Adventures in Antibes

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When we left off, we were headed to Cannes by bus. We realized that was a little far (better by train), so opted for Antibes instead, which is half-way. We loved it and were so proud of ourselves for finding our own way.

We took the #200 local bus, which winds through little towns and stops a LOT along the way. We did have a brief panic when we realized there were a dozen stops in Antibes – we expected just one stop with a big sign proclaiming “Antibes.” But Frank consulted with the bus driver, who let us off in what seemed like the middle of a town, but with no directions and no streets or landmarks that weren’t our guidebook. So we found a cafe to have some cappuccino and tea and re-group (and use their facilities – one of our very important strategies).

After walking in circles (just a little), we found our way and had a marvelous time. Antibes is a little smaller than the other towns (although seemed big to us), with ancient streets and little alleys that wind around with shops and cafes. There is a fort with amazing views back to Nice and to Cap Antibes (the cape of Antibes or the beach area). They also have a port with some very large yachts – bigger than Capri even!

Olives, Socca . . .

We found their open-air market, which is set up until noon every day, featuring mounds and mounds of olives. We even tried socca, which was on my “to do” list. It is a chickpea pancake that is typcial street food in this area – imported from North Africa. They make it in a wood-burning oven right there, and people line up to buy it as fast as they make it. We bought one for the group and all tasted. Yummy!

We settled down for a real lunch at the Brasserie Clemenceau in a square with a fountain and had 2 pichets (little pitchers) of local red wine and crepes with various savory fillings, like seafood and grilled local vegetables. Magnifique!

. . . And a Little Picasso

We ended the afternoon at the Picasso Museum, which is housed in a chateau that used to belong to the Grimaldi Family (who now rule Monaco) and where Picasso spent a few years painting. Some of his happiest times were supposedly here, with his paintings reflecting the simple foods and joys of Riviera life.

Finally, it was time to venture home, but we had no idea where to go for the bus. We have learned that bus stops are only good for one way – there is supposed to be a corresponding bus stop for the other direction. However, they can be blocks apart. So we wandered the town looking at all the bus stops until we found one that listed Nice – not the most efficient strategy, but thorough. We made it and were happy to see our home street – the Promenade des Anglais. (We live on a very well-known street – kind of like Pennsylvania Avenue – so lots of signs point to it, luckily for us!)

Bonne Nuit!

Christy, Frank, Edith & Sherman

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Rendezvous with Anna

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We are getting settled into Nice and loving it. It has been rainy off and on, but our apartment has a wonderful view so fun to watch the sea no matter the weather.

My friend, Anna, also visited this weekend. She and I used to work together at Groom and have been friends for years. She is attending a conference in Paris so stopped by Nice beforehand. What fun!

Chez Freddy

We all met up (my parents, Frank, me, and Anna) in the famous Cours Saleya market in Vieux Nice (Old Nice) and searched for a good dining spot. We ended up at Chez Freddy (named after the owner, Alfred). We had a lovely meal that lasted hours and hours with laughing, talking, and excitement.

We tried our first:

– PASTIS – Anise liqueur that is served as an aperitif. It is very strong, but comes with a pitcher of water, so you can keep watering down (which makes it last longer, too).

– SALADE NICOISE – With lettuce, tomato, tuna, local olives, and hard-boiled eggs.

– BOUILLABAISSE – Fish stew that, to be official, must be made with 3-5 different varieties of fish, depending on whom you ask. They serve it with a basket of crusty croutons, shredded cheese, and a mustard made of olive oil, garlic, saffron, and cayenne pepper. You are supposed to smear mustard on the croutons, add shredded cheese to stick to the mustard, put the whole thing in your spoon, and dip into the broth. Delicious!

Soiree on the Promenade

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The next day we hosted Anna at our apartment for a light lunch and visit to the Matisse Museum. Well, our light lunch (with a bottle of Rose Рanother specialty of Provence) turned into an afternoon (with another bottle of Rose) Рbut much fun. We never saw Matisse. Instead, we went exploring and wandered around the landmark Hotel Negresco. Its rotunda was built by Gustave Eiffel and features a huge chandelier (16,000 pieces of Baccarat crystal) that was supposed to go in the Romanov palace Рordered by Czar Nicholas himself. But then the Russian Revolution happened, so it ended up staying in Nice. We finally settled down to dinner at a french/itialian brasserie on the Promenade Рand of course we started with our new favorite aperitif РPastis.

Anna has left for Paris – and we have spent the last two days just recovering! It has been rainy and chilly with mistral winds and giant waves breaking over the sea wall, so perfect to stay in and read about what we want to do next. We did venture out to the boulangerie for little quiches and baguette, which we had for dinner last night. And to the market for eggs, cheese, and mushrooms for omelettes tonight. A perfect French life.

Tomorrow: Day trip to Cannes (by the #200 Bus – wish us luck!)

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