One would think that eleven people, four of them young children aged one, two, three and five all living under the same roof for two weeks would create a totally chaotic and crazy experience but strangely, it was relatively peaceful and enjoyable for the most part, with only a few moments of slightly frayed tempers … well actually that would be me one evening on day twelve as I recall 🙂 …. I was bone tired from not too much solid sleep … two kids went to bed early and woke up at the crack of dawn with much fanfare … two stayed awake as late as possible with equal fanfare … the young adults seem to handle this situation better than I, perhaps because of an abundance of energy at their age versus that of someone my age …. they forget I need my sleep or the cranks move in :). Mostly smooth sailing though for everyone, thanks in large part to Sarah and Liseanne researching and finding awesome Airbnb properties with yards, play centres, trampolines, pools and dirt for the kids to play in and with 🙂 … when the little ones are happy, far easier for the rest of us to be as well! Any concerns about moving house every three or four days were quickly abandoned … everyone handled it like seasoned pros.
After squeezing our car into the smallest parkade ever, space being a premium, we did a walkabout through the town/country (Monaco is roughly two square kms, with a population under 40,000). Lots of opulence in that wee country by the sea ….. Albert II is the reigning monarch of the Principality of Monaco and head of the princely house of Grimaldi.
The Grand Prix was to take place a week later …. the place was buzzing with prep activity. Massive yachts lined the bay, as the uber wealthy moved into town to participate in the big race … a sport for the one percentile! We sat by the water’s edge and savoured truffle cheese, a charcuterie platter and the ubiquitous glass of wine, thoroughly enjoying some relaxed time.
Villefranche Sur Mer has a special atmosphere with the warmth and charm of a small fishing village from a bygone era, allowing for a pleasant slower pace of life. We had planned to tie up with the others in this village but they were leaving just as we arrived …. we had lingered longer than planned in Monaco! The little ones had apparently had quite enough car and restauarant time at that point and were antsy to head back to play at the villa :)! Tim, Liseanne and I opted for a quiet seaside dinner in Villefranche before hitting the freeway craziness back to Nice. I remain impressed with Tim’s handling of the French road system without the aid of GPS. Liseanne admirably handles the manual navigating with very few blips … Rob and Gary did admirably as well and despite using GPS, it still required vigilance and help from their trusty navigators, Sarah and Jenn! All in all, I was thrilled to have the back seat in this regard … my sense of direction or rather lack thereof, would have found us going in circles 🙂
The following day found us all exploring the streets of the once thriving fishing village and port of Antibes, now known as much for its luxurious homes that dot the landscape as it is for its reputation as the cultural heart of the Côte d’Azur. Within the old castle walls, sits the Musee Picasso … he lived a spell in Antibes, hence the honour I imagine. We explored the cobbly old town streets, stopped at the local outdoor market (love these!!) to replenish produce supplies, taking time for a leisurely lunch to munch on a delicious French version of a club sandwich, accompanied of course by a glass of Rose! Afternoon seemed like a good time to dip into the Mediterranean for a swim in a quiet little bay and soak in some rays. Another charming village by the sea where one could most certainly linger longer … my life motto 🙂
A short drive from Antibes, we arrive at our villa in Cassis. We were all in agreement that Cassis was a favourite stop for all of us! A most charming small coastal town with a relaxing vibe permeating the air. A favourite part was being able to walk into town … a nice bit of exercise! The villa was superb with a well equipped kitchen …. inspiring Rob to cook a meal for us all … a nice break from restaurants! Shrimp, chicken, pasta, veggies … delicious!
The little ones loved the ‘merry go round’ by the sea not to mention another large yard and pool to play in! Totally loving the French Riviera … Côte d’Azur ❤️
Sarah, Jenn, Tim and Liseanne all hiked the majestic Calanque ‘range’ one afternoon … Gary, Rob, the kids and I stayed behind enjoying the amenities at the villa.
Tim, Liseanne and I took in a boat excursion on our last day in Cassis to view the Calanques up close …. unbelievable formations and a view up close that was not possible hiking from above …. the Calanques of Cassis are a unique geological formation usually comprised of limestone or granite, made up of deep, narrow valleys with sharp edges, partly submerged in the sea … the shapes apparently bear resemblance to those of the Norwegian fjords.
Another great day in France!