After Florence, we boarded the bus for a long drive to Cannes, France. To break it up a bit, they let us have a pit stop in Pisa to see the Leaning Tower. I for one am a really big fan of Pisa. Its just one of those things you always see in books and photos, but it still shocks you when you see it in person. I mean that thing really leans.
It is next to impossible for me to stay awake in cars. The roar of the engine and bumps of the road just lull me to sleep, but the Husband made sure to wake me up for the good parts, like the drive along the Italian and French Riviera. It is so picturesque and makes you really evaluate how lucky you are to be looking at it.
We were originally supposed to stay in Nice, but Globus (who books trips as a profession) somehow didn’t realize it was Grand Prix weekend and there were no rooms to be had so they shipped us on down the road to Cannes. So not only were we in the South of France during the Grand Prix, but we also got to catch the tail end of the Cannes Film Festival, complete with red carpet and Hollywood glam (sadly, there were no celebrity sightings). Nonetheless, it was awesome. The first night we had dinner on the boardwalk overlooking the ocean, then we headed for the casino where we played for a couple of hours before taking a beautiful walk back. We ended with a nightcap at a very trendy sidewalk café complete with freshly shaved prosciutto and live music.
The next day, we ignored the advice of our very opinionated and somewhat boring tour guide (he believes seeing the sites is vacation enough) and hit the beach! We actually lucked out by staying in Cannes because the beaches are much nicer (sandier) than the ones in Nice. We ate lunch in our lounge chairs and took a swim (more like a wade for me – it was freezing) in the Mediterranean.
That afternoon/evening we drove back to Nice where we took a walking tour through the town and got wonderfully distracted and off track when we stumbled upon this French flea market. The Husband and I were awestruck. We picked up a few treasures for our friends back home and lusted after all the amazing antiques on display. The garage sales in Fort Worth just don’t have that kind of loot. After a walk on the Nice Promenade we drove up to Monaco where we saw the church Grace Kelly was married, along with the beautiful palace and amazing views of yacht-filled marinas and bays. We also drove the route of the Grand Prix that was still set up from the race the day before and visited the beautiful Monte Carlo Casino where I had just enough time to burn $100 on the slots.
The next day we caught the express train to Paris, but first stopped at Fragonard, a perfume factory in Grasse. They are known for their expertise in parfum, and I finally learned the difference between eau de parfum and eau de toilette. I’m wearing their éclat now and love it.
I think its safe to say that we all want to come back to the South of France, but for a longer stay. Next and final stop: Paris!