are definitely going back next wummer!

The dinner. OMFG. We were blown away.

We started out with Poulpe salade—Octopus salad.

This was crazy good!  I happen to LOVE octopus and when I find it at home, I always buy it.  But this salad was incredibly fresh and full of flavor!

I had Chambas, jumbo shrimp/crevettes

This was so great. Jumbo Jumbo crevettes.  You cannot go to the Cote d’Azur and NOT eat seafood.  I swear it jumped from the sea to my plate.

And Vincent had the Salmon and frites.

This salmon dish was incredible!  I think I ate half of it.  I am not ashamed.

My husband loved the frites so much he almost ordered a second helping. This is how great the food was!

Too stuffed for anything else, we managed to share a Mousse for dessert.

A most tasty mousse and I love the way it was presented–in little dollops so you didn’t feel too gluttonous!

Oh. And we drank copious amounts of wine.

I’ll just leave this coffee here. It was well-needed!

Neither of us had any issues falling asleep that night.

Saturday, June 24, 2023.

As is my usual optimistic self, I woke up a bit sad knowing we had only a week left to enjoy our visit. Why do I do this to myself? It’s because I am a neurotic and angst-filled individual!

And, as is usual for my husband, Saturday is a weekend day. That means we stay at the pool.

Saturday morning. Reserving our pool space.

However, it was very early so we dropped our stuff off at the pool and headed back to Marché Forville and back to Ernest!

Back to Marche Forville and more fresh tomatoes!

Behold the fruit of beauty!

I would move to France just for the mushrooms if need be.

This is where I swoon to the point of feeling faint. MUSHROOMS! I love them and can barely find any like this at home!

Forget about fainting. I almost expired when I spotted these morels. It’s so difficult and friggin’ expensive to find them at home. I wanted to motorboat these bags of morels!


While back at Ernest…we observed how carefully this anniversary cake was wrapped and handled! That was some cake!

Another day of a cloudless sky, I finished Book Two and am ready to begin reading “Win Me Something” which should have been titled “Whine Me Something.” This book is about an Asian-American woman in her early twenties who lacks ambition and is constantly whining mentioning how out-of-place she feels. I will not get into further details but she ends up working as a nanny for a tony NYC Tribeca family.   The book was okay—not the worst but not the best.  However, the author writes beautifully.


Back to our day.

As mentioned, this was a lazy day. As I am not used to drinking a lot these days, I was slightly hung over and welcomed being light on activity.   You know what?  I would much rather be hung over in France than hung over back at home.

The best cure for a slight hangover? A day of relaxation by the pool. Reading and Swimming.

My tan is starting to look good. Granted, I’m Irish-American so I’ll never achieve Fifty Shades of George Hamilton but, at lease I will not have to fake tan my legs.

Hollywood star George Hamilton quits I'm A Celebrity | The Independent |  The Independent

The only other human I knew to achieve this George Hamilton tan was my mother. Her tan was remarkable and she started every year in April.  

After poolside, we drove to Geant Hypermarché for essentials like champagne and more Aperol for me, Crème de Cassis for my husband.  On the way into the store, a dog rescue organization was collecting money and let me tell you, every single person passing by donated.  So did we, and in return was given a rose.

Under normal circumstances I’m skeptical of people asking for money for “causes”.  However, when we saw that every single customer was handing money to this group. We followed with a donation.  Got a rose in return. It was nice to donate!

The dogs were beautiful and it felt good to donate to a great cause.  We thought of Chippy boarding at the vet’s. Upon arriving back at the apartment, we got dressed for dinner and enjoyed pre-dinner drinks on the terrace.

The dog rescue rose was a nice touch!

Dinner at Eight!  We enjoyed dinner at The Club in the community we rent.  And, as always, dinner is always spectacular every year. This year it delivered!

This is where we enjoyed our dinner. It’s now a yearly tradition.  Check out the guy waving–I think it was a photobomb!

Taking a photo of this beautifully clean table is a must for me because after I eat, it’s a hot mess.

Our table overlooked the smaller poos at the club.

The evening’s menu.

Aperitif time!

We started off with Aperitifs (I’m beginning to feel like Lucille Ball after too much Vitameatavegamin).

Tchin Tchin. Okay. It’s now July so I have up until Labor day to enjoy my Aperol. Once Labor Day arrives, I return to Kir Royals for the winter. It’s my version of “No white after Labor Day”.

These were followed by Bone Marrow.  We are both fans of the marrow of the bone. It is nothing more than fat but at this point, does it really matter?

Bone marrow. Pure fat but I don’t care..

I added radish to give it a healthier flair!

One of the greatest epicurean delights!

I had lobster.  He had Filet de Boeuf  Rossini.  There was no room for dessert.  We left to go home at 10:30 and after a nightcap (Hey, once you start….) went peacefully to sleep.

This lobster was the best I’ve ever had.

And I make no apologies for the mess.

My husband went the more refined route with filet topped with foie gras. 

And then, it was back to the apartment!

The weekend shall 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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9 Responses to Part Three! Close to Home, L’Estagnol, and It’s Been a Week Already???

  1. Mary Lou says:

    I also love the public restrooms of Europe. They are generally very clean, and I so appreciate the stall doors that come to the floor! I mentioned that to a fellow traveler on a tour to Italy in March—she hated the doors because then you couldn’t crawl out if the lock stuck……I’m not crawling on an American bathroom floor unless it’s do or die.

    • Catherine says:

      LOL. Mary Lou. I’m with you. There is NO WAY I would EVER crawl out of an American public bathroom. With pee pee drips on the floor that nobody cleans. With smeared period blood and worse. No. Just. No. I love those to-the-floor doors because they also act as a noise buffer if you know what I mean! So happy you appreciated my thoughts on the bathrooms! XOXOXO

  2. Jeanne says:

    Perfecto!! 😎❤️

  3. Fran says:

    I LOVED THIS!! The food looks SPECTACULAR! Did they have a shortage of mustard this year? I, just recently, was able to get my hands on a small jar of Grey Poupon! It was unavailable since start of pandemic! The beaches and picturesque views ALL look AMAZING! Thank You SO MUCH for taking us along on your BEAUTIFUL Holiday!

  4. Susan D says:

    Another good one. We stayed in Mandelieu last year and also tried to see the Chateau, but for the second time couldn’t get in. I’m not sure it ever opens!!
    Re the loos without seats…..I hate them. I’d rather clean the seat than risk sitting on the porcelain. Of course I normally hover, but the older I get the harder it is.
    Susan D

  5. Kathy says:

    I’m so enjoying your holiday this year and happily living vicariously through you. We can’t travel at the moment (illness) but I would have ordered the lobster and he would probably have ordered the steak. Enjoy, enjoy!

  6. juliet says:

    What a perfect day – you do go on holiday to relax and get yourself back together after all, so I just love this. I’m loving the scenery – the outside pics are fabulous but so are the inside (hypermarche) ones, I totally adore a good supermarket trawl. As for soap dishes, cough – fragonard do cute ones that I keep trinkets on beside my bed, and I always have the others in storage as I like to switch them up now and then (so YES you do need more soap dishes…). That part of France looks idyllic – but then just about anywhere in France looks idyllic, so anyway that leads me to a question… if you were not doing Paris and not doing Theoule, what area/region/base would you consider as an alternative for a holiday break? (and also when might you go?). Other question – do you (or any of your readers) watch the Tour de France? I have no knowledge of cycling but I love the scenery 🙂 all that hard work done by someone else as I sit with a wee glass of viognier, fabulous

  7. Anne says:

    Have you checked Asian grocery stores at home for mushrooms? Koreans & Cambodians eat a lot of mushrooms and they are usually inexpensive.

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