Category Archives: Provence Cote d’Azur

Day 4 – A trip through memory lane in the South of France

After fifteen years living in the south of France with the Italian Riviera just over the fence,  it was quite hard to give the Latin culture and traditions up and move into a country with an entirely different way of life such as Hungary in Central Europe.

These regions of France and Italy have given us practically a lifetime worth of wonderful and remarkable experiences  that no amount of money can buy.   Friends we have met, passions and interests we  have unearthed,  practical skills we have learned and the lifestyle we got immersed into helped transformed us in the way we think and act, moreso to a non-European like myself.  Indeed, they both hold a very special place in our hearts that’s why everytime we get the chance to travel here, it’s like going back home to our family and  walking back memory lane.

So on Day 4 of our trip, it was great to see familiar places and dear friends again.  It was also very uplifting to see  colours!  Colours of buildings, flowers, oranges hanging from the trees, the Mediterranean sea in its turquoise glory, and heck, even umbrellas and chairs – they have certainly uplifted our sense of well being, what with the long grey days of winter we have been experiencing in the North.

Hope these photos will also uplift your spirits!  Happy browsing.

 

 What a joyful view we  have from our hotel window in Menton!

The peak of the orange season in Menton is between February and March hence, we were right in time to view this roadside spectacle of raining oranges, but unfortunately too late to catch the Annual Lemon Festival which took place from 14th February to 4th March this year.

The sea tends to become more inviting if contrasted with Al fresco dining furniture such as these!

… and matching flower displays like this one..

With the many restaurants lining the seaside promenade of Menton, there appears to be a colour competition to attract the diners.

Birds of Paradise already out in March – only in the south of France!

so deliciously pleasing to the eyes!

Colourful buildings in the Old Town

Outside of the Old Town, we find this last church standing.

Just few kilometers from Menton (France) is the Old Town of Ventimiglia (Italy)

Finally arrived in Fontan, the village where we used to live.

Of course, our dear friend Monsieur Antoine who proudly displays a photo of his youth taken in the 60s.
He is the young man standing next to the pony.

And this is the reason for our trip to Fontan.  This white Peugeot car (hey, vintage is trendy now!) – stained by the elements after being left untouched like how you see it now –  used to belong to me and was successfully sold to the monsieur on the right.  A widower at 82, he also proudly tells me how, since his wife died 18 years ago, he never fails to put fresh flowers on his wife’s grave everyday without fail.  He looks very fit, wearing his signature shorts whatever season of the year (the date is still Winter).  And oh, he showed me the pendant he is wearing which has the engraved portrait of his wife.  How sweet……

Roadtrip Day 3 – The scenic road to the south

Continuing the journey from Grenoble down to the south of France, taking the local roads which are more scenic than the motorways:

Stopped in the thermal bath town of Digne les Bains

 

 

Cemetery of Digne les Bains.  Wonder why crosses of graves in Digne are covered with arc roofs

 

 

The signature Plane trees of the South of France


Arriving in Menton, the lemon capital of France! (oopssss….these are oranges on the picture)

One Summer Night near Cannes

 

Yesterday, we stopped over in Cannes-Mandelieu for the night and thought of going for a walk along the promenade to catch a bit of salty air. The night was so pleasant, everybody was out, tourists here and there, there was a festive atmosphere.

Ahhh.. it’s good to be reminded again how the French spend their summer nights on the beach.

 

Picnicking on the beach is a grand family and social affair for the French..

I thought it was a loo, but on closer look, it is a locker thingie for the swimmers’ valuables!

 

 

 

 

Nearby is a restaurant offering Dine and Dance Night

After one hour, we went back and noticed that the crowd was getting even more heated!

 

A five-star hotel along the promenade..

 

 

A night market was going on, too

 

 

a good opportunity to do some shopping for French Provencal (rustic) goods…

..and having your caricature reproduced on grand format

The warmer South of France is a very popular destination especially for those coming from colder countries.
This is a German-registered Car… “D” for Deutsch (Germany)

 

It was the 4th night after the Super Full Moon display….shame I didn’t have my zoom lens and tripod with me…

The hotel at the foot of the French Alps

It was a very hectic and physically-exhausting two weeks, that of moving our furniture and stuff which have been kept for six months in a Storage Space somewhere in the south of France.

We have accepted the fact that this would be a costly endeavour: driving thousands of kilometers on the road, spanning three countries and an island, staying each night in hotels and eating out. We have been very lucky though with our accommodations and ultra hospitable hosts, thanks to the 3G phone of H, we were able to book hotels at the last minute and usually, at much-reduced rates, and this, I tell you, is something I discovered in the process. Hotels do offer their unbooked rooms at throwaway prices, which is still money going to their books rather than zero if they leave them empty.

One of these hotels that really blew us away is this Bed and Breakfast place that made us re-live the photos I see only in Home & Country magazines.

For the impeccable service, the friendliness of the hosts, the sumptuous breakfast and of course, the cozy rooms that enabled us to rest our completely tired muscles, we felt it highly embarrassing to pay the low price they advertised it for, so H took it upon himself to give extra just to show them our deep appreciation, and of course, a very good review will be posted online into their website, hopefully, to help attract more guests.

View from the terrace

 

A cozy bedroom and, guess what?…books about my favourite French photographer Robert Doisneau (his famous photo, The Kiss at the Hotel de Ville)

… and more books for guests-families

Attention to detail is what impressed us of this hotel.

dolls for little girls are waiting to be cuddled

It’s perched on a hill so lots of stone steps to be negotiated but for guests with reduced mobility, a stair lift is provided

Morning has broken as breakfast is waiting for us outside

a choice of warm viennoiseries such as croissants, raisin bread, pain au chocolat

plump peaches and plums

cheese, ham, homemade yoghurt, local honey, fresh orange juice…..and a big bowl of brewed coffee!
Yes, that’s how the French drink their coffee…in bowls!