Friday, July 6, 2012

Missing Prince Albert While in the Can

We are back home for the next two months...sort of. Weekend car trips will still happen, but long trips via airplane are finished. I have two months to accomplish a LONG list of goals, one of which is to finish posting about our France/Switzerland Grand Adventure. When I left off, we were still in Italy, making our way over to Provence. First stop: the Cote d'Azur. We decided that we'd be getting a lot of beach time in this summer, so the Cote d'Azur was more of a stopping point and checkmark on the bucket list rather than a huge exploration. Our destination was Antibes, which seemed to be a bit of a poor cousin to it's chic neighbors.

But before reaching Antibes, we stopped at the cliff top village of Eze, mainly due to guidebooks hawking it's appeal. We did not take into account that we live in a country which specializes in hill towns and cliff top villages. Eze-le-Village was certainly cute enough, but completely overrun with people. We (quite fortunately) found parking with only a 10 minute wait, and made our way up the steep path. One large appeal to Eze is the Fragonard shop. Since we were not going to Grasse, where the Fragonard Perfumerie is actually located, a chance to visit the shop and stock up on their beautiful scents was quite a treat. In Grasse, the majority of the world's perfumes are created, and Fragonard is one of the old school perfumeries. A highlight to Grasse is the chance to create your own perfume scent, and in hindsight, we probably should have carved out time to do this. Since we didn't, we instead spent a long time in the Fragonard shop smelling their personal scent lines and each picking up a bottle. There, Nathan found out that Prince Albert of Monaco was dining at the fancy hotel in town, meaning the town had lots of extra security around. For those who do not follow Monaco's royal family, the House of Grimaldi, Prince Albert is the country's ruler and is the son of Grace Kelly.

This old outhouse is not the "can" I used.
We headed uphill into the town proper, explored the picturesque, stone streets, ignored the shops filled with overpriced, tourist bait, and headed back downhill to enjoy our first meal in France - yummy salads. This may sound like an odd choice, but Neapolitan restaurants don't really do roughage. Your salad will be either lettuce or rucola, a couple of tomatoes, and a bottle of olive oil set on the table. So our joy at huge, veggie and cheese filled, tasty salads did not dim for our entire French sojourn. Following lunch, I headed off for my bathroom break before getting back on the road to Antibes, and when I met back up with Nathan on the small street heading out of town, he greeted me with this statement, "You missed seeing Prince Albert because you were in the can." [Any youngish readers will just have to google this to find the irony.]. Prince Albert and his entourage/security had driven past, and I missed it! My one chance to see a royal, evaporated. I got over it quickly.

In Antibes, we checked into our hotel, and headed into town for a little walking tour (our own, not guided). The town has a very nice pedestrian area, but really, not a whole lot appealed to us. I think our favorite part of the afternoon was the surprise of finding a beautiful, public beach (meaning no pay entry - most common in these parts) to just sit and enjoy the ancient city walls lining the clean, sandy beach and wading in the clear waters. Antibes does have a highly regarded Picasso Museum, which we skipped. You may remember from my first post about this trip that one of our big pleasures was releasing ourselves from feeling "obligated" to see every museum, church, and tourist site and instead, just enjoying the communities we were joining for such a short time. Antibes, for us, was a nice enough stop, but nothing awe inspiring...which worked out since our vacation ended up getting better and better each day.

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