Question often posed, "when did you first fall in love with...."?Predictably, "oh... on first sight" or some other similarly shallow response.When exactly did I fall in love with France, or rather the French way of life. Not until I came south. Like the Impressionist painters before me, yes, I was dazzled by the light. I mean who wouldn't be. Here there are over 300 days plus of sunshine. Did that just register with you? Then, you have that French sensibility toward life, no where more than here in the south.One works to live. The long [...]
Sat, Jun 13, 2015, Continue reading at the source
Ask and ye shall receive. Last year I bemoaned the fact that the Nice Jazz Festival was relying too much on regulars. Sponsored by singer/pianist Jamie Cullum, this year's program presents several rarely-seen-in-Nice artists such as Brad Mehldau, The Roots, Jason Moran and Roberto Fonseca. In addition to up-and-coming artists, look out for jazz legends Cassandra Wilson, Kenny Barron and Charles Lloyd as well as soul artists Lauryn Hill and Kool and the Gang. The price has not gone up (yay!), remaining at €35 (€31 if purchased before 15 May) with a variety of reductions available. Check out the Nice [...]
Mon, Apr 13, 2015, Continue reading at the source
It always starts with a walk through the gardenStop...savor the view & off we go, down rue General Rose End of the rue and you're in the "old town" left or right on rue Gaillard & I've got choices.Do I go down rue Barthelemy de Don?Or... rue Siat Marcellin? Wandering back across rue Gaillard.Or do I take my most often choice?Marcellin, near the endPijaud to the PortThe Port is in sight at Place Michel PachaAaaah.... the PortStrolling along Quai Charles de Gaulle, about to pass the Hotel de la Tour"Pointu" boats alongside the QuaiBeautiful Blvd. CourbetAn ancient on CoubertBegin [...]
Tue, Jun 24, 2014, Continue reading at the source
“So why do you do it”?Well... you see. As you become, as they say, “a man of that certain age”, your memories of what you wish to remember, they become memories of what you think you remember. So I commit them to type in hope that they will remain true a while longer.And... if I should choose to share these memories with a few friends, and... if even a few should find them amusing, then... we all profit as the French would say.“No, no, that's not what I meant.”“I meant, why do you go back to the same place [...]
Mon, Jun 16, 2014, Continue reading at the source
We have both been great fans of le Tour de France for some years now. Truth be told, probably about the time Lance began winning le Tour. Part sport, part travelogue and always a spectacle, we look forward to each year in July when le Tour begins. I recently read that behind the Olympics and the Coupe de Monde, le Tour de France is the third most watched sporting event in the world. Despite all the persistent scandal and Lance's recent fall from grace, we still love it! So..... this year with le Tour coming to within 30 minutes of [...]
Sun, Jul 07, 2013, Continue reading at the source
I am always a sucker for anything that might fall under the heading of “local color”.Here on the Southern Coast of France, there exist a rather unusual sport known as les Joutes Provencale. Now, I have known of this activity for some years now, but have never witnessed an actual competition, just the practice “laps” here in the harbor.The competition dating back to Greco-Roman times, takes place on colorfully painted wooden boats of Phoenician origins, a common fishing vessel in these parts. The Joutes boats, however, are somewhat distinctive and immediately recognizable by the odd-looking extension at the rear.The English [...]
Mon, Jun 24, 2013, Continue reading at the source
If you spend anytime at all along the Cote d'Azur of Southern France you are bound to see the famous yellow fire-fighting aircraft, swooping down into the azur blue water and lifting-off with their full belly-load, then, banking sharply, off into the distance toward the blazing fire.These are known in these parts as the “les Canadairs”, a Canadian built aircraft especially designed for the purpose of fighting forest-fires.In this part of France , well known for it's 200+ sunny days a year, the hot Provencal sun... much like Southern California, makes it very prone to dry, scrub covered hillsides, [...]
Fri, Jun 14, 2013, Continue reading at the source
Several of you have repeatedly asked me... “how can you stay just there that long” or “what do you do there every day” ?I guess I've never really thought about it much, you know, I just do it.But, OK, let's give it a go. I'll try and describe for you a bit of what it's like for us here., I'm not going to do a day by day diary sort of thing, don't think I'm up to that, and anyway... you'd be bored to tears. No, I'd be. Maybe just some of the more interesting bits.Let's see... arrived a [...]
Mon, Jun 03, 2013, Continue reading at the source
Sound's almost oxymoronic, doesn't it?The return. Leaving a life I love for the life I live. The rain..... seems somehow apropos to my mood at the moment.Enough!This is, after all, seductive Paris. She who draws me back again and again. But... the rain... the mood. Sometimes you just have to make your own sunshine.Yes, I've been here many times. Done all the cliches, the Louvre, Notre Dame, The Orsay, The Eiffel, The Champs, Montmartre, the Latin Quarter. I've done them all. Will do them again.But here, on this rainy day, in Paris, what to do? I need light, levity, mindless [...]
Sun, Dec 23, 2012, Continue reading at the source
Part 3 of a 3 Part Series Sometime around seven, maybe a little before, they arrive. Depending on the time of the year, it could still be dark. They arrive in all manner of vehicles, each prepared in their own way to open their little “storefront” in today's market.Some arrive in elaborate mini motor-home like affairs, specially built, the sides open [...]
Fri, Nov 02, 2012, Continue reading at the source
Part 2 of a 3 Part Series Introducing The Provencal MarketI have vicariously known of Provencal Markets long before experiencing the real thing first hand, having read numerous accounts in various travel guides, journals and photo essays about them. The uniqueness of these markets cannot be overstated. In my life I've never experienced anything quite like them in the “states” .Part farmers [...]
Fri, Nov 02, 2012, Continue reading at the source
The Daily Market Part 1 of a 3 Part SeriesIt will come as no surprise to those who have followed my postings, I am as the Brits would say, quite potty about markets, that is, I'm absolutely crazy about [...]
Fri, Nov 02, 2012, Continue reading at the source
When I was in college I took a science fiction literature class and read several negative futuristic books along the way as a part of my studies. Three of which have always stood out: George Orwell's 1984, Aldous Huxley's Brave New World and Ray Bradbury's The Sheep Look Up. These three novels are very powerful, but not the kind of novels that I could ever say I liked. I can only say that I found them haunting. In the late 30's as the tensions leading to WW II were building many German writers, especially any with Jewish heritage, fled Germany [...]
Tue, Sep 25, 2012, Continue reading at the source
OK, so I find that I can often experience two different emotions prior to travel. Apprehension/anxiety at the thought of the unknown. More to the point, the fear that all will not be up to expectations. Alternatively, elation. The joy of anticipation. “Just can't wait to be there”!Last year was the former. This year , most definitely, the later.The ReturnFirst of all, the journey and the arrival.I don't know why, but, in all of the years that I have made this journey, I have never taken advantage of the TGV train station in Terminal 2 at Charles de Gaulle Airport. [...]
Sun, Sep 23, 2012, Continue reading at the source
Walking??We like to walk. No... we love to walk. We have always been walkers. In the past fifteen to twenty years of travel, walking has been an inseparable part of our travels. I mean, you slow the whole process down to a more intimate scale. You see, hear, smell and even feel what you would otherwise be missing. It is quite simply, a most pleasant state of existence. The outside world is just that... you loose yourself in the moment... and... isn't that what travel should be all about?And... it's good for you! Wow!!A “Walk” Down Memory LaneThe U.K., England;There [...]
Thu, Jun 07, 2012, Continue reading at the source
Here I sit at the end of the pool beneath the shade of an ancient silvery olive tree. I look out over the rooftops the village down below and onto the bay beyond. I look back towards the house, a grand old maison, a part of which has become, if but for a while, my, no our home.I contemplate writing this, a twisting-turning sort of a story, the outcome of which, even I cannot predict at this time.The story is, in a sense, a double entendre, of two meanings.It is in the lesser sense, in the moment. A story of [...]
Mon, Sep 26, 2011, Continue reading at the source
The Nut ManHere in this small former fishing village on the Cote d'Azur lives the "nut man". I use this term "nut man" as a term of endearment to describe this man who appears to make his living selling nuts. These are what we would call pralines, they are coated with a sugar and spice mixture and are actually quite tasty. The nut man sells his wares to the tourists that pack the small cafés that front the harbor of this small village. The nut man knows all of the staff in the cafés and all the regulars that show [...]
Sun, Sep 25, 2011, Continue reading at the source
Beaune is the epicenter of what is arguably, the most prestigious wine region in the world. There is hardly a person in this town who does not directly or indirectly profit from the wine industry that is Burgundy. The place positively oozes with wine. It is the reason that one comes here!Oui!!The sumptuous wines, the rich Burgundian cusine and the promise of a bike ride through beautiful villages and vineyards bearing the most prestigious names and appelations in the world. It is enough to make a sommelier drool.La Voie Des Vignes (The Vineyard Trail) is literally on the edge of [...]
Sat, Sep 17, 2011, Continue reading at the source
Postcards From AnnecyThe old town of Annecy France is yet another of those almost too-cute Alpine resort towns that they do so well in these parts. Situated at the mouth of tres-beautiful Lac Annecy, the lake flows lazily through town via a series of manmade canals. The old mediaeval buildings seem to “grow” right out of the waters edge. Narrow walkways skirt and petite stone bridges cross the canal leading you from one sweet little canal-side café or restaurant to the next. To say that it is picturesque is a cliche.Yes, we came here for the “cute”, but mostly for [...]
Tue, Sep 13, 2011, Continue reading at the source
Mini blog here. Just arrived by train in Beaune, France, epicenter, so to speak of the wine scene in Burgundy. 20 minutes in, we're already off to a little sidewalk cafe and a 6 page wine menu, whoa, you gotta be kiddin' me! Too much, overload, think I'll just have a nice bottle of a Macon blanc(unoaked Chardonnay) Yummy but, wow, at 13.5% and on a relatively empty stomach, I sure feel that!Back to the Auberge du Burguignonne for a bit of a lie down.The Auberge, a restaurant with some nice rooms upstairs, had looked promising as this evenings destination, [...]
Wed, Sep 07, 2011, Continue reading at the source
Our last time in Switzerland was 09 September 2001. I will not, however, recount the details of that experience, other than to say that the Swiss were truly empathetic and supportive of us during those trying times.This is a small and curious little country with four distinct regions, each speaking a different first language. French, German, Italian and Romansch, an odd “mouthful of marbles” sing-song dialect unique to the eastern mountians.However, the country as a whole has a number of unifying qualities. It is all unbelievably beautiful. The people are always friendly and welcoming. But, for all this beauty and [...]
Mon, Sep 05, 2011, Continue reading at the source
Now I've always considered myself to be a fairly intelligent kind of fellow, but I'm here to tell you, France can grind you into a stupid state of humility before you know that it's happened.Yes, yes, I know I don't speak the language all that well and yes that frequently bites me in the ass, but, it's more than just that. It's cultural but more. It's like there's the understanding of ways and things that I've developed over a lifetime and then there's the French way.Everything will seem very similar at first, but, upon closer experience- it's always, always somehow [...]
Wed, Dec 29, 2010, Continue reading at the source
Nice, self appointed queen of the Riviera, a belle epoch beauty, part late 19th century Brit and part 20th century resort.But Why? Why does it draw Sandy and I back time and time again? What's so special about Nice? After all, when we first arrived in Nice back in '98 as a part of one of those whirlwind tours of France we were known to do back then, we both looked at each other and said it's ok but what's the big deal?Then came a second visit, a second chance for Nice as it were, and we hit upon "old [...]
Sat, Aug 21, 2010, Continue reading at the source
You may be asking yourself, why in the heck is Kevin writing a post on bread.Well, you see, when you practice what I call "immersion travel" you begin to pick-up on so many of the little details of daily life that create the "fabric" of that local life.In France, and perhaps nowhere more than here in the South, a baguette is just such a detail. For someone from the States who has not experienced French life firsthand, it is difficult to imagine that something as simple as bread could play such an important role in their daily life.What an understatement! [...]
Tue, Aug 03, 2010, Continue reading at the source
Last night I went to my first French wedding. We were honored by the bride and groom with a seat the at their table. I was seated across from the evening's entertainment, an Elvis impersonator. He was here because our hosts and many of their friends are huge Elvis fans. Luckily for me he spoke very good English. He explained that it was important for him to be able to speak English because he wanted to understand what he was singing. I have never been a big Elvis fan. I guess because he seemed like an old man to me [...]
Mon, Jun 28, 2010, Continue reading at the source
This city strikes you right on the spot. And your life will never be the same. You are not opening your guidebook but exploring great places on your own. You are not feeling like a tourist but rediscovering your own life. You are not looking for inspiration, it finds you in the middle of the conversation with the Sea.You are not waiting for adventures to happen, you find that smile on your face.You are not thinking of the things you like, you are surrounded by them.You meet great people. [...]
Tue, Sep 02, 2008, Continue reading at the source