With the champagne drunk, the picnic eaten and the house left immaculate, the last shower was taken and we set off to Nice airport.
It was hard to leave but we have work to do and the Flat with the Most Potential awaits us in Queen’s Park. It’s time to start thinking positively and Money Pit has served its purpose as a name. We’re into Phase Two Renovation.
And so we bid adieu to the Côte d’Azur with plans to return soon and set off back to our other reality.
What better way to spend an afternoon than sitting on a beach with a bottle of cold champagne and a picnic. And what’s better than doing it twice?!
As the return to Money Pit inevitably looms on the horizon, I shall be looking at these photos and remembering the past two days. And then I’ll be booking tickets for the summer escape.
After a few days of relaxing, cleaning, cooking but mostly eating and drinking over Easter, we decided to head to Montpellier. An area I’d wanted to see, we drove through Arles and the Camargue (Nîmes and Marseille would have to wait) as we did a little reconnaissance.
We stopped for morning coffee in Arles where temperatures were decidedly cool. We admired the Roman ruins and then set off across the Camargue.
The Camargue is an area known for pink flamingos, wild white horses and salt flats. Sure enough white horses and pink flamingos appeared right on cue but the area didn’t seem as wild as I’d heard and much of it seemed to be farmed including the salt flats. Still, wild pink flamingos are a pretty good sight!
We stopped for a delicious lunch in Aigues Mortues where lots of bull was on the menu… and moules frites luckily. And so replete, we left the Camargue and headed off to Montpellier.
The third largest city in the South of France, Montpellier was the only city not founded by the Romans. Not sure why but I suspect the Romans knew something we didn’t. A student town, it seemed young and hip and we soon discovered weed culture going strong.
Montpellier wasn’t instantly appealing however urban sprawl eventually led to a historique centre where we found what we were looking for including an Arc de Triomphe and an intriguing cathedral with two large pencils at the entrance.
We sat in a small square dappled with sunlight and discussed the merits of Montpellier versus the Côte d’Azur. Sadly Montpellier couldn’t compete and so we set off home to the azur seas and skies of the Côte.
A very good day out!
Saturday and we set off on a hunt for brocante (antiques or other people’s crap) or Vide Grenier (empty attic or car boot sale) in Antibes.
Our first stop resulted in another green bottle of which there are now many but for five euros how could one resist? In the kitchen/dining room there are five already, they look like they’ve been breeding!
Next stop was the bigger antique market where we were really lucky. A chandelier with “front bedroom” written all over it for a fraction of the price it would cost anywhere else and so we snapped it up. Who needs running water when they can have a fabulous chandelier?
One chandelier sorted. Having cleaned it up, the only challenge is how to convince EasyJet that a) it fits in my bag and b) it’s hand luggage.
In French of course.
Thursday and we decided to go to Italy for a bike ride.
We set off to San Remo, hired bikes near the old station and set off along a bike path by the coast. The weather was glorious with azur seas and balmy temperatures and we found a lovely outdoor restaurant where we sat and enjoyed a delicious lunch in Italy. Gnochetti with pesto and a glass of dry white wine, one can’t really go wrong with that.
Replete, we set off back to the bike hire to return the bikes and sat enjoying a coffee in the afternoon sunshine. Italians were still wrapped up in coats and scarves for winter while we sat in shirt sleeves soaking up the rays. The English, desperate for sun.
It was a lovely day in Italy with only a bouchon (a bottle neck or traffic jam) to mar the day on the way back.
And so while tomorrow’s Good Friday, that was a pretty good Thursday!
By Wednesday I was feeling very much recovered and able to think of the Money Pit without shuddering in horror. To celebrate we had lunch with the Son of Letad and his girlfriend, and a lovely day was had by all.
We sat by the beach in Cannes and enjoyed lunch, a glorious event where temperatures soared in a sun trap and the blinding light of the white tablecloths required sunglasses. The Mediterranean sparkled alluringly beyond, the temperatures not quite plunge-worthy, still it was a far cry from the past few weeks.
After lunch we were shown a secret beach near Antibes where I suspect we’ll be returning with a bottle of rosé and picnic to enjoy an early summer sunset.
By the end of the afternoon we were tired and ready to return to the Little House Above the Boulangerie for an early night where the novelty of sleeping still hasn’t worn off!
Yesterday it was 27 degrees and sunny. The sky was periwinkle blue and we lay on the beach in Antibes. I may have dropped off listening to the sound of the waves and children playing.
It was a far cry from my reality of the past few weeks.
The continued surprise of using a toilet which is actually bolted to the floor and doesn’t wobble. To sleep on a blissfully comfortable mattress without worrying about it sinking or bursting. Not waking up in the cold, not cooking in the bedsit, not sleeping in four layers of clothes… the list goes on.
Last night I slept for the whole night, something I haven’t done in about six weeks. Sleep deprivation has certainly taken its toll but I’m feeling better already and hopefully things will be much improved upon our return including the weather.
Not ready to go back yet!