France Day 11: A Surprise Festival

Just as we were about to leave the house, a festival appeared in our square. As far as I can tell, it was part of the St. Michel festival that ran from the 28th to the 30th. I'll have to do more sleuthing about it when we get home but here are some videos we took.

They have to be links until I can get home and embed them.

The band coming up the steps

The sword dance

The harvest dance

France Days 9 and 10: Scenes from Villefranche


We've spent the last couple of days in Villefranche thanks to some train strikes and bad weather. We had the worst rain yet very early this morning and things seem to be clearing up for next week. We haven't done anything particularly fancy but these have probably been my favorite days.

Each morning we got up slowly and went to one of two bakeries. One is up the hill and the other is down the hill.

We're trying to decide which one is our favorite and who has the best what. The verdict is still out on, well, everything. Mostly because it's all pretty good.

More thorough, serious testing is necessary. Good thing we have another week.

On Friday we went to the beach again. The water was much more clear but it was also colder. It didn't stop me though!





After the beach, we cleaned up and went to the citadel.

The big surprise there was the Volti sculptures. There's a whole, beautiful, free museum of them.








For dinner, we ended up eating at a little Vietnamese place just down the stairs from us. I got beef pho and had the best meal of my trip up to that point. Maybe it was because I was still sick and/or a little tired of the same stuff, but it hit the spot in a big way.

At the table next to us were a couple of really fun, interesting people who work on the yachts. It was fascinating to hear a bit about their lives and what they do.

I have to admit that I am more than a little envious of how well-traveled they are. But I'm just not that much of a nomad. I need some home time to offset the wanderlust.

Saturday was supposed to be a stormy day so we planned to stay in.

My dad and I walked down to the bakery and watched an older man pass us, whistling and clearing his throat. He seemed like he was on his daily constitutional.

He was adorable.

He quickly turned onto a tiny street and narrowly missed a bucket's worth of water falling on his head.

So we watched as he watched the offending balcony above, trying to figure out when it would be safe and what, exactly, was going on up there.

Meanwhile, a woman on the balcony was obliviously washing it, throwing water all over and tossing down leaves and debris. She simply didn't seem to care if anyone was below.

The combination of the two was a perfect snapshot of this village. I haven't laughed quite like that in awhile.

We continued on, bought some goodies and trotted back up the hill to tell my mom the story.

After breakfast, we went to the food market at the park on top of the hill, outside of town.

We bought some veggies and decided we would get a roasted chicken somewhere and eat in.


Since we also needed some supplies from the bigger supermarket in Beaulieu, Dad and I caught the train after a stormy lunch by the water.

I could go off on a tangent about trying to catch the train during a strike but that would take awhile. Suffice to say, we waited a long time and got there a little bit bedraggled. It's really another story for another time.

Once at the Super U, though, we saw more great stuff.


Like wine juice boxes.


And incredible seafood.


The shrimp were especially amazing. They were huge and so fresh.

In the mesh bag on the right were tiny green crabs about the size of a silver dollar. I've never seen anything like them.


I also ended up getting truffle chips. And snarfed down half the bag when we finally got home.

After all that, we decided not to cook.

Where did we end up eating? The Vietnamese place again. And it was so good.

The moral of the story, if there is one, is that sometimes plans are overrated.

And Vietnamese food is delicious.

And Villefranche is wonderful.

France Day 8: A Visit to Menton

I'm still struggling with my Wordpress app and my phone. It doesn't like it when I write too much and/or add photos. So I might have to shorten things until I get back. Yesterday we went to Menton, a town that used to be part of Italy. You can even walk to Italy from there!

Oh yes, I thought about it. Believe me!

It has its own microclimate and is able to grown lemons year round. So there's a huge lemon festival, lemon-themed shops, and lemon trees everywhere.

The town had a strange feel. It was beautiful but not perfectly polished. It's also popular with retirees and vacationers. It seems like part Italy, part France, and part Florida.

The beach is wide and beautiful. We spent a long, leisurely lunch watching surfers and paddle boarders catch waves--and be tossed around by them. It almost felt like an ocean beach. The sound of the waves was hypnotic.

After a couple of hours and nearly getting mauled by a seagull that had to be on 'roids, we found the old pedestrian street. The buildings and atmosphere were so pretty that I felt like it could be so much nicer with better shops.

But I couldn't deny that the scenery, with the old pastel buildings, the water, and the mountains in the background was completely enchanting.