Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Street Art In Arles

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As the French say, a chacun son goût. Biere a la pression is draft beer. Douche is shower. Cuir is leather.

Incroyable! We were looking for a supermarket at the Gare du Nord, near our apartment in Paris (Google Maps has its location completely wrong). A local woman came up to me in the street, asked me in her own language where the entrance to the Metro was, I understood her, answered her question (sure hope I was right) and she thanked me profusely. Progress. It felt good.   

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Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Yo, Vinny!

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Towns and cities make their living off whatever they can. We took a day trip to Arles yesterday, where Vincent van Gogh spent some of his life. The place squeezes every euro it can out of him. There is great charm, however, in the placards the town has put up at the location of some of his famous paintings. The first below is in the old Roman arena, probably at a bull fight. The next is the yellow house where he lived. The smaller building in front is gone but that's the same one behind. You can see the same railroad trestle on the right.

We will be in Paris this afternoon.

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Monday, September 1, 2014

Another Reason To Love France

Another Reason To Love France

Ok, I'm a Francophile. Not that I have anything against the splendors of my own country but some things here are incomparable.

We had a long Sunday lunch with our colleague Nathalie of Avignon Daily Photo and some of her family. She and her partner live in a centuries-old stone farmhouse outside of Avignon, near the wine making town of Beaumes de Venise. We walked along the hillside after the meal, past an old church, vineyards and the canal that irrigates them. We saw grassy plants covered with tiny white snails.

The house has four bedrooms and you can rent it for a week during the summer. It would be heaven. Click here to get information. Do it. There are only the two of us so if anyone is interested in splitting it next summer let me know.

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Canal Near Beaumes de Venise


Vinyard Near Beaumes de Venise

Sunday, August 31, 2014

The Super Rich, Caesar Augustus And Russell Crowe

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On Friday, we went to the Medieval towns of La Turbie and Eze. The former has a Roman ruin called The Trophy of Augustus. The first Roman emperor erected it at the highest point on the coastal road, well visible from the sea, after the conquest of the Alps and Gaul to demonstrate imperial power. You can find out more here. The third picture is a speculation of how the original might have looked. The grounds also have a commanding view of Monaco, one of the rare times we can look down on the super rich.

The fourth photo shows why this department of France is called Alpes-Maritimes. The great mountain range literally plunges into the sea around the French-Italian border.

At dinner last night in Aix, cousin Russell stared down at us us the restaurant of the name on the wall. A bit disconcerting but still a superb meal.                   

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Alpes-Maritimes And The Sea

Dal Gladiatore

Saturday, August 30, 2014

The Mirror Of Nice

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It's late Saturday afternoon as I write this from our hotel room in Aix-en-Provence. The subject is officially called the Mirror of Water. It's in a park strip by the west end of the Old City in Nice. There is perhaps an inch of water on a large stone platform. From time to time water jets bounce up in interesting patterns. The water outlets may also blow up billows of cloud, like here at sunset. Children love it. It makes for special photos at this time of day.

Tourist tip: don't try to drive in the city proper of Nice back from the sea. Pay through the nose and stay near the Mediterranean where most of the attractions are. Otherwise, take a taxi. I have driven in many old, cramped cities in Europe but never one as confusing and difficult as Nice. Even with a portable navigation system, we constantly made wrong turns. We are glad to be in someplace smaller.

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Friday, August 29, 2014

Luncheon In Paradise

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Jimmy Buffet sang of cheeseburgers in paradise. Quelle horreur! On Thursday we had a two and a half hour, three course lunch with a bottle of Provençal rose, a few coffees, a visit from the house cat and many, many photographs. The photo on top is my starter

The venue was Restaurant Beausejour in the mountain hamlet of Gorbio, looking over the town of Menton, The Mediterranean and, unfortunately, the A8 motorway.  We stayed in Menton when we were last in the area two years ago. Our companion was our friend and colleague Jilly Bennett of Menton Daily Photo. One could not imagine such a pleasant afternoon in the U.S. No experience at home can compare. Nous aimons la France.

Many more pictures of Gorbio to edit.                                  

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Thursday, August 28, 2014

In The Market

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Quick post from the outdoor market in the old city of Nice. Just about everything seemed to be local. The old city is a warren of narrow, twisting streets.

We're on our way over to the tiny village of Gorbio this morning to meet our colleague, Jilly, for lunch at the incomparable Restaurant Beausejour. Jilly is the de facto town photographer.          

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