Are you ready for the grand finale including some of the best parts of my trip to France with my daughter A and son D. Just thinking about the bright blue waters in Nice, Monaco and Monte Carlo, make me want to pack my bag and head back to the Cote d’Azur.
A Nice Day In Nice. We spent Friday walking around the town and along the boardwalk. We went to see the famous Negresco Hotel – which looks to be a truly luxurious place from the outside. Only hotel guests are allowed inside but we managed to take a peek. We sat a bit and watched the sassy sunbathers lying on the rocky beaches – some topless bodies that I would say should not have been topless! No, no, no – not topless during life after 50 – no, no, no.
A visit to Louis V. Later in the day it was time for a special shopping trip. With only two days left in France, my daughter A tracked down the Louis Vuitton boutique in Nice. Will she or won’t she buy a bag? Oui ou non?
“Would you like to see a handbag mademoiselle?” said the friendly LV salesman. “Oui, merci,” said A.
It took about 30 minutes…or was it 40…or was it 60? One by one, the friendly LV salesman took each LV handbag off the glass shelf. One was too big. One was too small. One was too light. One was too bright. One was too dark. One did not have two handles to hold. One looked too matronly. One was too ordinary. (Who wants an expensive handbag that everyone else owns?)
“How are you going to use the handbag?” asked the friendly LV salesman. “For work and for casual,” said A.
“I have something from the new collection I think you will like,” he said as he went behind a magic door in the store. It was as if he was showing off a diamond when he returned with a large brown pouch which he proceeded to open to unveil a magnificent LV handbag – the Metis. I could tell that A was going to melt for the Metis the minute she tried it on. “It is contemporary and so versatile with two removable straps,” said the LV salesman. (Absolutely, the Metis is a bargain – it is definitely worth the cost because it is really like three bags for the price of one – you can carry it on your arm, over the shoulder or in the hand.)
“And it is less expensive to buy a LV handbag in France since you get the VAT tax back,” added the LV salesman. DEAL SEALED. DEAL SEALED. DEAL SEALED. A walked out of the nice Nice LV store with the Metis in a big LV shopping bag.
Roll the dice and on Saturday we were on our way to Monaco and Monte Carlo – only a 20 minute train ride to the land of one of my favorite storybook romances – Princess Grace and Prince Ranier. Ooh, ooh, ooh – I was huffing and puffing but we did it – we climbed the steep steps all the way to the tippy top of the hill to view the Royal Palace. We bought chocolates in the Royal Palace chocolate shop. Then we huffed and puffed our way back down the hill through the beautiful gardens, passed all the huge yachts, and up a second hill to Monte Carlo.
We waited until 2:00 p.m. for the Casino Royale to open (everything is closed for two hours during lunchtime) so D could gamble away $25 euro and take home a clay poker chip. A long wait but an experience he will always remember.
Our final French feast. D selected the restaurant near the Nice marketplace to cap off our stay in the south of France. He ordered gnocchi with shrimp and asparagus, A had a big antipasti salad and I dined on brick oven pizza topped with ricotta, eggplant and mozzarella. The crust was so light and crispy. Together we finished it all.
On Sunday, we consumed our three croissants and three cups of cafe au lait, said goodbye to the beach and boarded the plane for Paris. We were sad to leave, but ready for our trip home the next day after a night at a compact hotel at the Paris airport.
Paris, Provence and the French Riviera – I loved it all. Can I retire again? How many more careers will I have during my life after 50? I want to go back to France…or maybe Spain next time…or Greece?
P.S. – Congratulations to Allison, who won this month’s raffle prize of Herbes de Provence from Uzes. Thanks for your blog comment.