Saturday, March 28, 2015

last day

And now I'm showered with sunny days here in the south of France: today it was once again brilliant and tomorrow promises to be the same. Up north, the rains are drenching Paris, but that's not my focus -- at least not until Sunday. For now, I am soaking in the beautiful clear-sky weather. For the first time during this trip, I have no use for my jacket.

I go to the good bakery for one last time today. My weekly apartment rental ends tomorrow and I have an early enough train to catch so that I will not linger over breakfast at La Napoule -- I'll grab it in mid-journey. But today, I indulge once more in the extraordinary bread products from around the corner and by now, Madame greets me with a "Bonjour, I'll leave you to look for a while. Let me know when you decide." And there is a hint of a smile. Her assistant busies herself arranging things. Everything must be in top order.

France -3.jpg

But I do know what I want: demi baguette et pain au chocolat, s'il vous plait. It never ceases to amaze me that this amount of goodness, at the top bakery at La Napoule costs 1.85 Euro, which these days translates to barely $2.

I eat a luxurious breakfast on the balcony.

France -6.jpg

And now, what to do with my last day here? I'm not ambitious. I want to finish up my exploration of Cannes.  I did part one of the walking tour -- of the old town -- but completely neglected the glitzy beach boulevard which is sort of the Cannes most of us would think of when we try to imagine the city. And, too, I want to take a boat to one of the islands -- the tourist agent urged me to consider Ste. Marguerite Island and because it is the closest and claims to be full of beautiful natural spaces, I put that on my agenda as well.

Here we are then, in Cannes. I have to say, I do a lot of walking along the Cannes shore today because I went to get my boat ticket first, which put me all the way at the western edge of the city and then I went back and forth along the shoreline in the 2 hours that I had before my boat sailed.

Here are some photos of the moneyed people of Cannes. Or at least this is how they, the seemingly rich would like to present themselves to you and me.

France -15.jpg

France -28.jpg

France -34.jpg

France -40.jpg

It is in the mid sixties and the beaches are not yet ready for the sun worshipers, but this does not deter some from taking a stab at it...

France -14.jpg

Nearly the entire beach is lined with restaurants and eventually the sands will be dotted with chairs and parasols. The restaurants are not especially crowded yet, but you can surely see some very well tended people already enjoying their midday meal by the sea.

France -19.jpg

France -22.jpg

... while their children and grandchildren play in spaces set aside for their amusement.

France -38.jpg

I have to say, the waiters are not at all stuffy or indifferent to the rest of humanity out there. When I ask to walk around among their parasols, they are most friendly and welcoming, even though my shoes alone spell an acute absence of class (I'm wearing my same old cross overs).

France -25.jpg

While the wealth dines by the shore, the ordinary (or nearly ordinary) folk use the abundant and still mostly empty chairs up above to sit and eat a packed lunch or just to watch the waterfront (and the action below).

France -32.jpg

In all, it is actually a very lovely stroll for me. Cannes has many faces and this definitely is one important aspect of the city. You can't look at Detroit without thinking about cars and you can't look at Cannes without thinking about the glamor it tries to support.

France -45.jpg

I still have some minutes before my boat sails and so once again I walk up the hill of the old town. I want to see if the city looks any different under bluer skies.

France -46.jpg

The same, no?

The catamaran ride to the island takes a quick 15 minutes and even out at sea, I do not need a sweater.

The views are lovely no matter which way you look. Not surprisingly, my eyes repeatedly turn to the hills further west and especially the one with the visible tower. That's where I climbed yesterday! (In fact, if you look at yesterday's photo of the coast, you'll see the island of Sainte Marguerite right there staring at you.)

France -10.jpg

No less imposing, of course, are the Alpine peaks to the east.

France -55.jpg

The trip to Ste. Marguerite is worth it for the views alone.

France -60.jpg

It's also worth it for the nature walks, even though I don't especially want to linger. I do like the wide paths with the eucalyptus trees.

France -67.jpg

And I like the quiet of the place.

France -69.jpg

And if you come close to the shore, there are the impressive views, of course.

France -71.jpg

But after about an hour or so of walking up and down, I have had my fill.  At some point you know it's time to head home.

The 3:15 boat I try to board is packed with two groups of French school children (who appear to have over-nighted here -- their little suitcases are neatly stacked on the pier)...

France -76.jpg

This is when it helps to have your own private yacht to get back to the mainland. In the alternative, you can wait until they send a second boat for us, grownups. The laid back attitude the boat people have toward schedules makes me glad I caught an earlier boat. I may have otherwise missed my 5:03 train back to la Napoule. This way I have time for even a brief espresso-noisette. I drink it outside, but as the sun goes down, out comes the sweater.

France -79.jpg

It was a good way to spend the last day. Plenty of walking, but not something that would be so demanding as to wipe me out. In the evening I have packing to do. The suitcase is light, but it has to accommodate my slowly growing stack of Snowdrop gifts. Want to see the fabrics? Here they are:

France -2.jpg

And again I am immensely hungry for dinner. I return to La Palmea. Not because it was the best, but it was good enough and the waiters were solicitous and it's just one fourth a block away, making me think it's sort of my dinner home base. I have various fish dishes -- both appetizer and main course. I am now ready to return to a time when not all dinners lean toward the sea.

France -83.jpg
(an "open ravioli" with scallops, langoustine and mushrooms)

I watch the people who come to dine here. Boat people from Germany. Seriously dressed up people from somewhere in France. A lovely raggy old couple, also from France. And then -- this couple from Italy I think. They come in laughing and they smile more often than not.

France -86.jpg

I like that. The world is full of troubles and issues, but they find reason to smile. Just a light touch, a friendly word -- it's enough for them. That image stays with me for the rest of my stay in La Napoule.


  1. Oh, the blues today! Everything is gorgeous under that blue sky.
    The town was as pretty as money can buy. I like lighted palm trees, something I had never seen until our son lived in Coconut Grove. They looked like fireworks at Christmastime!

    Photos took a long time to load as I scrolled today, and that's why bikini girl came slowly into view, and I actually gasped to see her nasty little costume. It was awful, it immediately called to mind the bathroom related function of that particular anatomical area. A bikini bottom could have been sexy, even a thong would have been better. Well, enough said.

    As always, I'm drawn to spending time with photos of children. I can tell quite a lot about the group's social dynamic from that photo.

    Enjoyed checking out the moneyed women. In the beachfront cafe, I disliked the platinum rat-tail, but loved,loved the flower-heeled shoes! Unless the price of those shoes is time spent with the man in the bursting pink shirt and the Wolfman haircut.

    Love the babygirl clothes! I have two particular favorites.

    The last photo was a great one with which to end today's chronicle. I'd rather be at the table with THAT man, no matter what shoes we're wearing! :)

  2. After all the stunningly beautiful and artistic photographs you have included (and I mean that sincerely), the one I love the best is the last, especially the man's hand touching the woman's elbow area... so sweet!

  3. Given the glitz and money that Cannes is famous for harboring, I'm so surprised by the look of the city itself. I expected gaudy and found it only in that one old woman who failed miserably in looking monied.

    The island pictures are beautiful. Such strong blues and greens. And you even got Madam to hint at a smile this morning. Lovely!

  4. Snowdrop will love those outfits! Lucky girl!!

    Funny how adults look different country by country but school kids, especially on a class trip, look so alike no matter the country.


I welcome comments, but I will not publish submissions that insult or demean, or that are posted anonymously. I am sorry to lose commenting Ocean friends who are not registered, but I want to encourage readers to submit remarks only if they feel they can stand behind their words. I do not seek a free-for-all here. I like camaraderie far more than conflict.