Today was our day to tour France – and it felt like we did all of it in a single day – or at least we did the southern portion. We started our morning by heading to Eze, a tiny medieval village (we have seen a lot of these – and all I can say is these people did an awful lot of uphill walking). I had visited this town many years ago and it seemed very large at the time…but in actuality was much smaller than I remembered. However, it was still an extremely beautiful town way above the Principality of Monaco looking out onto the Med.
From Eze, we decided to head into Monaco. We drove down to this small country (but they did not stamp our passports-in fact they have not been stamped yet) and if not for the different flag that seemed to be flying everywhere, it felt like we never left France. When we arrived, all of the parking garages were full (not hard to do when your entire country is less than one square mile) and so many people walking around and jamming the café’s that we decided to just keep driving. We can always return another time, and I know from previous trips it is not always this crowded.
Since our plan to have lunch in Monte Carlo by the Casino was dashed, we moved on through Nice and decided to stop in Antibes and see what was available there in the form of cuisine. Situated between Monaco and Cannes, we figured this would be another beautiful town. Wrong. Our experience was that Antibes is the other side of the tracks to both. In fact, the town actually has two names – Antibes and Juan Les Pins. According to the online site called Beyond France, this town was a favorite of Fitzgerald and Murphy. Not sure who they are, but assume that Fitzgerald refers to F. Scott…but Murphy? The site also describes it as being filled with “lots of shops, from authentic little hardware/general-stores to tourist gift shops.” A great place to go when you need a hammer or want a seashell wall hanging – just not the place you want to spend your vacation.
We went from one end to the other searching for somewhere to eat that was open (it was 3:30pm by now), and finally ended up at the local McDonalds where I had a local McSpecialty – The 280 (not sure where the name comes from - but you can read about it on the French food blog - MyBurger) and Jan had a McFlurry – tres Francais.
From Antibes, we moved on to Cannes. We did not think it possible for there to be a larger crowd in the South of France than Monaco. What we forgot was that Monaco is its own country, and the real crowd was in Cannes. We inched our way through the city in the car at a speed slightly slower than an octogenarian with a walker. I guess we are just not crowd people – so again, we moved on.
Our day ended with a visit
to two more tiny uphill medieval villages, Fayence and Seillans. Both were beautiful, picturesque,
and had available parking and street space. We found some nice little shops in Fayence, and plan to
return to Sellians as it was starting to get dark and we were looking for
somewhere to have dinner. Having
failed miserably at finding a suitable French dejeuner – we decided to return
to our dinner locale in Callian from two evenings ago. We had a wonderful dinner in the town
square sitting under a large Maple tree, and listening to the wind rustle the
leaves. To us, this is the South
of France that is beautiful. We
will leave the hardware stores and souvenir shops of the busy tourist towns for
others to enjoy.